Black Octopus


aec.cdb5637960248.2 10/11/12 New
$47.19 $58.99

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    Black Octopus Backdoor Music Publishing

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Review Text Something of a lost funk legend, Black Octopus was recorded by bassist Paul Jackson during a 1978 tour of Japan with Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, but didn't see an American release until more than two decades later. Augmented with four bonus tracks, the album lives up to the reputation it developed in exile, its blend of "Chameleon"-like fusion, disco, R&B, and spacy jazz driven by Jackson's fatback basslines into rare groove nirvana. Surprisingly, most of the original Black Octopus also features his vocals, which bear a marked resemblance to Slave's Steve Arrington. Jackson acquits himself well as a frontman, nicely crooning his way through the sultry, laid-back disco of "Burning in the Heat (Of Your Love)" and even reciting a little poetry on the opening "Many Directions." But it's the vintage grooves here -- played by several other Hancock veterans, including Herbie himself, and loaded with crunchy Rhodes riffs, JB's-style horn charts, and in-the-pocket drumming -- that are the real star. Of the four additions, which nearly double the album's running time, the instrumental "T-Bolt" is probably closest to what would have been expected from a Jackson solo effort, its tasteful fusion a descendant of Hancock's '70s work. "Umi Bozu" is more adventurous, its clouds of synth underpinned by propulsive rhythm guitar, and "Bow Tie Dress" is flat-out weird, with Jackson mumbling lyrics over a jaunty electric piano. Yet if Black Octopus' musical tentacles occasionally reach beyond their grasp, the overall result is still an essential for any savvy DJ or fusion fan. ~ Dan LeRoy

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Many Directions, Pt. 1 - 3:46
  2. 2. Eight Ways of Love, Pt. 2 - 4:22
  3. 3. Funk Times Three - 6:25
  4. 4. Burning In the Heat (of Your Love) - 8:59
  5. 5. Tiptoe Thru the Ghetto - 6:39
  6. 6. T-Bolt - 7:32
  7. 7. Little Love'll Help - 4:19
  8. 8. Umibozu - 5:45
  9. 9. Bow Tie Dress - 3:13

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