Chaka Khan/Freddie Hubbard/Joe Henderson/Chick Corea/Stanley Clarke/Lenny White: Echoes of An Era (1982)

Kronomyth 8.0: V.S.O.P.P. I like RTF, so I picked up Echoes of An Era and Griffith Park Collection when they came out. Both bored the pants off me, and I ended up giving Griffith Park away. Loads of talent on these recordings (Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson on horns) but not a whole lot to say. Echoes took a gamble by letting Chaka Khan chew up eight classics. Her voice is the neodymium magnet in the room: you’re either attracted to it or freaked out that it’s in there. Personally, I’m pretty freaked out by her voice most of the time. I can listen to her without wincing, but to say that the horn solos of Henderson and Hubbard bring me relief is an understatement. Since I can only listen to people talk about jazz for about fifteen minutes before I want to tweak their little red tomahto nose, maybe I’m not the best judge of Echoes. You really need to buy into the idea that jazz is this evolving dialogue between the past and the future or something. You need to buy into the idea that Chaka Khan’s vocal interpretations make you hear classic music in a new way, and not in the way that The Chipmunks made you hear it. Whether you want to pay fifteen bucks to buy all that, that’s your decision. If you’re intrigued by jazz titans from the ‘70s playing old school jazz, I’d point you toward Herbie Hancock’s VSOP engagements instead (Freddie Hubbard was involved in both projects).

Original LP Version
A1. Theme There Eyes (Maceo Pinkard/William Tracy/Doris Tauber) (3:50)
A2. All of Me (Seymour Simons/Gerald Marks) (4:31)
A3. I Mean You (Thelonius Monk/Coleman Hawkins) (3:25)
A4. I Love You Porgy (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) (6:25)
A5. Take The A Train (Billy Strayhorn) (6:23)
B1. I Hear Music (Frank Loesser/Burton Lane) (4:20)
B2. High Wire – The Aerialist (Chick Corea/Tony Cohen) (6:40)
B3. All of Me (Alternate Take) (Seymour Simons/Gerald Marks) (4:26)
B4. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most (Tommy Wolf/Fran Landesman) (8:25)

The Players
Stanley Clarke (acoustic bass), Chick Corea (piano, arrangements), Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone), Freddie Hubbard (flugelhorn & trumpet), Chaka Khan (vocals), Lenny White (drums). Produced by Lenny White; recording engineered by Bernie Kirsh.

The Plastic
Released on elpee in 1982 in the US (Elektra, E1-60021); reached #11 on the US Jazz charts. Re-released on CD on February 28, 2003 in the Netherlands (Elektra, 73781). Art direction by Ron Coro, design by Kristen Kasell Nikosey, photography by Diem Jones.

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