The BGP release schedule over the last few months has been dominated by compilations focusing on Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman label. Our Gil Scott-Heron box-set has gained rave reviews and our Leon Thomas and Lonnie Liston Smith collections have been welcomed by fans and DJs alike. However, Flying Dutchman was most definitely a jazz-based label, renowned for releasing some of the finest jazz albums of the early 1970s. To celebrate this, we are launching our “Flying Dutchman Jazz Classics” series.
Everyone thinks they know Lonnie Liston Smith’s “Expansions”. Former Miles Davis and Pharoah Sanders keyboardist Smith saw all his musical ideas coming together for this, his third album. The title track is one of the best-known jazz funk classics; its influence on several generations of clubbers cannot be underestimated. It is a glorious amalgamation of jazz players and the tenor voice of Lonnie’s brother Donald. However, the track’s success has resulted in the album becoming rather overlooked and its other six pieces underappreciated. ‘Desert Nights’ and ‘Voodoo Woman’ give vent to Lonnie’s improvisational skills over a modal base. ‘Summer Days’ and ‘My Love’ are based around Latin rhythms, with the latter proving another great vehicle for Donald Smith’s voice. Donald is also the vocal presence on an inspired take on Horace Silver’s ‘Peace’.
By Dean Rudland