Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Bernard Purdie ”Shaft”

Bernard Purdie
( LP Prestige Records, 1973 )
Catalog # PR 10038

Personnel & Credits:
Bass [Fender] – Gordon Edwards
Congas – Norman Pride
Drums – Bernard Purdie
Electric Piano – Neal Creque
Guitar – Billy Nichols , Lloyd Davis (tracks: A1)
Saxophone [Tenor] – Charlie Brown,
Houston Person (tracks: A1), Willy Bridges
Trumpet – Danny Moore , Gerry Thomas

A1 Shaft (5:52)
A2 Way Back Home (5:30)
A3 Attica (4:12)
B1 Changes (4:52)
B2 Summer Melody (6:35)
B3 Butterfingers (4:12)

More info on the back sleeve included.

Bernard "Pretty" Purdie thinks a lot of himself, as his nickname indicates. And he's not entirely wrong, as his enormous list of stellar studio credits indicates. He deserves to be up there with Hal Blaine, Jim Gordon, and Earl Palmer as one of the great session drummers of all time. But his occasional bouts of musical arrogance -- most notoriously his unsubstantiated and frankly rather wacky claim that he, not Ringo Starr, played drums on most of the Beatles' early records -- also occasionally get him into trouble. Two of those blunders are on this album. Isaac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft" and Buddy Miles' "Changes" don't need to be covered, period, and if one must make the attempt, only a train wreck like the Ray Conniff Singers' version of "Theme From Shaft" (yes, really) could stand a chance against the majesty of the original. Certainly these limp retreads, apparently aimed at a middle-of-the-road audience that was reaching for hipness but didn't want to be confronted with anything too out there, are utterly unnecessary. There are a handful of good tunes here; although it's unclear what the genial funk groove "Attica" has to do with the 1971 prison riot of the same name, it's got some hot tenor sax solos and a rollicking electric piano solo by composer Neal Creque. Similarly, the mellow and soulful "Summer Melody" has some exquisite electric piano and trumpet over its gentle conga-led groove. An album' s worth of variations on these two themes would have been a minor soul-jazz classic, but unfortunately, Bernard Purdie's overreaching ends up giving him the, um, Shaft.
By Stewart Mason (AMG)

By Pier

1 comment:

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