Melvyn Price – Rhythm and Blues
Wax Poetics Records presents an immense re-issue of 1974’s Rhythm and Blues by Melvyn Price, out now on 180g vinyl and CD. Melvyn Price, although a Michigan native, made his mark as a musician in Europe – namely Sweden. A vastly talented conguero and trombonist, he began his musical journey in marching bands before embarking on his European adventure and finally landing in his adopted home of Sweden.
Rhythm and Blues is a deeply soulful jazz record, a 6-track excursion through the mind of an adventure seeking American draft dodger that just lived to create music. Melvyn Price was from soulful roots and used that to his gain – touring with the cream of Sweden’s jazz session players, before setting down to record this magical LP that was to be released on his own Meldor label.
The LP features Guy Roellinger on electric bass, Björn Alke on kontrabass, Jon Dill on congas, Melvyn Price on congas and trombone, Fredrik Noren and Gunnar Nyberg on drums, Luis Agudo on percussion, Björn Wolff on piano and Ed Epstein on tenor saxophone – all of which was written and arranged by Melvyn Price himself.
01. Voodoo Love Dance
02. Toward Brazil
03. Behind Kungstradgarden
04. Happiness Is …
05. Five O’Clock Traffic
06. Last Train
The combination of precise, yet fluid percussive skills and sharp, flowing jazz melodies creates a fusion of sorts. This mutually beneficial exhibition of the arts is something to behold. Elements of straight jazz and samba rhythms, teetering at times on either side of the fence – considering the timing of the release, the sound – although smooth and free running – is disciplined enough to be its own and not a replica of other releases of the era. There’s enough energy and rhythm to warrant pushing into more funk like territories, yet enough restraint and individual style to keep to their own jazz driven sound. Melvyn and his cohorts seemingly had a particular jazz vision in mind and they definitely fulfilled it.
Rhythm and Blues is a ‘listeners’ record. If you like to immerse yourself in fine sounds, closing your eyes and feeling through the arrangements as they hit your ears, then it will more than strike a chord within you. This is tight. And it’s thanks to Wax Poetics for granting a re-release through their Wax Poetics Records imprint. Ever the ones for fine tastes, they’ve picked a winner here, and on 180g vinyl no less! Also be sure to check out other Wax Poetics Records releases from; East of Underground, The Moments and Earl Zero. That East of Underground LP is particularly special and might be hard to find now on vinyl – luckily I have my copy tucked away nice and safe.