Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The Last Nikle - The Last Nikle (1969 us, awesome brass jazz rock)

The Last Nikle was formed by bassist/singer Lenny McDaniel (b. 1950, New Orleans) and his keyboardist brother Wally McDaniel. Two years prior, Lenny fronted soul-rockers The New Era, which issued the 1967 singles “You Just Tear Me Up” (b/w “Feel So Funny,” Whizz Records) and “I Keep Telling Myself” (b/w “Something Out of Nothing,” Seven B).

For the Last Nikle, the McDaniel’s recruited guitarist Roger Bertrand, drummer Jerry Rouselle, and a three-piece brass section: trumpeter Gordon Schumert, trombonist Clay Musacchia, and reedist Mike Scorsone, who played tenor and baritone saxophone. The band signed with Mainstream Records, a New York jazz-psych-soul label headed by producer Bob Shad.

Their selftitled album appeared on Mainstream in 1969. It features nine songs, including four originals by Lenny McDaniel (“Got to Be Somebody,” “Feeling Blue,” “‘Cause I’ve Been Trying,” “Life Is a Purple Antilope”) and two Wally co-writes (“The Fool,” “She’s the One”). The side B opener “Five O’Clock Sun” is a co-write between Lenny and one D. Donovan. The album also includes covers of songs by Buddy Johnson (“Save Your Love for Me”) and Cole Porter (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”). All the tracks are in the three-minute range apart from the nine-minute closer “Purple Antilope.”

Mainstream issued four Last Nikle singles, including the non-album sides “I’ve Been Trying to Love You” and “Groove on What You’re Doin’,” both McDaniel originals.

Lenny McDaniel (d. 2015) moved to Los Angeles and did session and soundtrack work. In 1976, he played bass on one track (“Table Top Girl”) on A Banquet in Blues, a solo album by John Mayall. In the mid-’80s, his name appeared on recordings by the Tony Lorrich Group and Princess & Starbreeze. During the 1990s, he released four solo albums, including one (Bad for Me, 1991) with accompaniment by Wally.

Scorsone played on ’70s soul-funk singles by Sonny Blackfield and Lonnie Robinson. Musacchia collaborated with Jimmy Iovine on the lyrics of “Queen of the Neighborhood,” the title track to the first of two albums by late-’70s RCA hard-rockers Flame.
1. Got To Be Somebody - 2:52
2. Feeling Blue - :52
3. The Fool (Lenny McDaniel, Wally McDaniel) - 3:30
4. 'Cause I've Been Trying - 3:37
5. She's The One (Lenny McDaniel, Wally McDaniel) - 3:20
6. Five O'Clock Sun (D. Donovan, Lenny McDaniel) - 3:11
7. Save Your Love For Me (Buddy Johnson) - 3:20
8. I've Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter) - 4:06
9. Life Is A Purple Antilope - 9:27
All compositions by Lenny McDaniel except where noted

The Last Nikle
*Lenny McDaniel - Bass, Vocals 
*Wally McDaniel - Piano, Organ 
*Roger Bertrand - Guitar 
*Jerry Rouselle - Drums 
*Mike Scorsone - Saxophone 
*Clay Musacchia - Trombone 
*Gordon Schumert - Trumpet