Archive for the ‘CTI’ Category

The Devastating Affair

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Listen: You Don’t Know (How Hard It Is To Make It) / The Devastating Affair

Probably Motown had nearly the most instrumental singles, non-charting at that, out of any other major label during the early/mid 70′s. I just seem to stumble on so many, like unfinished songs issued for…..not sure why.

Possibly CTI would run neck in neck with Motown actually. Deodato got the trophy for mainstream, worldwide success there via his disco/jazz take on ‘”Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)’. Every last one of these songs a perfect soundtrack to grainy, low budget, drug cartel films shot in Harlem.

Despite being issued a few years past MFSB’s similar ‘TSOP’, it’s the flanged phasing that polishes off ‘You Don’t Know (How Hard It Is To Make It)’ perfectly, thereby making a brief return after the studio effect helped both The Status Quo’s ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’ and The Small Faces’ ‘Itchycoo Park’ become US Top 20′s during the height of psychedelia.

Eddie Harris

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Listen: Is It In (Mono) / Eddie Harris

In the early 70′s, a lot of these credible jazz players leaned disco or dance-y, I assume looking for more mainstream exposure. After all, Deodato had hit big on Top 40 with ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ while with CTI, actually getting to #2 on BILLBOARD. It was an audio oasis on the AM dial at the time.

So guys like Wes Montgomery, Grover Washington, Jr. and Eddie Harris either made attempts at singles, or their respective labels would edit down longer album tracks in hopes of some pop airplay.

I was working for DISCOUNT RECORDS in Syracuse at the time. All the label’s sales guys would donate their boxes of promo 7″ allocations my way, given that no one else at any of their accounts wanted them. The store managers and clerks were generally album whores. It was a God-send for me.

‘Is It In’ became a big hit, well in our store that is. We had a sturdy Garrard stacking turntable behind the counter, and I played it ad nauseam, resulting in some LP sales. At home, even Corinne found the lyrics amusing in a sort of risque way and ended up tolerating it, an anomaly for her when it came to anything jazz.

Esther Phillips

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

estherhatred, esther phillips, cti, creed taylor, pee wee ellis, atlantic, gil scott-heron

Listen: Home Is Where The Hatred Is / Esther Phillips EstherHatred.mp3

It would be foolish to discount Gil Scott-Heron’s own version of ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’, being a signature track on his REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED album, for any other. But if ever there was as vital a rendition to compliment the original, Esther Phillips’ has to be considered an absolute prize winner. Creed Taylor’s immaculate production, no doubt made all the more powerful via Pee Wee Ellis’ fantastic arrangements, embodies the image of heroin ridden Harlem projects or Watts tenements.

Esther Phillips deservedly had more than one career comeback starting in the 50′s, but her 70′s CTI period might just be proof that you never, ever know what can happen if you continue to make great records.