First of all I fully agree with Theo1212, Mark you ARE a legend!
Secondly sorry for another lenghty comment (I'm taking away space form other members
) but I just cannot go past this without another raving review.
Overall: this Lounge Vault 1 has definitely a different mood than Vault 2, and this is consistent all the way through. Now, you are the master of this consisteny, I told you before but I have to say it again.
Where you top it here for me is tha fact that both Vault 1 and 2 are basically from the same era of jazzfunk, very similar tunes (well, you will correct me here if I'm wrong but you have nicely listed the release years so we can see it) However you can still group these songs into two different sets that are very distinctive and have their very own, different moods.
Now that is the brilliance for me as it does not only reflect the vast knowledge of tracks you have from this age but you also had to go through a gianormous number of songs to be able to filter them and find the right ones.
I'm probably just jealous since I just wish I had that many killer jazzfunk tracks. Plus you probably did the tracklisting and sorting in your head without listening (please tell us if it was so) which makes it even more amazing.
As for the tracks:Jimmy Ponder
reminds me of George Benson, I love the sound of Breezin' and In Flight albums, I certainly felt it here and the guitar sounds similar to Benson's - worth exploring him since I never heard him before.
track is much funkier and definitely not Disco like the Whistle Bump on Vault 2 - again, it's a confident, intentional selection.
You put me at shame with the Bob James
track, I love Bob James but did not know he had funk tracks like this. Some early albums I listened to were a bit cheesey for me so I stopped looking futher - this one shows that I need to to dig into it a bit deeper... (I can however still feel the coming smooth jazz years on this arrangement)Keep The Same Old Feeling
- from my all time best Crusaders album, Those Southern Knights. I will still say the I prefer the Crusaders version, however this Side Effect cover is brilliant, it's more laid back, the trumpets are a tad crisper and the bass is much more slapping. I just realized that I have this one on one compilation albums (Do It Fluid I believe, not the MasterCuts). The best version for me however was a live performance at the Berkeley Jazz Festival in 2007 with Jean Carne, Lonnie Liston Smith, Jon Lucien, Wayne Henderson and Ray Gaskins. Yes, Lonnie Liston Smith was there, I saw him live, just realized it now. I have a video of it, I'll probably post it to YouTube or send it to you.Snowblower
is just an unbelievable track that I knew from MasterCuts Vol2, the best JazzFunk MasterCuts of all, you think you know slapping funky bass and then this just tops it with the quirky melody and organ solo at the end... Phew, need to listen to these more, always make me feel good!
If this was not enough, you bring out the heavy artillery at the end, Blackbyrds, Professor Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Harvey Mason... Did I mention slapping bass before? Just can't get enough and the Roy Ayers track gives even more...
You don't play a fair game at the very end, you deliver an ultimate punchline (I don't think any human being can handle this amount of funk and sheer rarities...)
So OK, it's Harvey Mason 1 point. You already had Bob James, so Harvey gives us another member of Fourplay (2 points) It's a rare "What's Going On" cover 3 points. But you did not say who was playing on guitar and it was nicely coming back to the same Benson feel that you started off with Track 1 (ala Breezin' and In Flight style).
In fact, the sound was scaringly close to Benson, very few play the guitar this way so I had a suspicion. I had to look it up but I found it: it _IS_ Benson playing on this track!
So on one hand I'm proud of myself for picking it up just by ear - on the other had I'm on a constant mission to find songs with a sound similar to the Breezin' album, now you just delievered two for me in this set!
I'm grateful forever to you for introducing us to all these great tunes!