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Never Learned to Dance: Anthology 1967-71

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Album Review

As a teenaged vibraphone player leading a Latin trio, Harvey Averne gained an early indoctrination into Latin forms (early, that is, for someone not born of Latin heritage). And, as a sales executive and later a producer for Fania, Averne understood the type of crossover music most likely to lead to chart action and major-label distribution. Those two experiences certainly influenced Averne's recording career, which blossomed while working with Larry Harlow in Orchestra Harlow and then flowered with a couple of LPs recorded under his own leadership for Fania and Atlantic. His records were influenced more by funk and soul than Latin (his drummers were none other than Bernard "Pretty" Purdie and Idris Muhammad), but crossover to dance audiences or progressive FM radio seemed to be the most important thing about these tracks. His covers of "Stand" and "Runaway Child, Running Wild" could earn a well-deserved place on any Latin crossover compilation, and he had a way with a Beatles song as well ("Don't Let Me Down," "Come Together"). His earliest material was best, including popcorn 45s like "Make Out" and "The Micro Mini."

Never Learned to Dance: Anthology 1967-71, Harvey Averne
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