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  James Mason
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Click below for a James Mason sample:

Free

I've Got My Eyes On You  

 
Mason was a one-time member of Roy Ayers' band, performing on jazz-funk delights like the Lifeline LP, where he featured on "Running Away."  He stepped away to record an album that would become legendary for its union of progressive funk and jazz.  Rhythm of Life was released to little fanfare in 1977, but the rare groove scene re-discovered the slamming "Free" and "Slick City," making the album a very hot property.  He apparently recorded one more 12-inch single before fading away from the recording scene.  A true case of hit it and quit it.

James Mason's Deepest Groove

Rhythm of Life (Chiaroscuro, 1977)
His only LP, but such a doozy!  Mason took everything he had learned from Ayers and poured it into this 10 track masterpiece, one of the most collectable fusion albums of all time.  Percolating percussion, deep bass and Mason's tasty guitar fills form the bedrock for these killer jazz-funk tunes, the most famous of whom, "Sweet Power Your Embrace," "Free," and "Funny Girl," are longtime classics and home to several samples. The biggest surprise is Narada Michael Walden's presence on the drums.  His performance here almost makes up for all the weak pop material he recorded and produced in the 1980s.  Clarice Taylor is the singer and she provides the ideal complement to the musicians, blending in perfectly.   Atmosphere, meaning, and great grooves rarely come together in such a delightful manner and it's a shame that the album went out of print almost as soon as it was released.  London's Soul Brother Records managed to get their hands on the masters and made this available for the first time in nearly 20 years. We should all give them a big round of applause.

"I Want Your Love" b/w "Night Gruv" (Soul Brother, 1990s)

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