For the most part, live albums are poorly produced and poorly recorded spectacles which really do not capture the artist. They leave us is disappointed. Of course, there are some notable exceptions to this. The biggest exception is probably Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive! Another exception is Al Jarreau’s 1977 live album – Look To The Rainbow. If you like Al Jarreau, like his voice, you like his emotion, you like the way he phrases words, this album is for you. There are several great tunes on this album but for me Better Than Anything is as close to Al Jarreau perfection as we can get.
There were few groups who enjoyed the success of Earth, Wind and Fire. Maurice White was the force behind the group. For about a 5 – 7 year period, Earth, Wind and Fire were the best in the land. Their concerts were legendary. Their sound was uniquely soulful. Their horn section was the best.
Earth, Wind and Fire vocalist and co-founder Maurice White died in his sleep in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening. A rep for the band confirmed his passing to Rolling Stone. He was 74.
The singer had been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1992, according to TMZ. His health had reportedly deteriorated in recent months. Because of the disease, he had not toured with the pioneering soul and R&B group since 1994. He nevertheless remained active on the business side of the group.
“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” White’s brother and bandmate Verdine wrote in a statement. “While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.”
“The light is he, shining on you and me,” the band added on Twitter.
White, who formed the group with Verdine in 1969, helped innovate a lush, eclectic style with Earth, Wind and Fire that drew inspiration from funk, jazz, R&B and Latin music – as well as Sly Stone and James Brown – for a unique sound that set the tone for soul music in the Seventies. The springy, elastic soul-pop of “Shining Star,” which White co-wrote, earned them their first Number One, and paved the way for hits like the joyful “Sing a Song,” the percussive and brassy “September,” their swinging cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” and the robotic disco of “Let’s Groove.” Rolling Stone included the group’s sweetly smooth 1975 single, “That’s the Way of the World,” on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. (more…)