Les McCann
Kozmigroov Albums
Invitation To Openness [Atlantic, 1972]
Talk To The People [Atlantic, 1972]
Live At Montreux [Atlantic, 1973]
Layers [Atlantic, 1973]
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The sidelong opener on Invitation To Openness, "The Lovers", is 26 minutes of tight 'n' tense funky rhythm (think of Tony Williams' restrained beats on "It's About That Time") with Al Mouzon, Ralph McDonald and Pretty Purdie adding muscle to McCann's percussive roots of Buck Clarke and Donald Dean. The remaining lineup has two electric keyboardists, two guitarists, two bassists, Yusef on flute and reeds and Corky Hale on harp.  This is spacey collective improv extrapolated from Miles' early electric masterpieces but less abstract, owing to Les McCann's deep-seated soul influence.  The other two cuts may be more earthbound, but both still possess some really seductive moments. Layers is another all-instrumental album, similar in flavour to Invitation To Openness, but here the majority of the sidemen are replaced (tho three percussionists are still in the house), and Les gets real busy on ARP synthesizer.  Best known-- and priced accordingly-- for the breakbeat cut, "Harlem Buck Dance Strut", this is an album of two suites which flow from introspective keyboards to deep funky grooves.  Occasionally it's a little too smooth and as a result isn't as mighty as Invitation..., but it's still a good buy for those wishing further travels along similar planes.  Reissued on CD by Rhino. [DW]

Invitation To Openness is magic - kind of like a sequel to Miles Davis's In A Silent Way album. Layers is a beautiful chillout album with lots of analog synth layers, percussion, free improvisation that comes out organised - a very essential album
[David Parry]

Layers is a really amazing textural adventure! Space is the place!
[Ellis Read]