Shaft album cover
Shaft

Bernard Purdie

1973
Prestige

Purdie’s second Prestige album from ’72 is mostly peerlessly played and arranged ensemble street funk, with a full brass section and Purdie’s raw, thundering snares and toms dominating the sound field. His take on Isaac Hayes’ Shaft builds the tension superbly and the moment when the tune kicks off properly and Purdie launches into his distinctive rolling, no-fill-left-unplayed style is funk heaven. With drummer-led albums obviously the drums need to be central in the mix, so these tracks are highly rhythmically robust for the time. This makes them brilliant dance floor records, a secret DJs soon discovered. The funky drums, choppy basslines and stacked, jazzy brass of tunes like Attica were not only resurrected by the UK rare groove and acid jazz scenes but were also clearly inspirational for many 90s acid jazz artists too. 

Harold Heath

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