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Dick Bock wanted me to record some current pop material. On the album were my buddies John Heard bass and Dick Berk on drums. Of course he went on to become a great producer. I also met Glenn while I worked with Don Ellis. The album is an eclectic mix of Jazz Funk using pop material, with some straight ahead tunes thrown in. His influence is certainly felt in this album. Upon relistening to this LP now, it seems rather scattered and is definitely not one of my finer moments of recording. It serves a place in my musical development, but overall is not a great LP. As a result, the powers at be decided to release them as a double LP. However, for the purposes of these personal liner notes, I'll treat them separately, as they were intended. Three months into my gig with Cannon, I recorded this LP. I almost sound like a different piano player more confident with definitely stronger musical ideas. It was recorded in December I had been with Cannon for about 10 months. Boy, did I learn a lot. It seems I was beginning to find my own musical voice! Besides John and Dick, Armando Perazza joined us on percussion. He was living in San Francisco and playing with Santana. Also on the date were Jerome Richardson on saxes and flute; Luis Gasca on trumpet and flugelhorn; James Leary on bass for one tune. Falk is listed as producer. I want to clear this up once and for all. He did NOT produce these recordings musically. He did keep track of the budget, pay the bills, secure the LP covers, etc. He's a great music lover that gave me my first shot, never got in the way musically, and was always extremely supportive. He was one of the good guys that was also supportive outside the music arena, and my mother liked him too. I should also mention that I played Trombone on all the horn tunes. Overdubbing is a wonderful thing! From what I remember, this was the last time I played trombone, at least on record. Oh well, ta ta! This was the first LP that really said what I wanted to say. The idea was to play intense music and use the voice as a tool for orchestration. I had been forced to sing with Frank Zappa, so my confidence was stronger. Don't get me wrong, I didn't then, nor do I now consider myself a singer. I always used singing as a means of communicating with my audience. Words obviously have a different affect than instrumental music. I felt the voice could be used to bridge the gap in a fusion of jazz, funk, latin, and pop music sources. Ndugu and I would go on to have a long musical relationship. Actually the album was to be called Faces. But a Rock group had come out with an album called Faces and BG didn't want any confusion between the records. I began experimenting with odd time signatures and various synthesizer textures. This was my first solo record using a synthesizer. Frank Zappa is responsible for my introduction to synthesizers. He told me one day, that I should play synthesizers. It was as simple as that! He bought an ARP and put it next to my Rhodes. It had all these knobs and looked totally intimidating. I took it home a few times with the manual, but got nowhere. I thought I was back in College studying some abstract foreign language. I finally settled on something simpler. It was an ARP Odyssey. I decided to use an ARP, purely to be different from Jan Hammer, who was playing the Mini Moog, and had a head start on me in the mastery of synthesis. Also, Ian Underwood was real good on the , and I knew I'd sound like a total novice compared to him. But I must admit, I was really drawn to the possibilities inherent therein. There were some things that were a drag also! Remember, at this time there were no presets or ways of saving patches. Not only that, but you were limited to one note at a time. So overdubbing, a good memory and management system became very important. The year was The funky side of my nature was really beginning to show. I also began to sing more. This was the first time I really tried to sing a song on record. The other times, it was more like scatting. I have been asked many times who the guitar player was on "Love" and "Old Slippers". It was Frank Zappa using the alias name, Obdewl'l X. Back in the 70's, Fantasy records was a haven for jazz. Because of this incredible informal interplay, most of us wound up playing on each other's records. I really think it is possible and still do to make good music and be commercial at the same time. I believe it is the artist's responsibility to take the music to the people. Art for art's sake is nice; but if art doesn't communicate, then its worth is negated, it has not fulfilled its destiny. Uh oh, I guess I'm getting heavy. Anyway, Feel remains a favorite with many of my fans. I would also like to mention that this record began a long relationship with Kerry McNabb, who was an incredible recording engineer at Paramount Recording Studio in Hollywood. His recordings still stand up today. I met him through the many hours of work in the studio with Zappa. I started calling him Mr. McFreeze because he liked the temperature at sub freezing levels in the studio. Last I heard, he took over his fathers company which specialized in making knobs. I again see a lot of growth in myself as a musician. It's quite obvious to me that I had become more confident in my synthesizer playing. I took more chances. I liked to start a solo with one texture and end with another. I didn't hear any musicians doing that, and still don't. I was trying to take the listener on a sonoric adventure. Once again Ndugu was behind the drums; but I enlisted the help of a young bass player named Alphonzo "Slim" Johnson who had just got the gig with Weather Report. Airto was back on percussion, and I used some background singers. This was unheard of in Fusion at this time, but I saw possibilities down the line! We recorded there for a week or so, and I guess the snow and altitude had an affect on my creativity. I've always loved this tune. I re-recorded an old tune of mine, "Foosh," with a funkier approach. My love affair with Brazilian and Latin music began many years before this LP, but my real love wasn't felt on record until now. Malibu, became a hit jazz radio cut. There were vocals, but no lyric. I had everyone in the band sing, and added a couple of professionals so we wouldn't sound so bad. Actually, I wanted the vocals to sound like everyday average people singing the melody. I got my wish - it's kinda rough! The tune is really an instrumental with a vocal singing along. I loved playing this tune with Frank, and decided to record it on this album with a different vibe. I also recorded "Uncle Remus," an original song of mine that Frank wrote lyrics for, and was first released on his album Apostrophe. I always felt that I had more vibe singing in falsetto than my natural voice.
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