This is a nice overview from soulandjazzandfunk.com (below). We couldn’t agree more…SPLASH is in the weekly rotation here at the studio and we simply love Jeanie Tracy’s vocal contributions to the project.
Mr. Charles Waring writes about what we have been saying for years, “SPLASH is probably the smoothest of Hubbard’s fushion records …It is an album that soul fans, rather than jazz buffs, will enjoy and appreciate.” Right on!
Recording with Freddie were some of the most brilliant and soulful Los Angeles Session Players including Clarence McDonald on keyboards (& co-writer with Al Hall, Jr. on “I’m Yours”), David T. Walker & Paul Jackson Jr. on guitar, David Sheilds on bass and James Gadson on drums. It is really no wonder why this project has endured the test of time. See full credit listing below.
We discovered this nice thank you from Freddie Hubbard to the musicians which appears on the LP sleeve. It reads: “To Al Hall, David T. Walker, Clarence McDonald, David Shields and James Gadson: I have the greatest respect for your musicianship and much gratitude for the contributions you all made to this album.” – F.H.
PLEASE NOTE: In the review below, they state that the re-issue of the LP is through BGO. Upon doing further research we have discovered that the company is BGP.
BGP is a London based company & a division of Ace Records. We were unable to find the re-issue on iTunes but we will keep checking and keep you posted.
We have had good luck finding UK re-issues through www.importCDs.com.
Credits: Freddie Hubbard (trumpet, flugelhorn), David T. Walker & Paul Jackson, Jr. (guitars), Clarence McDonald, Louis Small, Chester Thompson (keyboards), Ron Brown & David Shields (bass), James Gadson & Jim Keltner (drums), Al Hall, Jr. (trombone, synth, percussion), Tony Flores, William Clarke (congas, percussion), Jeanie Tracy & Maurice Long (background vocals), Jeanie Tracy (lead vocals). Produced by Freddie Hubbard and Al Hall, Jr. / 1981 on Fantasy Records.
REVIEW by Charles Waring (reprinted from soulandjazzandfunk.com / 2012)
Poor old Freddie Hubbard: he took a lot of flak – some of it vicious – from the jazz police when he embraced funk and pop and his music moved into fusion territory in the 1970s, first at CTI Records and then later at Columbia. Reissued for the first time is Hubbard’s final fusion foray, 1981’s ‘Splash,’ his debut for the Fantasy label following his departure from Columbia. Jazz purists will hate this set for its pronounced pop/soul emphasis and seeming lack of improvisation but soul fans who like a bit of smooth jazz on the side will lap it up.
‘Splash’ is probably the smoothest of all of Hubbard’s fusion records and includes four tracks featuring soulful lead vocalist, Jeanie Tracy. The best of them is ‘You’re Gonna Lose Me,’ a svelte, moody, mid-tempo dancer that has been championed by the UK’s Modern Soul scene. It builds slowly on the verse section, which is underpinned by a looping groove, and then eases into an infectious chorus where Jeanie Tracy’s impassioned vocals are superb. ‘Splash,’ the opener, also features Tracy’s vocals, as do the mid-tempo ‘Touchdown’ and ‘Jarri,’ though certainly the vocals don’t eclipse Hubbard’s stellar trumpet playing, which is always arresting.
Hubbard co-produced the set with Al Hall and together they corralled the hottest R&B session players to work on the record, including guitarists Paul Jackson Jr and David T Walker, Clarence McDonald and former Tower Of Power man, Chester Thompson, on keyboards, Freddie Washington on bass and James Gadson on drums. The end result is a very slick, polished, record and typical of proto-smooth jazz LPs in the early ’80s. Three instrumentals punctuate the vocal tracks; ‘Mystic Lady’ is a mellow ballad, ‘I’m Yours’ is a breezy uptempo number featuring Hubbard on flugelhorn and some deft improvisation on the song’s simple, catchy melody while ‘Sister ‘Stine’ bubbles along blithely with a funky rhythmic undertow.
In terms of fusion, ‘Splash’ was Hubbard’s swansong in that much maligned of musical genres. After that he returned to straight ahead jazz. Though jazz critics are likely you give it a one or two star rating, this album is much, much better than that. It’s an album that soul fans, rather than jazz buffs, will enjoy and appreciate. And if this takes your fancy, check out BGO’s fresh reissue of Hubbard’s mid-’70s Columbia albums ‘High Energy,’ ‘Liquid Love,’ and ‘Windjammer’ in a single, 2-CD package.