Sunday, 11 January 2009

Quincy Jones - Roots

Quincy Jones

256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from A&M SP-4626

Continuing with more Afro-flavoured vibes from A&M, here's Quincy Jones' soundscape inspired by the 1977 TV mini-series Roots based on the genealogical novel by Alex Haley. Great book, good series, so-so soundtrack. However, this particular recording is missing from the extensive Quincy Jones discography at Blaxploitation Jive so it's another
blogosphere blank filled by Soundological. Although this was reissued on CD in 1997, the awesome cosmic poster was only included in the original vinyl release making the $5 or less this LP goes for (even still sealed) more than worth the price if you ask me...makes me wonder why people would pay over $50 for the rare CD. Sorry if the scan on this one is not so clean but it's been hanging on my wall for 15 years.

Since each side of this record is a tightly sequenced suite of short pieces that clock in under 2:30 each, there was no point in breaking it up into tracks (much the same reason there are no links for the 82 musicians involved). There are some sweet moments in this effort, mostly revolving around Letta Mbulu (if you haven't already checked her album Letta then I recommend you head over to Djalma's Soul Food and do so now) and the Wattsline Choir, but it's a top-heavy affair talent-wise that never really takes off nor transports you into a cinematic headspace. That's not to say it ain't a good album, just that it's not for everyone - those that do love it are staunch fans as a perusal of all the comments on Amazon begging for another CD release clearly illustrates.

AMG Review by Richard S. Ginell
Quincy Jones has been threatening to write a long tone poem sketching the history of black music for decades now, and he has yet to do it. This project, rushed out in the wake of the 1977 TV mini-series Roots, is about as close as he has come. A brief (28 minutes), immaculately-produced and segued suite, Roots quickly traces a timeline from Africa to the Civil War, incorporating ancient and modern African influences (with Letta Mbulu as the featured vocalist), a sea shanty, field hollers and fiddle tunes, snippets of dialogue from Roots actor Lou Gossett, and some Hollywood-style movie cues. Only a fraction of this music was used in the mini-series; oddly, the most familiar piece of music, the often-repeated "Roots Mural Theme," is not by Q but by film composer Gerald Fried, who wrote most of the TV score. Though some prominent jazzers (Shelly Manne, Victor Feldman, Ernie Watts, Lee Ritenour, Richard Tee, etc.) turn up in the orchestra, there is not a trace of jazz to be heard. This is a timely souvenir of a cultural phenomenon, but merely a curiosity for jazz fans.

Featured Artists
Quincy Jones - Trumpet, Arranger, Conductor, Vocals, Producer
Letta Mbulu - Vocals
Caiphus Semenya - Percussion, Arranger, Vocals
Rev. James Cleveland - Arranger, Conductor
Wattsline Choir: Rodney Armstrong, Mortonette Jenkins, Charles May, David Pridgen, Sherwood Sledge
Lou Gossett - Vocals
Bill Summers - Percussion, Arranger, Vocals, Concert Master

Zak Diouf - Drums, Vocals
Paul Bryant - Percussion
King Errisson - Percussion
Bobbye Hall - Percussion
Emil Richards - Percussion
Tommy Vig - Percussion
Milt Holland - Percussion
Shelly Manne - Percussion
Victor Feldman - Percussion
Dave Grusin - Arranger, Keyboards
Michael Boddicker - Keyboards
Ian Underwood - Keyboards
Richard Tee - Keyboards
Pete Jolly - Keyboards
Lee Ritenour - Guitar
David T. Walker - Guitar
Chuck Rainey - Bass (Electric)
Ed Reddick - Bass (Electric)
Arni Egillson - Bass (Acoustic)
Milton Kestenbaum - Bass (Acoustic)
Alton Hendrickson - Banjo
Catherine Gotthoffer - Harp
Dorothy Remsen - Harp
Ernie Watts - Woodwind
Jerome Richardson - Woodwind
Bill Green - Woodwind
Terry Harrington - Woodwind
Ted Nash - Woodwind
John Audino - Trumpet
Bobby Bryant - Trumpet
Buddy Childers - Trumpet
Dick Nash - Trombone
Maurice Spear - Trombone
Bill Watrous - Trombone
James A. Decker - French Horn
David Duke - French Horn
Alan Robinson - French Horn
Tommy Johnson - Tuba
Bobby Bruce - Violin
Gerald Vinci - Violin
Janice Gower - Violin
John Santulis - Violin
Sheldon Sanov - Violin
Bill Nuttycomb - Violin
Ralph Shaeffer - Violin
Joseph Livoti - Violin
Irv Katz - Violin
Erno Neufeld - Violin
Harry Bluestone - Violin
Bob Sushell - Violin
Joe Stepansky - Violin
Rollice Dale - Viola
Bob Ostrowsky - Viola
Alex Nieman - Viola
Marilyn Baker - Viola
Jesse Erlich - Cello
Jeff Solow - Cello
Paul Bergstrom - Cello
Ronald Cooper - Cello
Jim Gilstrap - Vocals
Stephanie Spruill - Vocals
Paulette McWilliams - Vocals
Deborah Tibbs - Vocals
Alexandra Brown - Vocals
John Lehman - Vocals
Linda Evans - Vocals
Alex Hassilev - Vocals

