If you’re a funk and soul fan, this musical selection by keyboardist and guitarist James Mason will certainly interest you. It was recorded over thirty years ago and chances are, at the time it probably got by you as it did me. The track was pretty obscure to begin with and it very quickly went out-of-print soon after it was released. However, in the intervening years it has attained near-mythical status among devotees of this genre of music. If you can find the album in vinyl on which it appears, it reportedly commands a price of over $100.
James Mason was originally a member of Roy Ayers’ influential band. In fact, it’s James Mason playing keys on Ayers’ classic “Running Away” track.
In 1977 Mason recorded his debut solo album, Rhythm of Life, for the tiny New York independent label Chiaroscuro. As I said before, it went out-of-print in an extremely short time, and Mason never recorded another album, pretty much disappearing from sight. However, by the 1990s Rhythm of Life had attained near-Holy Grail status, partly because of its rarity and partly because its music was even more rooted in funk than Ayers’ music was. Finally, in 1999, England’s Soul Brother Records acquired the rights to the master tapes and reissued Rhythm of Life on CD, allowing the album to claim its rightful status as a lost classic.
65° and Clear