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Cool Heat: The Best of CTI Records

Cool Heat: The Best of CTI Records


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Since the end of the 1970s there has been no shortage of CTI compilations. Some have been assembled thematically -- by instrument, from guitar and keyboard to saxophone -- while others have focused on the label's biggest hits: both volumes of the Masters Collection issued in 2002 and 2004, respectively, tried to grasp the entirety of the label's span from the late '60s on. What sets Cool Heat apart is that rather than rely on the label's earliest years when founder Creed Taylor concentrated on developing a cool and classy groove aesthetic, this set focuses on the post-1970 CTI, when jazz and elegant soul had wed themselves to funk. The beautiful thing about this collection -- besides its stellar sound -- is how it is curated aesthetically rather than chronologically -- it amounts to a killer CTI mixtape. It begins with Deodato's Rhodes-and-bass-driven version of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and careers directly into Lalo Schifrin's "Jaws," as if cinema were a prime motivating label M.O. -- given the iconic look of its artist photos and cover artwork, can that really be far from true? And whether it's the stately funk of Bob James' "Westchester Lady" or the proto-disco of David Matthews' "Shoogie Wanna Boogie," or Esther Phillips' bumping number two Dance Chart remake of "What a Difference a Day Makes" (arranged by lead guitarist Joe Beck), it's obvious that Taylor wanted to create a sound that could be played on the radio, at a party, or in a club. Other highlights from disc one include Hank Crawford's sultry "Wildflower," Johnny Hammond's "Breakout," and Patti Austin's "Say You Love Me." Disc two looks backwards and forward as it opens with George Benson's "Supership" from 1975 -- the year before his breakthrough with Breezin'. Nina Simone delivers her iconic cover of Randy Newman's "Baltimore" from 1978 with a stellar arrangement by Matthews. Joe Farrell kicks it with John McLaughlin's "Follow Your Heart" off his 1970 self-titled quartet set. There's also a lovely duet between McLaughlin and Benson on "Flute Song" from their duo album in 1976. We also get a couple of more mainstays, as no CTI collection could be representative without Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" or Stanley Turrentine's "Sugar." And yes, Kenny Burrell is represented with "Be Yourself" from 1971's God Bless the Child, as is Eric Gale with his signature "Forecast" from 1973. Why the producers chose a second Deodato cut ("Superstrut") is strange considering what was left off (anything from Allan Holdsworth's Velvet Darkness, for instance, arguably the greatest guitar record ever to appear on the label). That caveat aside, closing the set with Esther Phillips' version of Gil Scott-Heron's "Home Is Where the Hatred Is" is an excellent if provocative choice. This is a fantastic collection for those seeking to investigate CTI, and a great mix for those who are well aware of its magical recordings.

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Product Details

Release Date: 08/18/2017
Label: Imports
UPC: 5013929951822
catalogNumber: 2995182
Rank: 93486


Disc 1

  1. Also Sprach Zarathustra
  2. Jaws
  3. What a Difference a Day Makes
  4. Could Heaven Ever Be Like This
  5. Westchester Lady
  6. Shoogie Wanna Boogie
  7. Grand Prix
  8. The Chicago Theme (Love Loop)
  9. Barreta’s Theme (Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow)
  10. Breakout
  11. Wildflower
  12. Mama Wailer
  13. Say You Love Me

Disc 2

  1. Supership
  2. Baltimore
  3. Follow Your Heart
  4. Be Yourself
  5. Forecast
  6. Polar Ac
  7. Flute Song
  8. It’s Going to Take Some Time
  9. Sugar
  10. Red Clay
  11. Super Strut
  12. Home Is Where the Hatred Is

Album Credits

Technical Credits

Richard Strauss   Composer
William Eaton   Composer
Patti Austin   Composer
Chris Kenner   Composer
Carole King   Composer
Randy Newman   Composer
Ronnie Foster   Composer
Bob James   Composer
John McLaughlin   Composer
Stanley Turrentine   Composer
John Williams [composer]   Composer
Ralph MacDonald   Composer
Dave Matthews   Composer
David Matthews   Composer
Stanley Adams   Composer
Morgan Ames   Composer
Kenny Burrell   Composer
Dave Grusin   Composer
Doug Edwards   Composer
Eric Gale   Composer
Freddie Hubbard   Composer
Arthur Jenkins   Composer
David Richardson   Composer
William Salter   Composer
Gil Scott-Heron   Composer
Lonnie Smith   Composer
Johnny "Hammond" Smith   Composer
G Guthrie   Composer
Tony Sarafino   Composer
Charles Waring   Sleeve Notes
Maria Grever   Composer
Eumir Deodato   Composer

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