Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sir Edward - 1973 - Power of Feeling

Sir Edward 
Power of Feeling

01. Keep On Moving On
02. Where Is The Love
03. People Make The World Go Round
04. Stocking Cap
05. Rocky Mount Willie
06. Betcha By Golly Wow
07. Peace, K.D.

Bongos – Jumma Santos
Drums – David Lee
Electric Bass – Victor Gaskin (tracks: A2, A3, B1, B2)
Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Piano – Joe Bonner
Guitar, Flute – George Davis
Saxophone [Saxophones], Flute – Sir Edward
Vibraphone – Omar Clay
Bass – Wilbur Bascomb Jr.

Cover has wrong track order. Above is the vinyl/labels one.

Vick hadn't put out an album in five years before releasing "The Power of Feeling" in 1973 under the pseudonym "Sir Edward".

The album came out on Bernard Purdie's short-lived Encounter Records in 1973 - see the base of this post for an (almost complete) label discography.
"The Power of Feeling" seems to have been recorded somewhere between the first and second Compost albums, and can perhaps be seen as an attempt to further some of the commercial ambitions and sonic qualities of Jack DeJohnette's project, albeit more in the "composed" vein of the burgeoning CTI style of accessible jazz-related music than the party funk represented on the Compost albums (particularly the first one, on which Vick seems to be just jamming along).

The following year would see Vick return to more "jazz-rooted" soul-jazz projects like Shirley Scott's "One for Me" and Larry Willis' "Inner Crisis", which would in turn lead to the more intimate and acoustic Vick album "Don't Look Back", but for now he wasn't going to let go of his wah-wah pedal.

While there's still conjecture in some online sources as to whether this actually was Harold Vick, the back cover (above) of Vick's "Commitment" release from 1974 confirms that it's him. I'm still unclear as to why Vick released this under a pseudonym, as it's clearly his own production and arrangements. The inner sleeve contains photos of all band members bar Vick, who's in silhouette on the cover.

The opening track "Keep on Moving On" (see preview at top of post) is denser than the version on the Shirley Scott album, with multi-tracked reeds replacing the call-and-answer of organ and sax in the other version, and guitarist George Davis supplying the requisite Wah-Wah Watsonesque "wakka-wakka".

As always, Davis is a strong asset, whether switching into Grant Green-style soul jazz and then psych-funk on tracks like Vick's "Stocking Cap" or fronting on flute for an extended version of "People Make The World Go Round". Although his guitar work can be heard on some early 70s Dizzy Gillespie albums and Lonnie Smith's "Mama Wailer" , this appears to be his first flute date since Joe Zawinul's 1970 self-titled album.

The other strong presence here is keyboardist Joe Bonner, fresh off a series of Pharoah Sanders' albums - "Black Unity", "Live at the East" and "Village Of The Pharoahs". This appears to be his first rhodes recording, but he switches to electric with aplomb, instantly understanding the different dynamics and referencing Hancock-like patterns in his solo work.

Bonner switches to acoustic piano for what is probably my favourite track, "Peace, K.D.", a dedication to trumpeter Kenny Dorham, who had died in December of 1972. It's a beautiful modal piece that starts out like a "Prince Of Peace" Sanders-style song - if Leon Thomas were to suddenly begin yodelling it wouldn't feel at all out of place. Starting with some textured and panned piano string scrapes, Vick and Davis build melancholy flute harmonies over Bonner's colour swathes, while Vick contributes some of his most sensitive playing here with a soprano sax overdub.

Harold Vick himself is a mixed bag on this album. His best work comes when he's on raw sax or flute and fully in control of his dynamics - few reed players can get such sensitive detail in their phrasing. However, on tracks like "Rocky Mount Willie" he often sets up the main melodies through electric wah-wah sax, and he's not fully at ease with integrating wah-wah rhythms and frequency shifts in his patterns - there's no subtlety to his footwork as he pushes the pedal all the way, every time, on evenly-spaced sixteenth notes or triplets.

While there's some great stuff here, there are some fairly unimaginative readings of "Where Is The Love" and "Betcha by Golly Wow", in which Vick sticks much too closely to the original melodic/harmonic structures, despite some good solo work from Davis on the former and Bonner on the latter.

Vick brought percussionist Jumma Santos from the Compost sessions. Santos, who contributes a variety of instruments here, had also recently worked on albums by Roy Ayers, Larry Young, Marion Brown and Noah Howard. He'd started the decade with two heavy credits : playing percussion on Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" and appearing with Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock.

Vick had worked with the other percussionist Omar Clay on Joe Chambers' "The Almoravid" in 1971 and Johnny Hammond's "Wild Horses Rock Steady" in 1972. Clay had also played on albums by Gene Harris and Marlena Shaw the year before.

This is turning into a yearbook parade, hey? Drummer David Lee is the head of the school's chess club - no that's not true - he had worked with George Davis on both the "Zawinul" album and Dizzy Gillespie's "The Real Thing", as well as appearing on albums by Sonny Rollins and Lonnie Liston Smith.

Busy bassist Wilbur Bascomb Jr. had just made an album called "Black Grass Music" with his band Bad Bascomb, and a renowned funk 45 called "Just a Groove in G" which was famously sampled in DJ Shadow's "The Number Song" from "Entroducing".

Bascomb had also recently played on Roy Ayers' "Change Up The Groove", Ellerine Harding's "Ellerine", Marlena Shaw's "From the depths of my soul", Lightning Rod's "Hustler's Convention", and Ronnie Foster's "Sweet Revival".

Finally, bassist Victor Gaskin made his name on a series of Cannonball Adderley albums, such as "74 Miles Away", and had worked recently on Hal Galper's "Guerilla Band", Barry Miles' "White Heat" and Oliver Nelson's "Swiss Suite".

Technical note : This is not the best quality piece of vinyl I've ever come across - it's mostly OK, but there's some slight distortion on the flute in a few sections of "People Make The World go Round" which I couldn't clear up.

Anyway I hope you enjoy this one

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