Charles Earland
Kozmigroov Albums
The Dynamite Brothers (Soundtrack) [Prestige, 1973]
Leaving This Planet [Prestige, 1974]
Kharma [Prestige, 1975]
Odyssey [Mercury/Polygram, 1976]
The Great Pyramid [Mercury/Polygram, 1976]
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The Dynamite Brothers soundtrack is Earland's finest K-groov moment, even better than Herbie's Death Wish and Roy Ayer's Coffee in the astrojazz/blaxploitation (!) field. The cast includes amongst others, Eddie Henderson, Billy Hart and Patrick Gleeson (strait outta HH's septet), as well as Mervin Bronson on bass, Cornell Dupree on gtr and Lawrence Killian on percussion. Get it for the inebriated take on "Never Ending Melody", the fuzz dub boogie of "Weedhopper" and "Snake," an 8 minute groove monster soaked with phased drums and Gleeson's spacey synth abuse. Oh, and those Ninjatune magpies prolly stole the "kungfusion" amalgam from this platter, the cheeky bastards. This is a killer lp and it could only leave me somewhat disappointed when I finally heard Leaving This Planet. Not that it isn't a good album, it just isn't as outside as Dynamite Bros. Still, "Warp Factor 8" kinda fixed my jones for a taste of classic zonked kozmigroov. And yeah, even if the sessions are mostly straightahead, the horns of Eddie Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson are very sweet and thick. Earland's final Prestige date was Kharma, recorded live at Montreux in 1974. This one is of similar direction to Leaving This Planet (soul jazz, occasionally cosmic but always deep) but here Charlie plays organ, Rhodes and ARP himself. The first side is more bop-oriented, with a very swinging tribute to Lee Morgan, but it's the flipside which really kicks my ass. "Suite for Martin Luther King" is kinda magnicent, its two parts creating a synergistic duality of the wild and the peaceful. And damn, check how "Part 1 Offering" degenerates into that hurricane of a synth squall! One more thing-- Ron Carter not only plays electric bass on the title cut (which reminds me a lot of the Isley's "Harvest for the World"), but he also lays down a nice solo toward the end. Kharma hasn't seen digital rebirth yet, which is a shame since my vinyl pressing is kinda noisy and the jacket notes are pretty much illegible. Odyssey, while showing promise with its titles ("Intergalactic Love Song", "Cosmic Fever", "Phire", "Journey of the Soul") and a personnel that includes Abercrombie, Urbaniak, Randy Brecker and Norman Connors, is unfortunately marred by shitawful production. The percussion is often buried in the mix and Earland's keyboards (he'd pretty much mothballed the organ by this point) are way too prominent. Why bother with all the name players? And man, those vocal tracks smell like filler. Too bad 'cuz the 8+ minute "Cosmic Fever" could've easily been extended to twice its length. "Best Before 1975?" Yup, this album was released in 1976. Earland went on to release The Great Pyramid a spotty space-disco venture, then returned to the organ and his soul jazz roots on Mama Roots after signing to Muse in 1977. [DW]

Found a cut on Charles Earland & Oddysey's The Great Pyramid, "Upper Atlantis", which is damn near as good as anything on Dynamite Bros. It's from '76, but since it's inspired by Mu, I think it skirts the '75 cutoff somehow. [JW]

The 1974 Montreux tracks from <i>Kharma</i> have been combined with Earland's 1972 <i>Live at the Lighthouse</i> set on a newer Prestige CD called <i>Charles Earland in Concert</i>. It's still available on Amazon from outside sellers as of June 2011
[Chris Oberst]

[Arthur Grant Jr]

This Is From Arthur Grant Lead Vocalist & Tennor sax Great Pyramid Album, Mona Lisa, and Driftin
[Charles Earland Group]

This Is From Arthur Grant Lead Vocalist & Tennor sax Great Pyramid Album, Mona Lisa, and Driftin
[Charles Earland Group]

"Mona Lisa" from THE GREAT PYRAMID album is 9 fabulous minutes of latin inspired rare groove and should not be overlooked!
[JC - Here & Now Recordings]