Friday, April 24, 2015

Turn This Mutha Out by Idris Muhammad

The late, great jazz drummer/composer Idris Muhammad had clubs, parties and discos jumpin’ with this bodacious dance-funk track back in the day. This cut hits you right in the bump zone and will have you breaking for the dance floor in record time. Wilbur Bascomb’s percolating bass line drives this kinetic groove, while Muhammad keeps things funky with his tight drumming. And there is no shortage of cowbell on this irresistible cut. Additionally, the track features a scorching solo from late guitarist Hiram Bullock. And the soulful vocals are provided by Frank Floyd, Kenny Williams and Zachary Sanders.

The song is the title track off Muhammad’s fifth studio album, which was released on Kudu Records in 1977. The collection was produced and arranged by David Matthews. The producer co-wrote “Turn This Mutha Out” with Tony Sarafino. The song climbed to #21 on the U.S. Billboard R&B singles chart. The elegantly smooth dance track “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” is another single from the album that charted, peaking at #68 on the U.S. Billboard R&B singles chart and #76 on the Billboard Hot 100. And it shot to #2 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Idris Muhammad was born Leo Morris on November 13, 1939 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He began playing drums at the age eight and was performing with jazz bands by the time he was 16. The talented musician is recognized as one of the most innovative drummers in soul music and had worked with legendary music acts such as Sam Cooke, Jerry Butler, Sonny Stitt, Roberta Flack, George Benson, John Scofield, Grover Washington, Jr. and Curtis Mayfield.  And he played on Fats Domino’s Rock ‘n’ Roll classic “Blueberry Hill” when he was just 16. Muhammad also worked extensively with jazz greats Lou Donaldson, Ahmad Jamal and Pharoah Sanders. Also, he was the house drummer at Prestige Records from 1970 through '72. 

The famed drummer/composer was quite an eclectic artist. He took on a number of different styles during his long, distinguished musical career, including jazz, funk, R&B, soul, fusion, post-bop, soul-jazz, bebop, dance and jazz-funk. And he played on some of the best soul-jazz tracks ever recorded. In the 1960s, the musician changed his name to Idris Muhammad after converting to Islam. And in the ‘70s, he released a string of stellar albums that are now prized among funk, soul-jazz and R&B fans.

Muhammad’s music was introduced to a new generation via hip hop. A slew of celebrated hip-hop artists have sampled his music for their tracks, including Nas, Eminem, Drake, 2Pac, the Notorious B.I.G. and the Beastie Boys.

The legendary drummer died at the age of 74 on July 29, 2014, leaving behind a wealth of great music and performances. He’s remembered as one of the greatest soul-jazz drummers of all time.

Turn This Mutha Out (album) at Amazon

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