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Best known for its 1979 hit "Glide," Pleasure was a risk-taking, horn-driven band that often brought jazz overtones to its funk/soul foundation. Pleasure, which shouldn't be confused with the '90s rock band Pleasure, wasn't huge but enjoyed a small cult following. The band was formed in Portland, Oregon, in 1972, when guitarist Marlon "The Magician" McClain (born August 8, 1955), lead singer Sherman Davis (born March 15, 1952), and keyboardist Donald Hepburn (born June 30, 1950) joined forces with saxophonist Dennis Springer (born July 21, 1949), bassist Nathaniel Phillips (born December 30, 1955), trombonist Dan Brewster, and drummer Bruce Carter (born December 28, 1956). Pleasure was a merger of two Portland outfits: Franchise (which included McClain, Phillips, and Carter) and the Soul Masters (which was Hepburn's band and also included Springer, Bruce Smith [drums, congas], and Davis). The Oregon residents got a lucky break when trombonist Wayne Henderson, a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders, saw them performing in a Portland club -- Henderson was impressed with what he heard, and his enthusiasm led to a deal with Fantasy (where he produced four of the band's six albums) in 1974. Pleasure's debut album, Dust Yourself Off, came out on Fantasy in 1975 and was followed by Accept No Substitutes in 1976 and Joyous in 1977. After Joyous, there were a few personnel changes: Brewster left the band, and Donald Hepburn's younger brother Michael (born May 21, 1953) came on board as a keyboardist/lead singer. Get to the Feeling, Pleasure's fourth album, came out in 1978 and was followed by 1979's Future Now, which contained the hit "Glide." Pleasure's cult following really swore by the band, but it wasn't until "Glide" (which reached number ten on Billboard's R&B singles chart) that the funksters finally scored a Top 10 hit. Trumpeter/flügelhornist Tony Collins (born May 16, 1957) was added to the lineup for Future Now, and Doug Lewis came on board as a lead guitarist for 1980's Special Things, which was Pleasure's sixth and final album. Unfortunately, Pleasure didn't have any more major hits after "Glide," and in 1981, the band broke up.
© Alex Henderson /TiVo
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