Wendell Harrison – Dreams Of A Love Supreme – Wenha/Jazz Tribe Records (1980)/Pure Pleasure Records (2022) 180-gram stereo vinyl, 32:28 ****1/2:
(Wendell Harrison – soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone flute; Phil Ranelin – trombone; Vincent Bowen – tenor saxophone; Herbie William – trumpet; Racey Briggs – trumpet; Chartles Hawkins – guitar; Jerome H. Clark – guitar; Joe Byrd – guitar; Craig Tyner – bass; Jervonny Collier – bass; Kenny Lee – bass; Andrew Gibson – keyboards; Pamela Wise – keyboards; Lopez Leon – keyboards; Harold McKinney – keyboards; Anthony Robertson – drums; George Davidson – drums; Joe Tandy – drums; Roy Brooks – percussion; Fred Scott – percussion; Billy Turner – percussion; Miche Braden – vocals; Oliver “Butch” Cheatum – vocals)
Pure Pleasure Records has released a 180-gram re-mastered vinyl of Wendell Harrison’s Dreams Of a Love Supreme. There is an overall jubilant feel to this soulful jazz album. Side A opens with the smooth, atmospheric r & b vibe on “Take Time Out”. There are heartfelt vocals, steady percussion and Harrison’s lithe soprano saxophone. It is concise and the arrangement reflects a layered approach with little improvisation. “Sea Minor Blues” is also evocative. With a mellow swaying resonance, Harrison takes the lead on flute. The lyrical finesse is palpable. There is a nimble, crisp guitar with just the slightest distortion, and the fade ending is graceful. With jazzier flair, “Pink Snowballs And Violet Sky” begins with a free-form airy intro, before the ensemble comes in. Electric piano, synthesizers and a thumping bass seem to invoke a Latin-infused jam. There are “spacey’ accents, a bright lead soprano and some compelling chord changes. With a confident funk-based groove, “Belle Isle” is pure, fluid soul-jazz with muscular tenor saxophone, aspirational vocals and repeat vamp.
In what feels like a more traditional jazz piece, “Where Am I?” Is very textured. Tenor saxophone and trumpet are framed by electric piano and a percolating rhythm section, with syncopation. Phil Ranelin shines on his trombone solo. With nimble execution, he and Harrison play in counterpoint. In a change of pace, the title track is more free-form with soprano sax, ethereal vocals, including a throwback chant. It resonates with spirituality and is more improvisational. There is an interesting tempo uptick at the end. Getting back on the funk train, “Tryin’ To Make A Living” is quintessential house party with slap bass and saucy tenor. “Rocket Love” develops a slow repeat pulse with a contemporary sound. Synthesizers and late 70’s/ early 80’s lyrical content give this a modern aesthetic. In a head-boppin’ finale, “Patrina’s Dance’ is infectious, with tight rhythm. This near-fusion translation is centered around a synthesizer lead (with a great solo) and punctuated guitar riffs.
Pure Pleasure Records has done an excellent job in updating Dreams Of A Love Supreme to 180-gram vinyl. The re-mastered sound by Cicely Baston (Alchemy/Air Mastering) is vibrant, with good separation. There is balanced tonality in the instruments.
Side A: Take Time Out; Sea Minor Blues; Pink Snowballs And Violet Skies; Belle Isle
Side B: Where Am I?; Dreams Of A Love Supreme; No Turnin’ Back; Rocket Love; Patrina’s Dance