Quincy Jones – Mellow Madness (1975)

Quincy Delightt Jones, Jr. (born March 14, 1933), also known as “Q“, is an American record producer, conductor, arranger, composer, musician, television producer, film producer, instrumentalist, magazine founder, entertainment company executive, and humanitarian. His career spans six decades in the entertainment industry.

Mellowquincy

Mellow Madness is a 1975 studio album by Quincy Jones. The album also featured an early appearance by The Brothers Johnson. Released not long after Quincy Jones was operated upon for life-threatening brain aneurysms, the music community was glad to have this album around (you can almost sense Q’s own relief as he holds his forehead on the cover).

This represented his return to the music he loved after a retreat from his intense workload of the past decade. And he had much to be excited about. A promising new bass/guitar duo from Billy Preston’s band,then teenagers Louis and George Johnson,were now under Quincy’s employ along with his usual staple of musicians-one of whom was former Rufus lead singer Paulette McWilliams.. Not to mention the presence of Leon Ware from his previous release. The funk era was in full swing and Quincy was again off and running.

“Is It Love That We’re Missin” starts off the album with a thick rhythm guitar based,melodic pop/funk groove featuring the tight vocal harmonies of the Johnson’s. “Paranoid” is a slow,swampy bass synthesizer led funk stomp sung by Leon Ware. “The title song is a rather spare,slinky funky jazz-pop fusion number with Paulette’s vocal harmonies taking center stage. The Afro-Latin percussion led hard funk of “Beautiful Black Girl” is a marvelous,conscious movement with George Johnson rapping proudly of his emotional and physical desires and admiration for black women. The swampy funk continues with “Listen (What It Is) and the wah wah heavy “Just A Little Taste Of Me”-both heavily showcasing George Johnson’s lead vocals.

“My Cherie Amour” takes on a salsa friendly Brazilian funk outlook on the Stevie Wonder classic while “Tryin’ To Find Out About You” is a tight bass/guitar number with a strong emphasis on the spaciousness of the funky drummer Harvey Mason! “Cry Baby” is a sneaky,pumping slow funk groove that really lets guest Melvin Wah Wah Ragin have his workout while “Bluesette” ends the album with the Johnson’s and Toots Theilmans doing a swinging,funk/fusion bossa together. In my opinion? This is Quincy Jones’ finest album of the funk era. When the funk is peculating? It is almost so funky you can’t take it. The sort of groove that gets right down deep into your jugular. His love of Brazilian music comes through strongly here as well-with many sunny and percussive atmospherics on the songs with some actual mellowness. For the most part though? This album is unashamed, stomping, proud and meaningful funk that never takes it’s sight off the new heavy groove

Tracklist

  1. “Is It Love That We’re Missing?” (George Johnson, Debbie Smith)
  2. “Paranoid”
  3. “Mellow Madness” (Tom Bahler, Al Ciner, Quincy Jones, Paulette McWilliams)
  4. “Beautiful Black Girl” (Jones, Otis Smith)
  5. “Listen (What It Is)” (Jones)
  6. “Just a Little Taste of Me”
  7. My Cherie Amour” (Henry Cosby, Sylvia Moy, Stevie Wonder)
  8. “Tryin’ to Find Out About You”
  9. “Cry Baby”
  10. “Bluesette” (Norman Gimbel, Toots Thielemans)

Companies, etc.

Personnel

Notes

Released:  August 1975
Recorded at:  The Record Plant, Los Angeles, Westlake Audio, Los Angeles
Mastered at:  Kendun Recorders, Burbank, California
Genre:  Funk / Soul
Style:  Jazz-Funk
Length:  42:48

Label – A&M Records

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