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Tag: Esther Phillips

Esther Phillips – Capricorn Princess (CTI 50th Anniversary Special Collection) (1976/2017) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Esther Phillips – Capricorn Princess (CTI 50th Anniversary Special Collection) (1976/2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 32:46 minutes | 1,3 GB | Genre: R&B, Soul, Funk
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © CTI Records

After her worldwide hit with What A Diff’rence A Day Makes, Phillips’ Kudu albums would always include a couple of dance oriented cuts, but there are plenty of classic ballads here including spectacular takes on I Haven’t Got Anything Better To Do, Candy and Dream.

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Esther Phillips – From A Whisper To A Scream (1972/2013) [Official Digital Download DSF DSD64/2,82MHz + FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz]

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.

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Esther Phillips – At Onkel Po´s Carnegie Hall, Hamburg 1978 (Remastered) (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Esther Phillips – At Onkel Pö´s Carnegie Hall, Hamburg 1978 (Remastered) (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:25:25 minutes | 958 MB | Genre: Blues
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Jazzline

Jazz/pop vocalist Esther Phillips is joined here by Henry Cain, Wes Blackman, Bill Upchurch, and James Levi for a set that includes ‘Stormy Weather” and “What A Difference A Day Makes”.

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Esther Phillips with Joe Beck – For All We Know (1976/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Esther Phillips with Joe Beck – For All We Know (1976/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 34:22 minutes | 1,26 GB | Genre: R&B, Blues, Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: e-Onkyo | Front Cover | © CTI Records
Recorded: October 17, November 14 & December 08, 1975 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

This 1976 Kudu date under Esther Phillips’ name is notable for two major reasons, and both of them are Joe Beck. While Creed Taylor produced the date, all of the sets arrangements were done by Beck, who wove an entire band’s sound around the smoking, soulful grooves of his guitar. His playing is the other reason this set is so memorable: Beck is at his most inspired and fluidly funky; he is present everywhere in the mix but nonetheless crafts the strengths of the ensemble around Phillips’ unusual voice. Other players include the Brecker Brothers, Don Grolnick, Fred Wesley, Will Lee, Bobby Lyle, Steve Khan, and many others. The band winds around Phillips, setting her up as “Soul Sister Number One,” hitting the funky grooves and elongating her clipped trademark delivery. Highlights include the title track — one of the greatest disco tunes never played in a disco — her up-tempo rave-up of “Unforgettable,” with killer breaks by Beck and Michael Brecker, the dirtiest, funkiest version ever of Jackie DeShannon’s “Pure Natural Love,” and a Latin-tinged read of “Goin’ Out of My Head.”

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Esther Phillips – From A Whisper To A Scream (1971/2013) [Official Digital Download DSF DSD64/2.82MHz]

Esther Phillips – From A Whisper To A Scream (1971/2013)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz | Time – 38:02 minutes | 1,5 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: e-Onkyo | Front Cover | © CTI Records
Recorded: December, 1971 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

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.

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Esther Phillips with Joe Beck – What A Diff’rence A Day Makes (1975/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Esther Phillips with Joe Beck – What A Diff’rence A Day Makes (1975/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 35:55 minutes | 1,3 GB | Genre: R&B, Blues, Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: e-Onkyo | Front Cover | © CTI Records
Recorded: April 1975 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Reading the credits of What a Diff’rence a Day Makes, one could easily assume that it is a jazz album. This 1975 LP was produced by Creed Taylor and arranged by guitarist Joe Beck; the other participants range from Michael Brecker on tenor sax, David Sanborn on alto sax, and Randy Brecker on trumpet to Steve Khan on guitar and Don Grolnick on keyboards. With that lineup, Esther Phillips could have easily delivered a first-class jazz album. But What a Diff’rence a Day Makes doesn’t contain any jazz — not even jazz-funk or soul-jazz. It is, however, an excellent soul/disco outing. This LP is best known for its hit title song, an inspired disco version of a standard that has usually been heard in jazz and pre-rock pop settings. But the song works surprisingly well as disco, and the other tracks are equally impressive. Phillips is as soulful and convincing on the bluesy “I Can Stand a Little Rain” as she is on Gamble & Huff’s “One Night Affair” (a Philadelphia soul classic that was recorded by Jerry Butler in 1972 and the O’Jays in 1969) and Ralph MacDonald’s “Mister Magic.”The latter is the gem that Grover Washington, Jr. is best remembered for; while his famous version was instrumental jazz-funk, Phillips’ is vocal-oriented soul. It should be noted that most of the jazz musicians who back Phillips on What a Diff’rence a Day Makes are not jazz snobs. The Brecker Brothers and Sanborn, for example, have done their share of R&B sessions, and they would probably be the first to tell you that this LP needs to be judged by R&B standards instead of jazz standards. And when R&B standards are applied, it is easy to conclude that What a Diff’rence a Day Makes is among Phillips’ finest releases.

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Esther Phillips – Burnin ‘: Live At Freddie Jett’s Pied Piper Club, LA (1970/2011) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Esther Phillips – Burnin ‘- Live At Freddie Jett’s Pied Piper Club, LA (1970/2011)

FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 35:15 minutes | 1,2 GB | Genre:  Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover | Label:  Rhino Atlantic

This exquisite live recording by the versatile Esther Phillips is infused with touches of R&B, jazz and soul. The vocal powerhouse showcases her unmatched interpretive skills during her performance recorded at Freddie Jett’s Pied Piper. The heart-wrenching set features a stellar line-up of pianist Jack Wilson, organist Richard Tee, guitarist Cornell Dupree and bassist Chuck Rainey. Included in the set was Phillips’ hit single “Release Me,” which topped the Billboard’s R&B singles chart. The recording remains one of Esther Phillips’ finest performances ever captured as a hi-res download.

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