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6 Sep 2016

Newban ‎”Newban 2″ US 1977 Jazz Funk

Newban ‎”Newban 2″ US  1977 Jazz Funk
Absolutely ridiculously hard to find ORIGINAL of this second album by the group Newban on the legendary and desirable tax scam label Guinness Records. 

Creators of two extremely rare funk/rare groove LPs, not much was initially known about Newban, but it is now acknowledged that the group was an early incarnation of Atlantic Starr. The members included future Starr members Sharon Bryant, Jonathan Lewis, Porter Carroll and Joseph Phillips alongside Mark Slifstein, Keith Johnson, Albert Jones and Gregory Press. Newban was produced by mentor Malcolm Addey, and they recorded their two albums for the tiny Guinness label. Both were released in 1977, and the first Atlantic Starr album came out in 1978, leading one to speculate they recorded these albums quickly to get out of their obligations and rush over to A&M. 

For their final release, Newban serves up more of the tight groove established on their debut. If there is a difference between the two, it is a more pronounced jazz sensibility. Songs like “If I Could” and “Rhythm and Rhyme” feature some lyrical woodwind and horn playing, sort of like a smoother James Mason. 

This lot were an earlier incarnation of Atlantic Star, but don’t be too harsh, this is one of the most amazing jazzy soul albums I own. It contains tracks “If I Could (Make You Mine)” & “Greenburgh” which have beautiful vocal performances. Plus “Fine Woman” which is 6 a minute glorious flute groove. 

Problem is this album is ultra, ultra rare, and there are no plans to reissue it. If you’re into soul, jazz and groove and you ever see this album, buy it. It’ll cost you a few bob, but you won’t be disappointed. 

Update. Newban’s first album was recently reissued, so there is hope that the same kind people may reissue Newban 2. This album is the far superior of the two Newban albums, and really should be available for all to hear……. 

After deciding to form a new band, sometimes one of the most difficult decisions its members make is choosing a name. After all, it has to be something original and catchy. For Albert “Duke” Jones Jr, and Peter Carroll Jr, they had what can only be best describes as one of those “eureka” moments. What better name for a new band was Newban, after all it described perfectly what they were, a “a new band.” Newban were founded by Albert “Duke” Jones Jr, and Peter Carroll Jr, while still high students in Greenburgh, New York and went on to release two albums, Newban and Newban 2. Sadly, by the time Newban and Newban 2 were released which were released by Guinness Records in 1977 Newban was no more. By then, most of Newban left the group and formed a new group Atlantic Starr, who released a string of commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums during the eighties. Since then, Newban and Newban 2 have been unavailable on CD. Thankfully, that will soon change, when on 19th October 2012, BBE Music will release Newban and Newban 2, plus previously unreleased tracks. This includes four remixes of Thunder The Sky by legendary DJ and remixer John Morales. Before I tell you about the music on Newban and Newban 2, I’ll tell you about Newban and how Albert “Duke” Jones Jr, found himself with two albums to release and no band. 

Albert “Duke” Jones Jr, and Peter Carroll Jr were still high school students in Greenburgh, New York when they decided to form their own band Newban. They were joined by some of their high school classmates including Clifford Archer, Sharon Bryant, Keith Johnson, Jonathan Lewis, Mark Malksy, Mark Silfstein, Sheldon Tucker and Joey Phillips, flautist and percussionist. With Newban’s lineup established, they started writing their own songs as a group. Newban were influenced by groups who fused musical genres, including Sly and The Family Stone, The Chambers Brothers and Ballin’ Jack Santana Santana and The Flock. Quickly, Newban established a reputation as one of the hottest live acts, relentlessly touring the New York-Connecticut-New Jersey tristate area, playing a fusion of funk and R&B at venues that included Filmore East and Electric Circus. 

The next logical step was recording an album, or in Newban’s case, two albums. Duke Jones was friendly with John Shearer, a photographer for Life magazine. John’s neighbor just happened to be the legendary sound-engineer Malcolm Addey. With Malcolm liking Newban’s music, Newban spent two months recording at the famous Bell Sound Recording Studios. These sessions yielded not one, but two albums, Newban and Newban 2. Sadly, before the two Newban albums were released by Guinness Records in 1977 Newban were no more, but a legendary band had been born and Duke wasn’t part of it. 

Newban had been invited to perform at Atlantic Records’ twentieth anniversary party for The Spinners. So, Newban having just recorded two albums headed to Los Angeles, their destination the Beverley Hills Hotel. What should’ve been an opportunity for Newban to showcase their combined talents resulted in one of the cofounders ultimately left without a group. Peter Carroll Jr, and most of the band were offered a deal with A&M Records and Atlantic Starr were born. This meant not only was Albert “Duke” Jones not a member of the new band Atlantic Starr, but had two unreleased albums and no band. 

