Hand picked records important to the history of Soul Strut.
Ranked #194 in the Soul Strut 200
In the late 70s, James Mason decided to move on from being Roy Ayers' ace guitar player and make a solo record on the jazz label Chiaroscuro recruiting the talents of Narada Michael Walden on drums and Gene Torres on bass. 1977's Rhythm of Life is a sophisticated soul jazz gem. The album makes great use of new technology of the time, manufacturing memorable synth grooves over the vocal talents of Clarice Taylor. At the time, the album was too funky for jazz stations and too jazzy for soul stations, hence it faded into obscurity until it was revitalized in the 80s acid jazz scene in the UK. The most well known cut is the only single "Sweet Power Your Embrace" which reminds me of a tighter / more uptempo version of a Lonnie Liston Smith tune... airy and funky. The track "Free" unveils Mason's Roy Ayers' jazz funk influence and "Slick City" is a happy jazz funker anchored by a smooth Rhodes groove. Mason never went on to release another official album. As the interest in him grew into the 00s, unreleased material surfaced including the proto-house tune "Nightgruv" and the Recollection ∈ Echo LP.