Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Jazz Hand Prince

It's June 7th, and you know what that means.
I have blogged this guy twice before: once two years ago today, and once last April when he left us so suddenly and unexpectedly. I will likely do it again next year, on his 60th. Some folks merit endless tribute.
There isn't a whole lot to say about him that's not already been said 100,000 times or more. In 1000 years he will still be considered one of the most talented humans ever to live.
He is one of those rare people, like a Sinatra or a Stevie, whose music is always playing somewhere, in every corner of the globe, at all times.
These shots are from a 1977 Minneapolis photo shoot, just as he was beginning to record what became his first LP, For You. I found it intriguing that he had gone back to the same hairstyle at the end of his life that he had when he first started out in the studio 40 years previous.
The insane jams I have to share on this, what woulda been Prince's 59th birthday, date from the same time as these photos, and were recorded sometime in the Spring of 1977 at the office studio of his then-manager, Owen Husney.
These recordings show a completely different and unusual side of this most iconic and revered artist: none feature vocals. In this session he is leading a burning fusion trio through eight funkified instrumentals on which he mans an array of multiple keyboards and synthesizers.
Yes, this is Prince in Return to Forever mode, and a much more Chick Corea or George Duke aesthetic runs through this 56-minute tape. He sounds like he'd be right at home in Herbie's Headhunters, or a Seventies keyboard-rich Prog band.
He is accompliced for the hour by Bobby Z, who became his full time drummer, and Andre Cymone on bass.... most of the session is Prince going hogwild on some vintage 1970s keyboards like some sort of laboratory hybrid, somewhere between Ramsey Lewis and Jimmy Smith.
"Husney's: A Work In Progress"
Owen Husney's Loring Park studio
Minneapolis, MN
likely Spring 1977

01 Instrumental #1
02 Instrumental #2
03 Instrumental #3
04 Instrumental #4
05 Instrumental #5
06 Instrumental #6
07 Instrumental #7
08 Instrumental #8

Total time: 55:51

Prince Rogers Nelson -  keyboards
Robert Rivkin aka Bobby Z - drums
Andre Cymone - bass

could be the master reel or a 1st gen copy, source and exact date unknown
This one circulates in mp3 form all over the place, but I am sharing it here losslessly so the audio boffins can sleep better tonight. Again, there isn't much to say -- this is one of the most beloved musicians of our lifetimes (or anyone else's, really) -- except that if you bleed Purple, this definitely has your name on it.
He is obviously tremendously missed, but as long as the music is kept alive, he will never die. So pull it down and funk up your Wednesday with this hour of bubbling, volcanically fleet-fingered P power... and of course a very happy birthday to the thoroughly immortal Mr. Nelson.--J.
6.7.1958 - 4.21.2016