Walter Bishop, Jr – Coral Keys (1971) (Black Jazz BJ/2)

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“Coral Keys”
Walter Bishop, Jr.
Released on Black Jazz 1971 (BJ/2)
Japanese Reissue 2005 Black Jazz/P-Vine

Coral Keys 6:20
Waltz For Zweetie 5:08
Track Down 4:51
Soul Turn Around 7:18
Our November 4:10
Three Loves 5:00
Freedom Suite 7:50

All songs composedand arranged by Walter Bishop
Produced and engineered by Gene Russell Continue reading

Fritz the Cat & Heavy Traffic OST (1972-3)

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FRITZ THE CAT Soundtrack Released 1972 (Fantasy 9406)
HEAVY TRAFFIC Soundtrack Released 1973 (Fantasy 9436)
2-on-1 CD released 1996 on Fantasy (FCD-24745-2)

Fritz the Cat is also known as:

Fritz el gato
El gato caliente
Fritz – kova kolli
Fritz il gatto
Fritz le chat
Fritz, o ponirogatos
Katten Fritz
O Gato Fritz

It has been many years since I saw either of these films, and I never realized the soundtrack had so many great musicians on it back in those days. And then I ran across a CD pressing from Fantasy containing both soundtracks and, damn, what a surprised! First a little about the films. It took me a little internet research to find a review of this film by anyone who took it halfway seriously. Here is a link to the Wikipedia synopsis of the film along with some material on its production and reception as well, including Robert Crumb’s disowning of the film.

These are very pleasant soundtracks to listen to, and the first one for Fritz the Cat should be much better known : grooving soul jazz and funk instrumentals interspersed with classics from Bo Diddley, Billie Holiday. The list of musicians is filled with some serious heavy hitters: Charles Earland, Idris Muhammad, Pretty Purdie, Cornell Dupree, Melvin Sparks, Chuck Rainey — hell, even Cal Tjader appears on one tune. I suppose this could bear a similarity to a “Blaxploitation” soundtrack even though it is about a cat, but with more jazz riffing. With the exception of the inclusion of ‘cameos’ of famous recordings, the material on this album is not found anywhere else (as far as I know) and it is exquisite early-70s soul jazz / funk. If this material had been released on individual albums attributed to the artists themselves, it would be better known and probably have made for successful titles in their catalogs — if nothing else, at least with the recognition and cult-status of a (at one time) rare record like Purdie’s soundtrack for “Leileh” released in 1974. As it stands, this soundtrack seems relatively uncelebrated by the rare-groove crowd.

The soundtrack to Heavy Traffic is also good listening but features mostly uncredited musicians (with Merle Saunders a big exception). It follows the same formula of instrumental grooves but with a few famous artists thrown in (Chuck Berry, Sergio Mendes). It’s solid but not as creative or inspired as the Fritz soundtrack, although the theme of “Scarburough Fair” running through the record is a nice touch. The storyline of this film is equally odd, if not more so, than Fritz, and a synopsis can be found at this link.

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