Spirit Speaksby Descendants of Mike & Phoebe (Vinyl Record)
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Descendants of Mike & Phoebe: Spirit Speaks (Vinyl LP)

Pure Pleasure

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One of the most unique albums on the Strata East label - and that's saying a heck of a lot, given the creative energies flowing through that legendary jazz outlet! Descendents Of Mike & Phoebe is a righteous little project put together by Spike Lee's father, Bill Lee, and his brothers and sisters (Cliff Lee, Grace Lee Mims, and Consuela Lee Moorhead) - working here in a group named after their slave ancestors, who are paid tribute in a beautifully flowing batch of tunes! Lee's round, warm bass tones are firmly at the head of the group on most numbers - recorded at a similar level to his excellent work with Clifford Jordan on Strata East during the same time - and other instrumentation includes piano from Consuela, flugelhorn from Cliff, and percussion from Sonny Brown and Billy Higgins - all used in a wonderfully evocative style that's even better than some of Lee's later soundtrack work. A few numbers feature vocals from Grace - singing wordlessly and with a really heavenly sort of quality - and together, the whole group have an undeniable sense of power and majesty, yet also one that's touched by a really personal sense of poetry too. Titles include a great version of Lee's Coltrane, which was more famously recorded with Clifford Jordan. Two Songs for a Boy Named Mark, Little Bitty Baby, Soliloquy to a Man-Child, Coltrane, Chick Chick, Well Done Weldon, A Spirit Speaks, Attica, Take My Hand Precious Lord, Boll Weevil, Don't Be a Stranger, Too Little Too Late