Earth, Wind & Fire was the brainchild of musical Renaissance man Maurice White, a successful ex-session drummer who recorded with everyone from Chuck Berry to John Coltrane. Essentially an R&B group, Earth, Wind & Fire expanded its sound to include elements of jazz, rock, funk, traditional African, Latin, and just about every other kind of music. The band was noted for its elaborate stage shows and quasi-mystical thematic influence, but avoided slipping into George Clinton-like self-parody by wisely choosing to emphasize its musicianship and sharp writing. It scored hit after hit throughout the 1970s, doing much to define the sound of that decade.
Japanese Blu-Spec CD pressing of this classic album. The Blue Spec format takes Blu-ray disc technology to create CD''s which are compatible with normal CD players but provides ultra high quality sound. Sony. 2009.
While their name conveniently conjures slabs of fashionable late-'70s New Agey mysticism and eco-consciousness, EWF founder Maurice White couldn't have picked a more metaphorically perfect moniker for his mighty, genre-expanding soul ensemble. The 34 tracks on this double-disc anthology underscore White's downright utopian vision, which shrewdly stewed the emotionally compelling lead vocals and sweet harmonies of Motown with the earthy funk of Sly and the Family Stone and some slick contemporary jazz, then seasoned it with tasty dollops of Tower of Power horns and Maurice's (and brother Verdine's) curiosity in Afro-Cuban rhythms. Small wonder they became arena superstars. There is something to please nearly everyone in the EWF oeuvre: from upbeat, infectious groove-staples like "Shining Star," Mighty Mighty," and "September" through the transglobal "Kalimba Story" and "Ponta de Areia" to the gospelized "Open Your Eyes," their pop-savvy cover of Lennon-McCartney's "Got to Get You into My Life," and the dancefloor-ready collaboration with the Emotions, "Boogie Wonderland." Essential features new liner notes with commentary by Maurice White. --Jerry McCulley
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