Philip Baileys Soul on Jazz Is Latest Heads Up SACD

Former Earth, Wind & Fire lead singer Philip Bailey has released his first solo Multichannel SACD on Telarc’s “Heads Up” Jazz label. Entitled “Soul on Jazz”, the album features 11 songs that highlight Bailey’s Jazz background.

Here’s what Telarc’s web site has to say about this new SACD, released day and date with the Stereo CD version:

Philip Bailey, cofounder and lead vocalist for pop superstars Earth, Wind & Fire, releases Soul on Jazz on our partner label, Heads Up International. Produced by the adventurous arranger/ saxophonist Bob Belden, EWF keyboardist Myron McKinley, Scott Kinsey and Bailey, in 5.1 Surround Sound SACD.

“I wanted to find the essence of what Philip is all about,” Belden recalls. “He’s a soulful singer, but he’s also a jazz guy at heart. We tried to make a record that wasn’t pretentious, that wasn’t a throwback. Everyone involved has deep jazz credentials as well as experience in other kinds of music.”

Bailey adds, “I think jazz, in its scope and in its depth, is the kind of music that I gravitate to for many reasons. Musically, it’s limitless, and the character of the music is one that’s secure, with a firm foundation. So you can sink your teeth into jazz and never exhaust your search for it.”

Soul on Jazz features such outstanding jazz and contemporary jazz musicians as DJ Smash, guitarist John Hart, alto saxophonist Lou Marini, baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber, trumpeter Scott Wendholt, and keyboardists McKinley and Kinsey. Belden himself plays soprano on the opening track, the Weather Report gem “Indiscretions.” Equally notable is the rhythmic support provided by guitarist Mike “Dino” Campbell, bassists Ira Coleman and David Dyson, percussionist Don Alias and drummer Billy Kilson.

Bailey taps into the evocative compositions of jazzmasters Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock to weave his own musical tapestries. Along with definitive remakes of “Nature Boy,” Thelonius Monk’s “Ruby, My Dear,” the Les McCann/Eddie Harris smash “Compared to What,” and Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay,” Soul on Jazz also features a new arrangement of the EWF hit “Keep Your Head to the Sky.” Two impressive new tunes feature lyrics written by the vocalist’s son, Sir Bailey: DJ Smash’s “Bop-Skip-Doodle” and Myron McKinley’s “Unrestrained.”

“We found material that we could adapt,” says Belden. “Coltrane used to play ‘Nature Boy,’ which has a strong association with Nat Cole. The Monk tune has lyrics that could have been written today.”

Bailey’s four-octave range and soaring falsetto work on Earth, Wind & Fire hits like “Reasons” and “Shining Star” set the world ablaze in the 1970s. He topped the charts in 1985 with “Easy Lover,” a duet with Phil Collins, and his gospel album, Triumph, won a Grammy the following year. Released in 1998, his Heads Up debut, Dreams, featured an all-star cast including Pat Metheny, George Duke, Grover Washington Jr., Gerald Albright and others.

Album Performers
Philip Bailey — vocals, timbales,
DJ Smash — programming
Don Alias — congas, percussion
John Hart — solo guitar
Ronnie Cuber — baritone saxophone
Billy Kilson — drums
Mike “Dino” Campbell — guitar
Ira Coleman — acoustic bass
Lou Marini — alto saxophone
David Dyson — bass
David Whitworth — background vocals
Charmaine Cousins — background vocals
Billy Baker — background vocals
Bob Belden — producer, soprano saxophone
Scott Kinsey — producer, keyboards
Myron McKinley — producer, piano, melodica, keyboards
Scott Wendholt — trumpet
Don Corey Washington — background vocals
Alan Burroughs — acoustic guitar
Robert Brookins — background vocals
Daniel De Los Reyes — congas

Album Tracks
1. My Indiscretions
2. Dear Ruby
3. Compared to What
4. Nature Boy
5. Bop-Skip-Doodle
6. Unrestrained
7. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
8. Keep Your Head to the Sky
9. Sometime Ago
10. Tell Me a Bedtime Story
11. On the Red Clay