Monday, February 18, 2019

Barbara Massey And Ernie Calabria - Prelude To... (1971 us, glorious jazzy baroque folk rock, 2007 reissue)

Soul singer Barbara Massey and jazz guitarist Ernie Calabria paired up for this rare 1971 album. With Calabria having worked with Nina Simone and Harry Belafonte, among others, and Massey having sung backup for artists including Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, and Herbie Hancock, the pairing was an inspired one and resulted in this superb soul-jazz outing. Massey has a dry yet passionate and evocative vocal quality that often brings to mind Grace Slick. 

Fittingly, the duo takes on Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love," turning the Summer of Love anthem into a steamy and hypnotic soul-funk jam. Elsewhere, the duo touches upon such varying styles as folk, Latin, and psychedelic rock with cuts like "For You" and "Do You Know?," bringing to mind such similarly inclined acts as the Free Design and Bill Withers. Anyone who has even a passing interest in this kind of '70s cross-genre aesthetic will certainly want to seek out Prelude To.... 
by Matt Collar
1. Play With Fire - 3:31
2. Somebody To Love (Darby Slick) - 4:40
3. Prelude - 3:32
4. Listen To Your Heart - 5:15
5. For You - 3:37
6. Searching The Circle - 4:31
7. My Love And I - 3:00
8. Do You Know - 3:12
9. Satisfied - 3:44
All songs by  Barbara Massey, Ernie Calabria except track #2

*Barbara Massey - Autoharp, Piano, Vocals
*Ernie Calabria - Bass, Acoustic, 12 String Electric, Classical, Guitar, Electric Sitar
*Joe Beck - Guitar
*Keith Jarrett - Piano
*Ray Lucas - Drums
*Ralph McDonald - Percussion, Congas
*Bill Salter - Bass
*Grady Tate - Drums
*Sam Brown - Electric Guitar
*Eumir Deodato - Orchestra Conductor

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