The Legendary Headhunters have delivered a dramatic, sweeping new CD that bridges genres and generations, as it deftly moves from Hip-Hop toJazztoFunktoRaptoR&B. Underthe leadership of founding members Mike Clark and Bill Summers, the seminal band has defied the odds with a bravura collection of original music that moves seamlessly from their trademark soulful instrumentals to bad-ass raps by guest artists Snoop Dogg, Killah Priest, Jaecyn Bayne and Private Pile, to philosophical interjections from George Clinton and more. Set for June 14th release on the respected Owl Studios label, 'Platinum' is sure to turn heads in the months to come.
The structure of the album is as engaging as its content, as a series of interstitials punctuate its powerful songs. Snippets of phone conversations, behind-the-scenes chats, melodic teasers, witty asides (and more) help to segue from song to song. The collection begins forcefully, with its 'Mission Statement', as a pulsating Headhunters groove is punctuated by rapper Bayne's affirmations. From there we move to the late- night, hip-shaking instrumental 'Salamander', a track that lets each band member shine, and adds a crisp layer of horns to the mix. On the wild track 'D-Funk (Funk With Us,) Snoop Dogg and George Clinton are featured in a multi-layered song that also showcases rapper Killah Priest, vocalist Cynthia Layne and more. One of the album's many strengths lies in the fact that the instrumental tracks are as dramatic as the hip- hop/rap tracks...there is no lack of intensity and confidence on the album, and the propulsive energy is palpable. On some songs, such as the brilliant 'Apple Tree' (easily a centerpiece of the album,) Clark and Summers' writing is filled with such bravado that it's hard not to be impressed by their boldness.
Linda Reynolds provides some context, in her engaging liner notes: "The Headhunters, founded in 1973, were a legendary jazz-funk fusion band immortalized from their recordings and tours with jazz giant Herbie Hancock. The inaugural Head Hunters album with Hancock went on to become the first platinum jazz/fusion project in history....the intro to their song "God Make Me Funky" is one of the most sampled pieces in hip hop music, an homage to the Headhunters revered elder status and their direct lineage to the continuation and continuum of the music--that one song has been identified in the samples of dozens of rappers from pioneers like Eric B. and Rakim to De La Soul to Mobb Deep to the Fugees to Prince, and on and on and on." Full liners follow, below.
The range of artists on 'Platinum' is top-shelf: Mike Clark - Drums; Bill Summers - Percussion, Vocals; Richie Goods - Bass; Kyle Roussel - Keyboards; Donald Harrison - Alto Saxophone, MOOG Bass, Keyboards; Rob Dixon - Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Keyboard; Derrick Gardner - Trumpet. Guest Artists: Snoop Dogg - Rap; Killah Priest - Rap; Jaecyn Bayne - Rap; Private Pile - Rap; George Clinton - Philosophical Interjection; Cynthia Layne - Vocals; Alexei Marti - Timbales, Vocals; Patrice Rushen - Keyboards; Bennie Maupin - Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone; Azar Lawrence - Soprano Saxophone; Gary Mielke - Bass, MOOG Bass, Keyboards; PJ Yinger - Trumpet; Jerry Stucker - Guitar.
Owl Studios' Head J. Allan Hall is the album's Executive Producer, with Mike Clark and Bill Summers as Producers and Rob Dixon and Gary Mielke as Co-Producers.
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