In a watershed moment, Ralph Johnson, vocalist-percussionist from Earth, Wind & Fire was inspired to break away from the sound he and the group originated with the dynamic band during the late 70s and early 80s to forge his own musical identity. Ready to take his place as the talented musician, writer, and singer he is, Johnson set about creating an album with talents from around the world and created the group Audio Caviar.
Still embracing the profound horns of Earth, Wind & Fire and including contributions from EWF members Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Al McKay, Johnson added tremendous layers of sound and feeling by bringing in masters George Duke and producer Marcel East (Fourplay, David Benoit, Bob James). As if this was not enough to hook the listener, Johnson added Jonathan Butler, Howard Hewett, Dori Caymmi, Paulinho De Costa.
Opening with the spectacular "Transoceanic Prayer," the song has the dynamic of ocean waves lapping the shore while gentle background voices offer texture and the sound of birds creating a worldly atmosphere. This is simply a prelude to the magic conjured up by some of the top musicians and artists in the industry." Hookline" features a nice percussion to the audacious keyboards of Marcel East.
Written by Morris Pleasure, "Now That I’ve Found You" is a somber, heartfelt tune giving space to Paulinho Da Costa on percussion to define the mood, sharing ambiance with Pleasure, who offers expansive piano rolls in perfect harmony, keeping the listening in the groove. Another thoughtful piece, "Jodie," written by Jonathan Butler and arranged by Morris Pleasure, has a warm, rolling feel.
In addition to keyboards, East adds percussion to " 5th House". Ray Brown graces this tune on trumpet and flugelhorn while Reggie Young adds depth on trombone. A Latin feel, "5th House" is heavy on percussion provided by David Romero, taking this song in several directions. Much texture and layering keep the mystery strong each note delivered with anticipation of what is next.
A brief interlude, "Serengeti Sunset" opens with a melodic string melded with the muted trumpet of Ray Brown almost a midnight tune leading to another brief piece, "Eventually Live," written by East and Johnson, sharing some hot drum work a teaser for those waiting for more of Johnson’s handiwork.
Gary Bias shows his ability on sax on "All Blues," a Miles Davis hit. Unafraid, Bias takes his sax into deep territory. Introducing a new blend of musicians on "Tel Aviv," a worldly attitude pierces the hot vibes, showcasing David Weber on sax, Nikolaj Land on acoustic bass, Vana Glerig on Moog Solo, along with Romero on percussion and East doing what comes naturally on keyboards. Percussion driven, melodically delivered, "Tel Aviv" transcends boundaries.
Butler provides smooth vocals to "Legends Of Ratava" sounding much like an African chant. Another brief interlude, "Sofie’s Theme," arranged by Danish guitarist Steen Kyed from the group TAO, gives an airy opening on guitar until joined by orchestration by East, with added depth from smooth trumpet tones.
Duke provides a stealthy piano solo amidst vocals by Dori Caymmi on "The Island." Adding yet more talent to the album, "Welcome" introduces Vilhelm Thomsen on acoustic guitars, Per Vibskov on bass, along with Kyed on acoustic guitars and Gary Bias on sax for a streaming, lively tune.
Already receiving rave applause by audiences across the country, "Dominique," features lead and background vocals by Bailey, McKay on electric guitar and bass as only White can perform along with East on keyboards and percussion. This is the group, along with Maurice White, who gave music a completely new definition when they introduced Earth, Wind & Fire. Bailey’s vocals are so unique it makes one wonder if the songwriter did not have to create a new note just for him. Written by East and Johnson, this song typifies the greatness of these musical wizards who opened the airwaves to a sound that crossed all boundaries.
Howard Hewett joins the cast with lead and background vocals, along with Bailey, Pam Johnson and Ralph Johnson on "Love Comes In Time." A sensual, grabbing love song, "Love Comes In Time" takes the listener deep into that space within we’ve all been there waiting for the love of our life to show. It’s a slow groove backed by a commanding horn section.
Aptly placed, "Closing Prayer" allows the listener a chance to wind down from the sheer ecstasy of this album. Closing with the bonus track "Hookline," (vocal) offers one more chance to revisit the compelling sounds of the magnificent talent on this album. This song with Hewett, Pam Johnson & Ralph Johnson on background vocals and Daniel on lead vocals is infectious lasting long after the album is finished.
With 17 songs on this album there is something special for everyone. Johnson and his great group of stars have once again opened the music world to a new sound leading to an ever-fresh feeling by the masters. This is just the beginning as Johnson expands his music career and brings profound changes to listeners worldwide. Fans can hear and find out more at: www.themachineproductions.com