jazz fusion radio

Fresh from his stint as drummer for the Mahavisnu Orchestra, Narada Michael Walden found himself in a musical age when gospel,funk,pop,jazz and rock were blending with cosmic,social and spiritual meanings in the lyrics. Writer Ricky Vincent calls it the United Funk era and for his part Narada had something special in mind musically for this new era. This 1976 debut ‘Garden Of Love Light’ is a funk-pop-fusion delight,heavier on the fusion then Walden would later become.Musically the mix is solid as it comes-the title song,”Delightful”,the wonderous “You Got The Soul” and the ballad “You Are Love” all tie together soul,pop,gospel organs and walloping jazz fusion drumming to perfection,in each case under five minutes. As is still typical for him, Narada had called in the best musicians he could think of:Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck and David Sancious alone (never mind the presense of Raymond Gomez and the glorious Cissy Houston) all make their presense known, even if Narada is always the star attraction.’Garden Of Love Light’ is not an album of ego-it’s an album of Narada-a great artist (as well as a great assembler of talent) drawing huge musical dynamics and creativity out of everyone playing along with him.This is especially true on the instrumentals “White Night”,”Saint And The Rascal”, the long and winding “The Sun Is Dancing” and Santana’s powerful “First Love” that all, like the vocal numbers feel more like ritual marriment than music at times.

Lyrically Narada encourages the listener to find the happiness in the music they are hearing,feel it’s power and enjoy themselves.It embraces the same positive additude of EWF of the same period and when Narada becomes involved in improvisation he includes the listener on the journey with him. So on ‘Garden Of Love Light’ instead of trying to find the funk groove in fusion Narada discovers how fusion grooves like mad very well on it’s own terms. And as far as melody goes he packs enough into every song (ESPECIALLY the instrumentals) to choke a horse.

Narada was laying groundwork for future classics on his own and with many other artists in the future and I must say that ‘Garden Of Love Light’ gets Narada off to a terrific start. ~ Andre S. Grindle

Featured Album

Raymond Gomez – Volume

When listening to Volume, it soon becomes evident that Ray Gomez gets more soul, more feel, and more tone, than any other guitar player on the planet. Add in impeccable placed notes with “Albert King-like” timing, the album represents guitar playing that is hard to beat. Something else that needs to be said, Ray “rocks”. He is very keen on the groove within a song. Besides blistering leads, Ray keeps funk and rock groove rhythm in his playing. One could listen to Blues for Mez or West Side Boogie and say, “Well, there’s killer blues being played, funk being played, and a steady rockin’ groove. In essence, Ray Gomez is nothing short of a powerhouse. He gets more out of a guitar than is almost humanly possible, yet he does not overplay. Ray has the uncanny ability to play exactly what is needed for a song, yet with innovation, feel, and soaring power. U.S.A. is actually my favorite song on the record. It also establishes another front — that Ray is a damn good song writer and composer. Volume is a hidden gem that needs to be rediscovered. It’s still relevant and fresh today as it was when first released. Charles Wilson

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