Tom Bahler - Arranger, Choir Master
Johnny Mandel - Arranger
Herbert W. Spencer - Arranger
Dick Hazard - Arranger

Motherland (0:29)
Roots Mural Theme (2:10)
Main Title: Mama Aifambeni (Premiere Episode) (1:03)
Behold, The Only Thing Greater Than Yourself (Birth) (1:30)
Oluwa (Many Rains Ago) (African Theme) (2:28)
Boyhood To Manhood (0:53)
The Toubob Is Here! (The Capture) (1:06)
Middle Passage (Slaveship Crossing) (1:15)
You In Americuh' Now, African (0:32)

Roots Mural Theme Intro (Slave Auction) (0:15)
Ole Fiddler (1:12)
Jumpin' De Broom (Marriage Ceremony) (0:42)
What Shall I Do? (Hush, Hush, Somebody's Calling My Name) (2:17)
Roots Mural Theme Bridge (Plantation Life) (1:25)
Oh Lord, Come By Here (3:25)
Free At Last? (The Civil War) (2:24)
Many Rains Ago (Oluwa) (African Theme: English Version) (4:50)

Research your Roots with Soundological HERE or HERE.(Sharebee is being a bitchbee so using MediaFire for the first time...let me know whatcha think)


ish said...

I bought the CD when it was cheap but DAYUM I didn't know I was missing out on that cool poster!! I always enjoy your write ups, Cheeba, even when I have the music already. Great blog.

Simon666 said...

cheeba. you're a phenomenon (bit drunk here bit i mean it! )

Hanimex 3000 said...

hmm... I think it's the very 1st time I see this one. I ought to give thanks, one more time...

cheeba said...

You're more than welcome gentlemen! Ish, nice to know someone actually reads the stuff...right back atcha too!

jcmoss33 said...

I mean, you have a television mega-event and Q is behind the boards...OF COURSE!!! Thanks for the post and keep up the great work with the site. Peace and Happy New Year.

Curtis said...

Simply...Thank YOU!

Eliezer Salazar said...

I only see two songs, is that how it is or is there a mistake? still...thanks a lot :)

milekp said...

I've been lookin' everywhere for this very treasure of an OST for a long, long time. Almost lost hope. Until now. I can never thank you enough! You're just...WOW!!!


Culture Of None said...

found this one in top notch, like new condition at a thrift store for $.99...that gatefold is indeed wicked. surprisingly, this one has an edge "cut out" at the bottom. was this LP deleted due to lack of sales? hmm. It sounds great on vinyl.

Anonymous said...

Saw the series as a child. Although i have only very vague memories about it, i remember very well the name Kunta Kinte which was kind of a myth of my childhood.

Thanks for sharing it.

Linked her from my Letta Mbulu discog:

cheeba said...

@Culture of None, great to score this one for a buck! Heck, the poster's worth at least that much if you ask me! Due to the massive popularity of the mini-series, it's probably more likely the cut-out was due to being overstock but yes, I believe it was deleted.

@porco, me too, was about 7 when it aired and although I didn't see it for real until a few years later on VHS, I remember all the adults watched it. Thanks for the link, on my way...

voyager said...

Thank you,I love Q and just recently discovered really excellent South African singer Letta Mbulu who is featured here so this sounds very good...

Anonymous said...

why is only two songs why are the songs not separate is it possible to put a new link up with separate song
s please it a great album thank you

cheeba said...

They are not "songs", each side is a suite.

Feel free to edit as you like.