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Idris Muhammad|House of the Rising Sun

House of the Rising Sun

Idris Muhammad

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Idris Muhammad's House of the Rising Sun is a legendary soul-jazz album, and for good reason. First there's the fact that, Grady Tate notwithstanding, Idris Muhammad is easily the greatest of all soul-jazz drummers. Next, it is revealed that label boss and producer Creed Taylor was at his most inspired here, and wasn't afraid to err on the rhythm and blues side of the jazz equation. The material is top-notch, and David Matthews, who orchestrated and arranged this date with the exception of one track -- "Sudan" was written by Muhammad and Tom Harrell, and Harrell arranged it -- was on fire. As a bandleader, Muhammad is shockingly effective. Not because one could ever doubt his ability, but because of his reputation as one of the great studio drummers in jazz. Finally, this is the single greatest lineup in Kudu's history, and features the talents of Don Grolnick, Eric Gale, Will Lee, Roland Hanna, Joe Beck, David Sanborn, Michael Brecker, Hugh McCracken, Bob Berg, Fred Wesley, Patti Austin, and a dozen others playing their asses off. From the title track which opens the album, with Austin reaching the breaking point in her delivery, to the stunningly funky groove in Ashford and Simpson's "Hard to Face the Music," to the minor key funk of the Chopin-adapted theme in "Theme for New York City," to "Sudan"'s triple-timed drums and killer Eastern-tinged hooks, and a read of the Meters' "Hey Pocky A-Way," with Eric Gale's dirty finger poppin' bass atop McCracken's bluesed-out slide work, this is a steaming, no let-up album. Add to this a gorgeous version of the Ary Barroso Brazilian jazz classic "Bahia," and you have the set for a classic jazz album. But the complete disregard for the political correctness of "Jazz" itself, in order to get the deeply funky and soulful grooves across, is what makes this set so damn special and even spiritual in its inspiration. Jazz purists lost all credibility when they slagged this one off, caught as they were in tainted, even racist views of the past that made no allowances for jazz musicians to actually follow their time-honored tradition of mining the pop music of the day to extend the breadth and reach of jazz itself. Anybody who wants to believe that George Gershwin is somehow more important than George Porter Jr. is already lost in his own cultural fascism. Muhammad, who understands this better than anyone, pulled out all the stops here and blasted out one amazingly tough, funky slab. Brilliant.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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House of the Rising Sun

Idris Muhammad

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1
House of the Rising Sun
00:04:42

D. Matthews, Arranger - David Nadien, Violin - Eric Gale, Guitar - Paul Gershman, Violin - Frank Floyd, Vocal - Max Ellen, Violin - Charles McCracken, Cello - Traditional, Composer, Lyricist - George Devens, Percussion - Seymour Barab, Cello - Barry Rogers, Trombone - Fred Wesley, Trombone - Will Lee, Bass - David Sanborn, Alto Saxophone - Charles Libove, Violin - George Young, Tenor Saxophone - DAVE MATTHEWS, Conductor, Arranger - Leon Pendarvis, Piano - Emanuel Green, Violin - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Harry Cykman, Violin - Joe Malin, Violin - Tom Harrell, Trumpet - Idris Muhammad, Drums, Percussion, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Shulman, Cello - Creed Taylor, Producer - Harold Kohon, Violin

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Baia
00:04:38

David Nadien, Violin - Wilbur Bascomb, Bass - Eric Gale, Guitar - Paul Gershman, Violin - Alan Schulman, Cello - Max Ellen, Violin - Don Grolnick, Piano - Charles McCracken, Cello - Patti Austin, Vocal - A. Barroso, Composer, Lyricist - George Devens, Percussion - Hilda Harris, Vocal - Seymour Barab, Cello - Barry Rogers, Trombone - Fred Wesley, Trombone - R. Gilbert, Composer, Lyricist - David Sanborn, Alto Saxophone - Charles Libove, Violin - DAVE MATTHEWS, Conductor, Arranger - Emanuel Green, Violin - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Harry Cykman, Violin - Joe Malin, Violin - Tom Harrell, Trumpet - Idris Muhammad, Drums, Percussion, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Brecker, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - Harold Kohon, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Vocal

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Hard to Face the Music
00:04:48

N. Ashford, Composer, Lyricist - David Nadien, Violin - Eric Gale, Bass - Paul Gershman, Violin - Alan Schulman, Cello - Max Ellen, Violin - Don Grolnick, Piano - Charles McCracken, Cello - George Devens, Percussion - Seymour Barab, Cello - Valerie Simpson, Composer, Lyricist - Barry Rogers, Trombone - Fred Wesley, Trombone - David Sanborn, Alto Saxophone - Charles Libove, Violin - Joe Beck, Guitar - DAVE MATTHEWS, Conductor, Arranger - Emanuel Green, Violin - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Harry Cykman, Violin - Joe Malin, Violin - Tom Harrell, Trumpet - Idris Muhammad, Drums, Percussion, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Brecker, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - Harold Kohon, Violin

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Theme for New York City
00:03:25

D. Matthews, Composer, Lyricist - David Nadien, Violin - Wilbur Bascomb, Bass - Eric Gale, Guitar - David Matthews, Conductor, Arranger - Paul Gershman, Violin - Alan Schulman, Cello - Max Ellen, Violin - Don Grolnick, Piano - Charles McCracken, Cello - George Devens, Percussion - Seymour Barab, Cello - Barry Rogers, Trombone - Fred Wesley, Trombone - David Sanborn, Alto Saxophone - Charles Libove, Violin - Emanuel Green, Violin - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Harry Cykman, Violin - Joe Malin, Violin - Tom Harrell, Trumpet - Idris Muhammad, Drums, Percussion, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Brecker, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - Harold Kohon, Violin

