Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Les McCann “Layers” (1974)

Think of the work of the following artists in the early seventies: Tonto's Expanding Head Band, The Mizell Brothers, Lonnie Liston Smith, Stevie Wonder, George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis. If you like their work, you'll like - love - this album. Aside from an electric bass and three percussionists, this is the epitome of a keyboard album. By overdubbing (this was the first album recorded in 32-track format), McCann employs ARP synths, clavinet, Fender-Rhodes e-piano, and piano to simulate horns, woodwinds, and whatnot. On the basis of funky grooves, he creates a reflective atmosphere that's both nostalgic and futuristic. The album is structured like a suite, with the tunes fading into each other. The result is something that could be called Prog-Jazz. McCann created a visionary sound when he recorded this album in '72. Layers is a groundbreaking Fusion album from the early seventies when fusion was not yet something to be ashamed of. The record belongs to the best of that genre. –Yofriend

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