Esther Phillips – From A Whisper To A Scream (1972/2013)
DSD64 Stereo (.dsf) 1 bit/2,8 MHz | Time: 38:02 min | 1,5 GB
or FLAC Stereo (tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 38:02 minutes | 745 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: e-Onkyo | Front Cover | Genre: Jazz | © CTI Records
A platinum-selling singer, Esther Phillips had a long and storied career and all of her recordings for KUDU (sub-label of CTI) have something nice on them, but this is probably the best one. The credits for “From A Whisper To A Scream“, Esther’s 1972 Kudu debut – considered by many to be her finest album for the label – lists such renowned players as Hank Crawford on sax, Eric Gale and Cornell Dupree on guitar, Bernard Purdie on drums, Richard Tee on keyboards and Gordon Edwards on bass. Also enlisting the cream of background singers (Joshie Armstead, Hilda Harris and Tasha Thomas) giving Esther just the right vocal cushion for her blues-tinged interpretations of works by everyone from poet/singer Gil Scott-Heron and the great Marvin Gaye to New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint and soul man Eddie Floyd.
One of Esther Phillips finest ’70s releases, From a Whisper to a Scream is the first of seven albums the singer recorded for CTI offshoot Kudu. Arranged and conducted by Pee Wee Ellis, the December 1971 session also involved principal players such as bassist Gordon Edwards, drummer Bernard Purdie, percussionist Airto, guitarists Cornell Dupree and Eric Gale, keyboardist Richard Tee, and saxophonists Hank Crawford and David Liebman. Setting the tone for Phillips’ Kudu era, Whisper offers a series of spacious, yet fully arranged ballads of burning heartache, along with a handful of relatively funky numbers that do nothing to compromise her talent, dishing out loads of classy grit. It’s a definite point of departure from the likes of Esther Phillips Sings and And I Love Him, her field of contemporaries closer to Al Green and Aretha Franklin than before. She grabs onto “Home Is Where the Hatred Is,” Gil Scott-Heron’s most harrowing rumination on drug dependency – which, at that point, wasn’t even a year old – as if it were her very own, and it’s all the more poignant given its parallels with her own life. (Its meaning was only compounded by her death in 1984.) Though there is absolutely nothing lacking in the album’s more energetic moments, it’s still the ballads that shine brightest, like the alternately fragile and explosive “From a Whisper to a Scream” (Allen Toussaint) and a staggering “Baby, I’m for Real” (Marvin and Anna Gordy, made popular by the Originals) so vulnerable yet commanding that it really should’ve closed the album.
01 – Home Is Where The Hatred Is
02 – From A Whisper To A Scream
03 – To Lay Down Beside You
04 – That’s All Right With Me
05 – ‘Til My Back Ain’t Got No Bone
06 – Sweet Touch Of Love
07 – Baby, I’m For Real
08 – Your Love Is So Doggone Good
09 – Scarred Knees
Produced by Creed Taylor. Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Rudy Van Gelder.
Recorded in December 1971 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
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