SOUND FAMILIAR?: TARIKA BLUE

11 09 2008

Last month, I was on my way home driving from the Bay back to Long Beach. I had my ipod loaded for the 6 hr. commute. I was playing the Cosmo Baker – Still Good MIX playing and heard this song. I was thinking, “Dayam! This ‘sounds familiar’!!!” and I remember Dilla used this to produce a song for Erykah Badu. (You’ll know the track once you listen to the song). The memory of J Dilla lives on!!!

Tarika Blue: Dreamflower

Album Notes (taken from Downtown Sound)

In 1976 and 1977 Hank O’Neal produced two LPs by an exceptional young band called Tarika Blue. The leader was a fine pianist/keyboard artist named Phil Clendeninn. He not only led the band, wrote most of the songs, and played any instrument that had a keyboard (with the possible exception of an accordion), but Phil also learned to use every piece of recording equipment in the Downtown Sound control room, engineered a zillion sessions, and taught New School audio engineering classes. In addition, he became a very in demand session player, performing on countless recordings in all genres, including the enormously successful Rolling Stones album, Tattoo You. Maybe there was something in the air back then, but within a relatively short period in the late 60’s and early 70’s, New York City produced some incredibly fresh musical talent, who clearly affected some major changes and significantly influenced the direction of the urban jazz/r&b/funk fusion sound. Among them were Nile Rodgers, Steve Jordan, Onaje Alan Gumbs, James Mason, T.M. Stevens, Dennis Davis, Andy and Jerry Gonzales… many of whom were active at Downtown Sound. Without question, one of the most admired and respected of them all, particularly among musicians, was Tarika Blue leader and keyboardist Phil Clendeninn.

Now, twenty-five years later, Tarika Blue has developed a cult following across the globe. The timelessness and staying power of their music is evident in the fact that Dreamflower was sampled for the entire musical track of Erykah Badu’s platinum hit, Didn’t Cha Know, and it ended up as one of five Grammy award contenders for “R&B Song Of The Year” in 2001. There is still profound appreciation and interest in the music of Tarika Blue, and we’re pleased to reissue both LPs on one CD, and make this the debut release on our new Downtown Sound label. Nothing could be more appropriate. After all, Phil even titled one of his compositions Downtown Sound. Check it out.

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11 09 2008
Cosmo Baker

Here’s a link to the “Still Good” mix:
http://www.cosmobaker.com/stillgood.html

And the precursor to it, “Feeling Good” as well: http://cosmobaker.com/feelinggood.html

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