Sunday, 17 January 2016

"Reflections Of A Golden Dream" by LONNIE LISTON SMITH & THE COSMIC ECHOES (2015 Ace/Beat Goes Public CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...


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"...Journey Into Space..."

Using their Beat Goes Public imprint (BGP) - Ace Records of the UK continue their wonderful reissue of Lonnie Liston Smith's trio of Jazz-Funk meisterworks with his 'Cosmic Echoes' band on Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman Records back in the mid Seventies – albums that collectors and lovers of the genre have lusted after on more than a few Funky occasions.

April 2013 saw Smith’s hugely popular "Expansions" album from May 1975 get a 5-star CD reissue – while the second LP "Visions Of A New World" from October of that same year came our CD way in July of 2015. And now in November 2015 – the third and forgotten nugget in his initial cannon – April 1976's "Reflections Of A Golden Dream" with the massively popular Soul-Funk smash "Get Down Everybody (It's Time For World Peace)". All three reissues are part of Ace's 'Flying Dutchman Jazz Classics' CD Remasters Series. Here are the dreamscapes for Volume 3...

UK released 27 November 2015 (December 2015 in the USA) - "Reflections Of A Golden Dream" by LONNIE LISTON SMITH & THE COSMIC ECHOES on Ace/Beat Goes Public CDBGPM 296 (Barcode 029667529624) is a straightforward mid-price CD transfer in their ‘Flying Dutchman Jazz Classics’ Reissue Series and plays out as follows (38:57 minutes):

1. Get Down Everybody (It’s Time For World Peace)
2. Quiet Dawn
3. Sunbeams
4. Meditations
5. Peace And Love
6. Beautiful Woman [Side 2]
7. Goddess Of Love
8. Inner Beauty
9. Golden Dreams
10. Journey Into Space
The 10-track album was originally released April 1976 in the USA on Flying Dutchman Records BDL1-1460 and July 1976 in the UK on RCA Victor RS 1053.

Lonnie Liston Smith plays keyboards and 'funky electronic textures' on every track while singing lead on "Get Down Everybody (It's Time For World Peace)". As was the case on the "Visions Of New Worlds" LP earlier that year (1975) - Donald Smith puts in lead vocals on three songs – "Peace And Love", "Beautiful Woman" and "Inner Beauty" and also contributes Flute on three more - "Quiet Dawn", "Sunbeams" and "Golden Dreams". The band includes David Hubbard and Arthur Kaplin on Saxophones, Joe Shepley and Jon Faddis on Trumpets, Al Anderson on Bass, Wilby Fletcher on Drums with Guilherme Franco and Leopoldo Fleming on Percussion - while Maeretha Stewart, Patti Austin and Vivian Cherry sang Backing Vocals on tracks 1 and 5.

NICK ROBBINS has carried out the CD Remaster at Sound Mastering in London (an Engineer of long-standing and skill) and it sounds beautiful – bringing out the superb Bob Thiele Production values applied to all his Flying Dutchman releases (LLS co-produced this LP with him). The 8-page inlay features new liner notes by noted writer DEAN RUDLAND, label repros of Side 1 and 2 of the original Flying Dutchman LP and the US 7" single for "Get Down Everybody..." with "Goddess Of Love" on the B-side (Flying Dutchman JB 10616). There's also a two-page spread which repros the musician credits from the gatefold sleeve. It’s functional but highly informative.

It opens with the album’s most famous track – Lonnie Liston Smith giving it some rare vocals on the Jazz-Funk Rare Groove monster "Get Down Everybody (It's Time For World Peace)" – an anthem in clubs that pumps out the Brass and Rotary Connection vocals with a rapid backbeat. And again like "Visions Of A New World" from 1975 which I reviewed a few months back (also reissued by Ace’s BGP) - I'd forgotten how good the 'whole' LP is - giving you bedroom moods like the beautiful piano instrumental "Quiet Dawn" and then zither-slick grooves like the funky "Sunbeams" which feels like Dexter Wansel or Donald Byrd at their Philly International/Blue Note best. Swirling keyboard and vibe beauty follows once again with the gorgeous textures of "Meditations" - while the side ends on the Acoustic Bill Withers funk of "Peace & Love" – another stab at the vocal commercial hit of "Get Down Everybody" that even has a slightly Brazilian sway to it. It’s a winner and the label put it out as a 45 on Flying Dutchman DB-10702 with the wicked "Quiet Dawn" as its B-side. 

Side 2 opens with the good but slightly less convincing shuffle of "Beautiful Woman" which I always skipped for the far better chunky-funk of “Goddess Of Love” – a flute-driven mid-tempo number that sounds sexy and sweet. The swirling “Inner Beauty" is the kind of ethereal Fusion I love – all spacey and magical somehow yet you can’t quite define why. I personally would have followed with "Golden Dreams" as another slick 45 – the spoken vocals and that slinky rhythm would surely have had some DJ spinning that bad mother. It ends on “Journey Into Space” – a trippy instrumental that sounds like our Lonnie has been listening to the percussion opening parts in Santana's "Caravanserai" just once too often...

Another fabulous reissue then by Ace’s BGP of Lonnie Liston Smith's Cosmic Echoes trio of albums - and if you don’t have the album "Reflections Of A Golden Dream" – then waste no time – it’s a steal at twice the mid-price...

PS: Titles in the "Flying Dutchman Jazz Classics" Series of CDs includes:
1. Fenix - GATO BARBIERI (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 268)
2. The Third World - GATO BARBIERI (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 272)
3. El Pampero – GATO BARBIERI (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 283)
4. Cesar 830 – CESAR (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 261)
5. Friends And Neighbors: Ornette Live At Prince Street – ORNETTE COLEMAN (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 266)
6. Afrique – COUNT BASIE (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 271)
7. Barefoot Boy - LARRY CORYELL (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 269)
8. George Russell Presents… - THE ESOTERIC CIRCLE (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 284)
9. Small Talk At 125th & Lenox - GIL SCOTT-HERON (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 290) - see REVIEW
10. Pieces Of A Man – GIL SCOTT-HERON (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 274)
11. Free Will – GIL SCOTT-HERON (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 281)
12. Astral Traveling – LONNIE LISTON SMITH & THE COSMIC ECHOES (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 273)
13. Cosmic Funk - LONNIE LISTON SMITH & THE COSMIC ECHOES (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 278)
14. Expansions – LONNIE LISTON SMITH & THE COSMIC ECHOES (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 263)
15. Visions Of A New World – LONNIE LISTON SMITH & THE COSMIC ECHOES (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 294)
16. Reflections Of A Golden Dream – LONNIE LISTON SMITH & THE COSMIC ECHOES (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 296)
17. Cosmic Funk And Spiritual Sounds; The Best Of The Flying Dutchman Years – LONNIE LISTON SMITH (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 254)
18. Newport News, Virginia – ESTHER MARROW (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 264)
19. Swiss Suite: Recorded Live At The Montreaux Jazz Festival - OLIVER NELSON (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 279)
20. Soul Is… - PRETTY PURDIE (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 282)
21. Head Start – BOB THIELE EMERGENCY (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 265)
22. Spirits Known And Unknown – LEON THOMAS (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 262)
23. The Leon Thomas Album - LEON THOMAS (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 270)
24. Blues And The Soulful Truth – LEON THOMAS (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPM 277)
25. The Creator: The Best Of The Flying Dutchman Masters – LEON THOMAS (Ace/BGP Records CDBGPD 257)

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