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Donald Byrd - Places And Spaces (1975)

The finest 70's jazz-funk. Donald Byrd was a 'serious' jazz musician who appalled the musos in the Seventies when he 'went commercial', churning out a series of killer dance-oriented jazz-funk albums that are just incredible. Then he got serious again, but he left a legacy of gorgeous, breezy, magnificently wistful music, of which this album is a mighty fine example, as it contains gems such as Wind Parade (a beatific track that transports you to another time and place instantly) and the title-track (another brilliantly evocative slice of vintage jazz-funk). And what about the sublime strings on You And Music, a truly wonderful love song that captures that heady feeling so perfectly. But every track is a revelation (there are only 7!). Marvelous summery chill-out music to make you dream of places and spaces out there... The playing is phenomenal, because these were still jazz musicians at heart (not that funk musicians were bad! Ah, the 70's, what an incredible era for music...). It's easy to love this album, it's just so short and sweet and gorgeous. It has a specific atmosphere, like all great albums. Just perfect, really.

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Sarah Morgan