Slice of Soul – ‘Piece of Mind’
August 1, 2008, 4:08 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

Idris Muhammad – ‘Piece Of Mind’
taken from Power Of Soul (CTI, 1974)

So once again the parameters of genre are subtly bent for this installment of Slice Of Soul, but ‘Piece Of Mind’ is such a great track that quite frankly, I don’t care. The discovery of the wonderful Power Of Soul LP is down to my workmate Greg who is making his way through the CTI back catalogue at the same time as I am, and although I’ve been happy with my pick-ups from Hubert Laws, Deodato and the legendary Bob James, this for me has been one of the most complete and consistently enjoyable releases that I’m yet to hear from the label’s formidable body of work.

What I love, apart from the music of course, about the CTI material is the way in which you can completely geek out on the trivia, given that pretty much all of the musicians played on each others records at one time or another. The chance to explore all of the different connections between artists is fascinating and I find myself quietly smiling to myself as another section of the web is woven as I make my way through the liner notes and notice that so-and-so played this-or-that on whoever else’s record. Unfortunately for me, this isn’t the sort of information that grabs most people, particularly when rammed down their throats by an overly enthusiastic ephemeral psychotic. Ah, my friends love it.

Back to the music. ‘Piece Of Mind’ is a beautiful ten minute composition that features both Grover Washington Jr. and Bob James himself, propelled forward by Muhammad’s wonderfully crisp work on the drums. It’s a brilliant representation of how the musicians working with Creed Taylor during the ’70s managed to dissolve some of the boundaries between jazz and soul, and although the formula falters at stages, this particular track is deftly executed and a joy from start to finish. My favourite moment is at the 0.26 mark when the horns initially drop, but there’s so many layers and moments to unravel here that it’s impossible to isolate individual parts of the groove. Ultimately, this is one of those songs that demands you stop what you’re doing and listen: trust me, the rewards are plentiful.

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