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Donny Hathaway – Flying Easy (1973)

Donny Hathaway’s vocal is instantly recognisable. One of the all-time great soul singers, he was a genuine influence on many artists including Stevie Wonder and George Benson. Sadly he suffered from severe mental health issues which ultimately led to his early death. This breezy, uplifting track is taken from the 1973 album ‘Extension of a Man.’

Spike Milligan – Harley St

Harley St is London’s most famous location for private medicine. Here the great Spike Milligan, with his typical brand of comic lunacy, shows us inside this exclusive world….

 

Common – Time Travelin’ (2000)

Today I heard the news that the influential trumpet player Roy Hargrove had died. He was a force in contemporary jazz and made great contributions to the jazz influenced soul, latin and hip-hop music of the late 90s – 2000s.

This is the opening track from one of my favourite hip hop albums – Common’s ‘Like Water For Chocolate’ – featuring Roy Hargrove, Femi Kuti and Vinia Mojica. It shows the evolution of hip hop with J Dilla and D’Angelo involved in the production.

Randy Crawford – Endlessly (1979)

Randy Crawford is widely known for her work with The Crusaders on ‘Street Life’. While ‘Endlessly’ gets far less airtime it remains one of the great soul tracks of the ’70s. The space, arrangement and spirit of the vocal is up there with the very best.

Chaka Khan – I Know You, I Live You (1981)

From the mid 70s – 80s Chaka Khan’s musical output was on another level. Consistently one of the most soulful vocalists anywhere, this track from the album ‘What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me’ has a classic, bumping rhythm. Produced by Arif Mardin with The Brecker Bros. on horns.

Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil (1966)

This track from tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter is one of the great 60s jazz tracks – an outstanding blend of hard bop, modal and ‘cool school’ jazz. It features a classic 60s line-up of Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Ron Carter (double bass), and Elvin Jones (drums).

Eddie Harris – Listen Here (1967)

From the album ‘The Electrifying Eddie Harris’. The rhythm section has a relentless Afro-Cuban drive while Harris glides to perfection on his electronic sax. It just sounds so good every time….