Sunday, February 17, 2019

Blue Mitchell - 1975 - Stratosonic Nuances

Blue Mitchell
Stratosonic Nuances

01. Satin Soul 7:20
02. Creepin' 12:01
03. Bump It 4:53
04. Nutty 8:56
05. Melody For Thelma 6:55

Baritone Saxophone – Terry Harrington
Bass – Tony Newton
Clavinet – Clarence McDonald (tracks: A1, B2)
Drums – James Gadson
French Horn – Gale Robinson
Guitar – David T. Walker, Michael Anthony
Percussion – Gary Coleman
Piano [Solo] – Cedar Walton (tracks: A1, B1), Hampton Hawes (tracks: B2, B3)
Synthesizer, Piano [Solo] – Clarence McDonald (tracks: A2)
Synthesizer, Synthesizer [Solo] – Cedar Walton (tracks: B1)
Tenor Saxophone – Harold Land
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Ralph Jones
Trombone – George Bohanon
Trumpet – Oscar Brashear
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Blue Mitchell

Considering that this record features trumpeter Blue Mitchell, tenor saxophonist Harold Land and (in guest spots) pianists Cedar Walton and Hampton Hawes, one might have expected great things. Unfortunately, the music is quite commercial (obviously recorded with potential record sales in mind) and is sunk by dull and instantly dated arrangements by Wade Marcus (who uses a five-piece horn section). Other than Thelonious Monk's "Nutty" (the only cut not arranged by Marcus), the music -- which includes songs by Barry White and Stevie Wonder in addition to two Mitchell arrangements -- is immediately forgettable.

Mitchell's first release on RCA. Cynics might say it's unlucky that he started to sell out so short before his death. On the a-side you get interpretations of popular soul tunes from Barry White and Stevie Wonder. "Satin Soul" is actually a nice tune, but the 12-minute take on "Creepin'" is really shallow and somewhat pointless, complete with embarrassing echo effects. "Bump It" seems to be an attempt at the classic funky Mitchell sound at double speed, with worse arrangement and a supposedly "out of space" synthesizer solo that comes out to be out of place. "Nutty" just makes me sleepy, even Harold Land's soloing is tired. "Melody for Thelma" is a relatively decent closer again. In the end this record is still better than Funktion Junction, but only completists need to know more than that.

And still one of my guilty pleasures, I find myself coming back to these sell-out albums, there is something comforting there I do enjoy... It can not be dissonance and lunacy all the time.



  2. This LP is straight but,i still think Funktion Junction is the hipper of the two.Collaboration is one badassed tune.

  3. This LP is straight.I am always down for Blue but,i still think Funktion Junction is the hipper of the two.Collaboration is one badassed tune.Let's face it Stratosonic Nuances is pretty corny at times.Doesn't mean i don't dig it but. you know what i mean.Thanks for the upload.