With the newly formed Atlantic Starr staying in Los Angeles to work on the club circuit, Albert “Duke” Jones headed back to New York. He was heading back to manage Newban, a band that had lost most of its members. However what he had was two albums, Newban and Newban 2. Malcolm Addey started shopping the two Newban albums. Eventually, Malcolm discovered Guinness Records who agreed to release Newban and Newban 2 in 1977. Unfortunately for Malcolm Addey and Albert “Duke” Jones, Newban’s luck wasn’t about going to change. 

Guinness Records released Newban and Newban 2 in 1977, but despite the quality of music and both albums becoming popular in clubs, the albums weren’t a commercial success. However, Albert “Duke” Jones believes that Newban got something of a raw deal. Back in the seventies, many record labels Albert says “intentionally undersold and under-promoted albums for tax write-offs to keep parent imprints in the black.” Essentially, this meant that the record companies established a paper loss, which could be set-against the profits made by other companies within a group of companies. It seemed that Newban’s luck wasn’t going to change. Newban was all but over, so Albert continued his musical career, but still, at the back of his mind, he still thought about Newban and what might have been. 

After Newban, Albert continued to work as a musician. He regularly worked with Norman Connors, Pharoah Sanders, Kid Creole and The Coconuts and many others. Albert also continued to record and tour with Atlantic Starr. However, always at the back of his mind was Newban, the group he still believed in. So recently, Albert called Malcolm Addey, who thirty-five years later, still believed in Newban. The master-tapes for Newban and Newban were still stored in Malcolm’s house in Riverside Drive, Manhattan. They were just as good as the day they were recorded. 

Like a true gentleman, Malcolm agreed to release the master-tapes for only a nominal charge. That’s where BBE Music come in. Thirty-five years after the original release of Newban and Newban 2, BBE Music have lovingly compiled this compilation of Newban’s two albums, plus previously unreleased bonus tracks. Hopefully, thirty-five years on, Newban and Newban 2 will find a much wider audience, an audience that will appreciate this innovative fusion of musical genres. For anyone yet to discover Newban’s music, I’ll tell you about some of the many highlights of Newban and Newban 2. 

Opening Newban is Father Time which introduces Newban at their funkiest. Just the drums and Hammond organ give way to Newban’s rhythm and horn section in full flight. It’s a hugely impressive sound, with the rhythm section driving the arrangement along at breakneck speed while stabs of blazing horns, wah-wah guitars, percussion and keyboards combine funk and jazz seamlessly. Later, keyboards and percussion play a bigger part, but still the twin powerhouses of the rhythm and horn sections are at the heart of the action. Each play their part in this dramatic, funk-fueled track that gets Newban off to a glorious start. Considering Newban were a relatively new band, this makes this even more remarkable. 

Central Park sees a quite different side of Newban’s music. It’s a piano lead track where dramatic bursts of horns give way to an impassioned vocal from Sharon Bryant. Her vocal is a mixture of power and raw emotion, as keyboards and growling horns provide a dramatic backdrop for her vocal. As her vocal drops out, an equally heartfelt male lead vocal takes over. Still, the backdrop is a combination of power and drama. Then it’s all change, when Newban embark on a jazzy romp as the horns, keyboards and rhythm section show their considerable talents and versatility.When the vocals rejoins, the emotion, drama and beauty increases as one of the most beautiful and emotive tracks on Newban reveals the rest of jazzy secrets. 

Not only is Fatback Sally one of the funkiest tracks on Newban, but it’s also one of the most joyous and catchy. Truly, this is a slice of good time funk. With Newban’s rhythm section providing the arrangement’s funk-laden heartbeat, a punchy, joyful vocal is accompanied by handclaps, bursts of braying horn and chiming guitars. Later, as the tempo drops slightly, the track briefly reveals its soulful side. This gives you a brief glimpse of a very different side to Newban’s music. Mostly, it’s just an irresistibly catchy, slab of good-time funky music, that for far too long, thirty-five years to be precise has remained a well-kept secret. 

Closing Newban is Home With You, which sees real change in direction. It’s a a mellow, wistful and very beautiful fusion of jazz and soul. Just an understated combination of guitars and rhythm section accompany a heartfelt vocal. Soon, one of the most beautiful songs Newban recorded unfolds. The subtle arrangement quite rightly allows the vocal to take centre-stage. This means you focus on some of the best lyrics on Newban. Later, when the vocal drops out, a stunning jazzy guitar solo takes over, before a rasping horn adds to the emotion and beauty of the track. As if things can’t get any better, the vocal returns, to bring this gorgeous track and indeed Newban to a close. 

