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Tarika Blue (Re-mastered)

Tarika Blue

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Album Review

As much as purists complain about the modern urban music practice of sampling classic tracks, this can also lead to a modern appreciation of great (and sometimes forgotten) music from yesteryear. A short-lived New York-based ensemble led by keyboardist Phil Clendennin, Tarika Blue released two recordings in the late '70s that blended silky jazz fusion sensibilities and the mellow soul sound of the day that's now considered old-school. Vocalist Erykah Badu rekindled interest in the group by using, without permission, its laid-back tune "Dreamflower" as the background for her platinum hit, "Didn't Cha Know," which went on to be nominated for R&B song of the year in 2001. Universal/Motown and Badu later agreed to pay a settlement fee for the sample, and SOS Productions d.b.a. Chiaroscuro Records has launched the new label Downtown Sound as a platform for this compilation of these two original, very appealing recordings. The vibe, influenced by Fender Rhodes, the jangling guitars of Ryo Kawasaki, and the punchy sax of Marvin Blackman, is light and funky in the mode of the Crusaders. Energetic tracks like "Things Spring" are fun despite dated production values, and the instrumental passages and tunes are far superior to the somewhat cheesy, melodramatic vocal segments. You don't have to know the history to enjoy this blast from the past, but it adds a little color to the experience.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s

Led by New York session player Phil Clendeninn, Tarika Blue was a lyrical, highly melodic fusion/jazz-funk outfit that had a small following (mostly on the East Coast) in the '70s. Clendeninn's combo wasn't as well known as Lonnie Liston Smith & the Cosmic Echoes, but there are definite parallels between those two East Coast bands. Like the Cosmic Echoes, Tarika Blue favored a very spiritual, mystical approach that owed something to acoustic post-bop as well as soul, funk, pop, and rock. Tarika...
Full bio
Tarika Blue (Re-mastered), Tarika Blue
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