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Sudan
00:10:52

David Nadien, Violin - Wilbur Bascomb, Bass - Eric Gale, Guitar - I. Muhammad, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Gershman, Violin - Alan Schulman, Cello - Max Ellen, Violin - Don Grolnick, Piano - Charles McCracken, Cello - Patti Austin, Vocal - George Devens, Percussion - T. Harrell, Composer, Lyricist - Hilda Harris, Vocal - Seymour Barab, Cello - Barry Rogers, Trombone - Fred Wesley, Trombone - David Sanborn, Alto Saxophone - Charles Libove, Violin - Emanuel Green, Violin - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Harry Cykman, Violin - Joe Malin, Violin - Tom Harrell, Arranger, Trumpet - Idris Muhammad, Drums, Percussion, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Brecker, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - Harold Kohon, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Vocal

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Hey Pocky a-Way
00:06:05

Joseph Modeliste, Composer, Lyricist - Arthur Neville, Composer, Lyricist - David Nadien, Violin - Wilbur Bascomb, Bass - Eric Gale, Guitar - George Porter, Jr., Composer, Lyricist - Paul Gershman, Violin - Alan Schulman, Cello - Frank Floyd, Vocal - Max Ellen, Violin - Don Grolnick, Piano - Charles McCracken, Cello - Patti Austin, Vocal - George Devens, Percussion - Hilda Harris, Vocal - Seymour Barab, Cello - Barry Rogers, Trombone - Fred Wesley, Trombone - David Sanborn, Alto Saxophone - Charles Libove, Violin - DAVE MATTHEWS, Conductor, Arranger - Emanuel Green, Violin - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Leo Nocentelli, Composer, Lyricist - Harry Cykman, Violin - Joe Malin, Violin - Tom Harrell, Trumpet - Idris Muhammad, Drums, Percussion, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Brecker, Tenor Saxophone - Creed Taylor, Producer - Harold Kohon, Violin - Debbie McDuffie, Vocal

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Pipe Stem
00:05:26

Wilbur Bascomb, Bass - Eric Gale, Guitar - David Matthews, Conductor, Arranger - I. Muhammad, Composer, Lyricist - Don Grolnick, Piano - George Devens, Percussion - T. Harrell, Composer, Lyricist - Barry Rogers, Trombone - Fred Wesley, Trombone - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Tom Harrell, Trumpet - Idris Muhammad, Drums, Percussion, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Creed Taylor, Producer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
I Know You Don't Want Me No More
00:04:41

B. George, Composer, Lyricist - Wilbur Bascomb, Bass - Eric Gale, Guitar - David Matthews, Conductor, Arranger - Don Grolnick, Piano - George Devens, Percussion - Barry Rogers, Trombone - Fred Wesley, Trombone - Ronnie Cuber, Baritone Saxophone - Tom Harrell, Trumpet - Idris Muhammad, Drums, Percussion, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Creed Taylor, Producer

(P) 1976 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album review

Idris Muhammad's House of the Rising Sun is a legendary soul-jazz album, and for good reason. First there's the fact that, Grady Tate notwithstanding, Idris Muhammad is easily the greatest of all soul-jazz drummers. Next, it is revealed that label boss and producer Creed Taylor was at his most inspired here, and wasn't afraid to err on the rhythm and blues side of the jazz equation. The material is top-notch, and David Matthews, who orchestrated and arranged this date with the exception of one track -- "Sudan" was written by Muhammad and Tom Harrell, and Harrell arranged it -- was on fire. As a bandleader, Muhammad is shockingly effective. Not because one could ever doubt his ability, but because of his reputation as one of the great studio drummers in jazz. Finally, this is the single greatest lineup in Kudu's history, and features the talents of Don Grolnick, Eric Gale, Will Lee, Roland Hanna, Joe Beck, David Sanborn, Michael Brecker, Hugh McCracken, Bob Berg, Fred Wesley, Patti Austin, and a dozen others playing their asses off. From the title track which opens the album, with Austin reaching the breaking point in her delivery, to the stunningly funky groove in Ashford and Simpson's "Hard to Face the Music," to the minor key funk of the Chopin-adapted theme in "Theme for New York City," to "Sudan"'s triple-timed drums and killer Eastern-tinged hooks, and a read of the Meters' "Hey Pocky A-Way," with Eric Gale's dirty finger poppin' bass atop McCracken's bluesed-out slide work, this is a steaming, no let-up album. Add to this a gorgeous version of the Ary Barroso Brazilian jazz classic "Bahia," and you have the set for a classic jazz album. But the complete disregard for the political correctness of "Jazz" itself, in order to get the deeply funky and soulful grooves across, is what makes this set so damn special and even spiritual in its inspiration. Jazz purists lost all credibility when they slagged this one off, caught as they were in tainted, even racist views of the past that made no allowances for jazz musicians to actually follow their time-honored tradition of mining the pop music of the day to extend the breadth and reach of jazz itself. Anybody who wants to believe that George Gershwin is somehow more important than George Porter Jr. is already lost in his own cultural fascism. Muhammad, who understands this better than anyone, pulled out all the stops here and blasted out one amazingly tough, funky slab. Brilliant.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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