Les Mccann : Pump It Up

CD [Cover Art for Les Mccann / Pump It Up] Your Price: $17.51
Availability: In Stock
Sell date: 10/2008
Label: CD Baby
Mfg's Catalog#: 5637372
CDC Part#: 1313778
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 Notes & Reviews
 
While Les McCann has always revealed a decided tendency toward the funky side of things in his playing and singing, going back to his earliest gospel-tinged soul-jazz recordings for the Pacific Jazz label from 1960-1964, the slamming 'Pump It Up' finds him knee-deep in the funk. Under the direction of producer-composer Alan Abrahams, McCann is surrounded by a cast of young funkateers, including bassists Marcus Miller and Abraham Laboriel, drummer John Robinson, funky rhythm guitar aces Dean Brown and Paul Jackson, Jr., keyboardist Ricky Peterson and his guitar-playing brother Paul, saxophonists Bill Evans and Keith Anderson, all of whom bring something special to the table. And Les delivers with funky authority, swaggering and bragging his way through the good-time vehicles in typically bawdy fashion. As producer Abrahams explains, 'ESC Records initially came to us wanting to do something with Les. And they specifically said that they did not want any smooth jazz. So I told Les, 'All they want is the funk...let's give it to them.' After all, who is funkier than Les McCann?' Other special guests recruited for 'Pump It Up' include Billy Preston, who plays organ on the ultra-funky 'Tryin' To Make It Real,' vocalist Dianne Reeves, who joins Les for a moving duet on Bill Withers' beautiful ballad 'You Just Can't Smile It Away' and pop superstar Bonnie Raitt, who turns in a soul-searing performance on an updating of McCann's gospel-flavored 'The Truth.' Maceo Parker, a charter member of James Brown's classic, funky aggregations from the early '60s, appears on one track, blowing his alto sax with typical intensity on the anthemic 'Funk It (Let The Music Play).' McCann's 45th recording as a leader comes three years after his previous outing, Pacifique, on the Music Masters label. Along the way he's had some delirious highpoints -- notably his 1969 landmark recording 'Swiss Movement' for Atlantic -- in a celebrated career that stretches back 43 years. 'This record was truly a great experience,' says McCann. 'All the guys seemed glad to be a part of it and they talked about how I had influenced them earlier in their careers. Plus, they all felt free to drop in their ideas along the way. It was one of those give-and-take things in the studio. Alan and I are very pleased with the results. I'm glad to be back on the block again.' Recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and mixed in Minneapolis with engineer Tom Tucker (veteran mix engineer for Prince's Paisley Park label), 'Pump It Up' is an irrepressibly slamming affair that promises to reintroduce the soul-jazz icon to the public as a revered elder of the funk. Born Leslie Coleman McCann on September 23, 1935 in Lexington, Kentucky, he grew up with a depth of feeling for music from his early connection to the church. During a stint in the Navy he won a talent contest which earned him a spot on The Ed Sullivan Show. After being discharged from service, he began accompanying singer Eugene McDaniel on piano in 1959 and formed his own trio the following year. McCann recorded frequently with his trio between 1960 and 1964 for Pacific Jazz, a West Coast label founded by Dick Bock. 'When I made my first album on Pacific Jazz, the owner of the company (Bock) said to me, 'What y'all are playing is funky!' That was the first time I had heard that term applied to music. People were calling my music funky but they also called it soul music. What I knew as soul was Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. But it really all comes from the church. It's a cultural thing from the area I grew up in, it's what we heard growing up. And I had a desire to be back in it again. I always seem to come back to the funk.' Call it funk, soul-jazz or whatever, McCann's early '60s output for Pacific Jazz featured such stellar guests as organist Groove Holmes, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, guitarist Joe Pass, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, saxophonist Ben Webster and the Jazz Crusaders. After debuting on Atlantic in 1968 with 'Much Les', he scored a massive hit the following year with 'Compared To W

 
 Tracks
 
Pump It Up - Les Mccann, Peterson, Ricky
Buckshot & Lefonque - Les Mccann, Brown, Dean
Let It Ride (The Train) - Les Mccann, Evans, Bill [Sax]
I Can't Stand It - Les Mccann, Fowler, Margaret
So What - Les Mccann, Mcdaniels, Eugene
You Just Can't Smile It Away - Les Mccann, Withers, Bill
Tryin' to Make It Real - Les Mccann, Robinson, John [Bas
The Truth - Les Mccann, Mccann, Les
Daylight - Les Mccann, Fowler, Margaret
Funk It (Let the Music Play) - Les Mccann, Brown, Dean
I Can't Stand It (Reprise) - Les Mccann, Abrahams, Alan
 
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