Now – in which pigeonhole that the innumerable self-proclaimed jazz critics like to create does this release from 1971 fit? Jazz-rock, jazz-fusion, soul-jazz-rock-fusion, electro-fusion-pop? Perhaps we can all agree that we should just enjoy these quartet recordings!
These recordings, all of them absolutely fantastic numbers, have been made by flugelhornist Chuck Mangione with his marvellous quartet without a piano in a sort of ‘jam session’. The band members are absolutely top notch with Ron Davis on drums, Joel DiBartolo on the double bass, and Gerry Niewood (still underestimated and mostly known as a sideman) on the soprano saxophone and flute (which is his foremost instrument although the more hushed one). On this LP, which has long been out of print, Chuck Mangione comes into the limelight in wonderfully melodic and mellow solos such as “Land Of Make Believe” and “Little Sunflower” – and the latter certainly needs not fear a comparison with the original by Freddie Hubbard! And “Manha De Carnival”, composed by guitarist Luis Bonfá is especially worth listening to for the amazing improvisations which have been set down for all times. Mercury’s recording technology was of the very best in the Seventies, and that makes itself heard when listening to this recording on a new high-end vinyl LP instead of the original pressing.