Friday, April 3, 2015

"Space Is The Place" by Pleasure

R&B/Funk/jazz band Pleasure are widely known for their bass-driven funk classic “Glide.” The track is beloved by funk fans and bass players alike.  However, the Portland, Oregon-bred band recorded a number of other stellar tracks that barely get any play these days. “Glide” kind of overshadows the rest of the band’s oeuvre; and that’s a shame, because soul/funk gems like “Space Is the Place Place” often get overlooked. 

Not to be confused with avant garde jazz innovator Sun Ra’s composition of the same title, Pleasure’s “Space Is the Place” is an infectiously funky groove. The track is brimming with funk and soul. And the musicianship is impeccable. Nathaniel Phillips’ bass work is smooth, fluid and very funky.  And guitarist Douglas Lewis serves up some fretboard funkiness, including a smoldering solo. The cool vocal arrangement has some early Earth, Wind & Fire flavor, with lead singer Sherman Davis delivering a strong, soulful vocal performance. Additionally, the late, great Bruce Carter is working his rhythmic magic on the drums.

The song has a positive message about finding inner peace through mentally transporting yourself from the negativity in the world and discovering a new space: “In search of an outer groove/You don’t have to move /You’ll find a place.”

“Space Is The Place” is a track from Pleasure’s fifth album Future Now, which was released in 1979. The song was penned by Nathaniel Phillips and percussionist Bruce Smith. The album also contains the band’s biggest hit “Glide.” There are also several other strong cuts on this impressive collection.

The lineup for Pleasure when they recorded Future Now was the following: Nathaniel Phillips (bass, vocals); Bruce Carter (drums); Donald Hepburn (keyboards, vocals); Marlon “The Magician” McClain (guitar, backing vocals); Bruce Smith (percussion, backing vocals); Dennis Springer (tenor saxophone); Sherman Davis (lead vocals, backing vocals); Michael Hepburn (keyboards, vocals); and Tony Collins (trumpet, flugelhorn). And guitarist Douglas Lewis, who played on "Space Is The Place" and "Universal," would officially become a band member on Pleasure's next album Special Things (1980).

Space Is the Place at Amazon

Related Blog entry: "Glide" by Pleasure

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