Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Eric Gale - 1980 - Touch Of Silk

Eric Gale 
Touch Of Silk

01. You Got My Life In Your Hands 4:44
02. Touch Of Silk 5:07
03. War Paint 4:22
04. Once In A Smile 4:34
05. With You I'm Born Again 6:33
06. Au Private 8:42
07. Live To Love 4:44

Bass – David Barard
Drums – Idris Muhammad (tracks: B1,B2), James Black
Guitar – Eric Gale
Keyboards – Allen R. Toussaint, Robert Dabon (tracks: A4)
Organ – Charles Earland (tracks: B1,B2)
Percussion – Kenneth Williams
Saxophone – Arthur Blythe (tracks: B2), Gary Brown (tracks: A1), Grover Washington, Jr. (tracks: B1), Harold Vick (tracks: B2)

In 1980, guitarist and composer Eric Gale came off the commercial success of 1979's Part of You (produced by Ralph MacDonald) and didn't do the obvious thing. Rather than make another record that swung for the smooth jazz fences, he made a darker, deeper, funkier, and bluesier album with legendary New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint. The sessions included the cream of the Crescent City's jazz-funk crop as well as mates Charlie Earland, Grover Washington, Jr., and Idris Muhammad, three of soul-jazz's greatest lights -- with special guest Arthur Blythe on the Charlie Parker nugget "Au Privave" as a curve ball. Toussaint wrote four of the album's seven tracks, and they range from the murky blue soul-jazz of "You Got My Life in Your Hands" to the sweet, boudoir-perfect urban-styled title track. Gale is a consummate soloist, full of lilting and biting grooves, with stunning phrasing that maximizes the rhythmic effect of his high strings (such as on "War Paint"), and he never plays an extra note. The beautiful ballad "With You I'm Born Again" has Washington playing some of his most haunting soprano, and the wildly funked-up "Au Privave," a holdover from the bop generation that keeps its original flavor despite the three-instrument front line of Earland's B-3, Blythe's alto, and Gale's chunky bottom strings (which are accented in his comping through the changes), is nothing short of astonishing. This is one of the great versions of the tune, especially in this modern context, and offers solid proof of Gale's bebop roots. This is an even better side available in the U.S., but only as an expensive Japanese import.

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