Two new vinyl titles are being reissued today (9/22) as part of Jazz Dispensary‘s Top Shelf Series: The 3 Pieces’ Vibes Of Truth, the lost 70’s jazz-funk crossover classic off Fantasy, and Funk Inc.‘s raw and funky, self-titled debut album off Prestige. This will be the first time in over 20 years these releases will be made available on vinyl.
As with all Top Shelf releases, both albums have been remastered from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram audiophile-quality vinyl at Quality Record Pressings (QRP), and housed in faithfully reproduced, old-school style replica jackets. Each LP will have a limited-edition worldwide run of 1,000 copies, complete with a Jazz Dispensary “Authorized Dealer” window cling. The titles will also be available at streaming outlets, mastered for iTunes, and in Hi-Res digital (96/24 and 192/24).
The Top Shelf Series launched March 31st with Rusty Bryant‘s incendiary soul-jazz statement, Fire Eater and Charles Kynard‘s deeply funkyAfro-Disiac. Followed by reissues of Joe Henderson & Alice Coltrane‘s The Elements and Gary Bartz NTU Troop‘s Harlem Bush Music – Uhuru this past July. The album-centric program, which is focused on reintroducing rare and previously unavailable titles, will offer a total of eight releases in 2017, including forthcoming reissues by Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, Azar Lawrence and more.
More about The 3 Pieces and Vibes Of Truth:
The 3 Pieces, composed of Lincoln Ross (keys), Jerry Wilder (bass, vocals), and Andre Richardson (percussion), were brought to Fantasy Records in the early 1970s by trumpeter and producer extraordinaire, Donald Byrd, who at the time was enjoying great success with his productions for the Blackbyrds. Byrd linked up with the Blackbyrds at Howard University while they were students in a course he taught. Lincoln Ross, the multi-instrumentalist leader of The 3 Pieces was also a former student of Byrd‘s and allowed the forward-thinking jazz impresario to helm his group’s debut effort. Although The 3 Pieces failed to repeat the commercial success of the Blackbyrds, they created one astounding album that encapsulates the best of multiple genres: from silky-smooth R&B, to politically conscious jazz-funk grooves, Vibes of Truth has it all.
Long sought-after by collectors for the three club friendly tunes within its grooves, “Backed Up Against The Wall,““Concrete Jungle,“ and “I Need You Girl,“ this lost classic from the Fantasy catalog represents the very best of the mid-70’s jazz-funk crossover sound and fits perfectly in a collection next to the likes of the Blackbyrds‘ City Life or RAMP‘s Come Into Knowledge.
Funk Inc. was founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, Indiana by Bobby Watley, Eugene Barr, Steve Weakley, Jimmy Munford and Cecil Hunt. During the 1970s they were signed to Prestige Records after their demo tape made it to the desk of producer Bob Porter. Despite their collaborations with legendary producers Rudy Van Gelder and David Axelrod during their five-album run with the label, jazz critics at the time hated the idea of combining jazz with funk and soul and gave their records negative reviews; however, the truth of the matter is that their material is some of the most infectious, captivating and hard-swinging music ever committed to tape. Funk, Inc. realized that jazz didn’t have to be extremely intellectual to be worthwhile, and its mission, which they succeeded mightily in carrying out, was to hook R&B fans with knockout grooves but expose them to the improvisational freedom of jazz.
An impressive, addictive brew of soul and funky jazz, their self-titled debut comes out of the gate swinging with the eight-minute organ groove-a-thon, “Kool Is Back” and never lets up. Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, this unparalleled set in the soul-jazz canon, recalls classic 1960s Blue Note sounds by the likes of Grant Green, Lou Donaldson, and Brother Jack McDuff, but with added grit, guts and groove that combines the deep-pocket, hypnotic moments of The Meters with unparalleled improvisational passages that recall the best of modern-day practitioners Galactic, Robert Walter, and the Greyboy Allstars. Unvarnished, raw, and unabashedly funky, Funk Incis a relentlessly infectious record dripping with charm that remains worthy of exploration by anyone with passing interest in the primal power of blues, soul, jazz, or funk.