Whereas most bands record one album at a time, Newban recorded two at once. Interestingly, Newban 2 is quite different to Newban. Still Newban are the same tight, talented band, but the music heads more in the direction of jazz. Greenburgh, which opens Newban 2 is a fusion of funk, soul and jazz. It’s a flute lead track, with the rhythm section and percussion combining before the vocal enters. The vocal is delivered in a style that’s a mixture of soul and jazz, reminiscent of Gil Scott Heron, Andy Bey, Jon Lucien and Terry Callier. Bursts of blazing horns punctuate the arrangement, while the rhythm section, guitars and percussion provide the track’s funky heartbeat. Although very different from much of Newban, this delicious fusion of funk, soul and jazz, showed Newban’s music changing and even though it was recorded at the same time as Newban, maturing. 

Rhythm and Rhyme is another track that shows how Newban’s music was changing. It has a real laid back, melancholy sound and is something of a slow-burner. Just a gentle backdrop of the rhythm section and guitars accompany the tender, heartfelt vocal. This is a beautiful combination, one that gets even better when the braying horns enter. As an impassioned trumpet solo is unleashed, you just melt into the song’s, jazz-tinged beauty. Soon the arrangement heads further in the direction of jazz as Newban’s horn and rhythm section take centre-stage. Together they play their part what’s quite simply, one of the most beautiful, jazzy tracks on Newban. 

If I Could (Make You Mine) is another track on Newban 2 where there are similarities with Jon Lucien’s music. This is even more noticeable here. Sometimes, there are even similarities with Andy Bey. Stabs of punchy horns combine with a pulsating, funky beat supplied by the rhythm section as a warm, emotive and soulful vocal enters. That’s where the similarity with Jon Lucien is most noticeable. Thereafter, funk and jazz melt together, with Newban’s horn and rhythm section uniting. To that they add Latin percussion and later, searing, rocky guitars. When all this is combined with that impassioned, soulful vocal the result is an uplifting, joyous fusion of musical genres, as only Newban can. 

Free Your Mind which closes Newban 2 is a spiritual jazz track that could only have been recorded in the seventies. It has that unmistakable sound. There are further similarities with the music of Jon Lucien, Andy Bey and even Gil Scott Heron. When the guitar accompanies the tender, impassioned vocal you realise that something very special is about unfold. Soon, percussion and the rhythm section join as the arrangement begins to reveal its secrets and beauty. Later, Newban’s horn section add blazing horns that could only belong on a seventies jazz album. They drift in and out, adding drama while percussion and guitars add subtle contrasts, and the rest of Newban chant “Free Your Mind.” By then the arrangement is laid-back and mellow, reminiscent of something from the late sixties. Then stabs of growling horns bring the Newban to a dramatic and compelling conclusion, with one of its many highlights. 

Earlier, I said I’d tell you about some of the highlights of Newban and Newban 2. That was easier said than done. With two albums as good as this, choosing just eight tracks wasn’t easy. In truth I could just as easily have mentioned any of the tracks. That’s how good the music is and how consistently high the standard and quality of music on Newban and Newban are. Interestingly, even though Newban and Newban 2 were recorded at the same time, they’re very different albums. Newban features a funkier style of music, while Newban 2 sees Newban’s music mature, and gravitate towards jazz. Granted this jazz influence is apparent on Newban, but becomes more apparent on Newban 2. Whether its Newban playing funk or jazz the quality of music is always high. Several times I’ve compared the vocals on Newban 2 to Jon Lucien, Andy Bey and Gil Scott Heron. Ironically, much like Newban, they never enjoyed the success that their talent deserved. However, I’m sure that if like Newban, and Lady Luck or fate hadn’t transpired against them, each of these artists would’ve enjoyed the success their talent warranted. So it’s no wonder that during the past thirty-five years Albert “Duke” Jones Jr, has thought long and hard about what might have been with Newban. Having recorded two albums as good as Newban and Newban 2 he must wish he could turn back the clock. Maybe things would’ve been very different if another record company had signed Newban, especially one who believed in Newban and their music. With the necessary promotion behind Newban and Newban 2, maybe it wouldn’t have been Atlantic Starr releasing the gold and platinum albums. Indeed, if Newban had a recording contract before that night in Los Angeles when Albert lost most of his band, how different things could’ve been. After all, Newban had recorded two albums and with the right label and promotion behind them, could’ve gone on to be a huge success. Sadly that wasn’t to be. Lady Luck and fate transpired against Albert and Newban and Newban 2 had the misfortune to be released by the wrong label. However, now somewhat belatedly Newban have found the right label for their music. 

Thankfully, thirty-five years later, Albert “Duke” Jones Jr and Newban have a label that believes in their music and desperately wants it to find a much wider audience. This is BBE Music, who on 29th October 2012, will release this lovingly compiled compilation which features both Newban and Newban 2 on the one disc, complete with bonus tracks. At long last, this will give everyone another chance to discover the twin delights of Newban and Newban 2. I for one hope that thirty-five years after their release, Newban and Newban 2 do reach a wider audience, and that at long last, Newban receive the credit and critical acclaim that their unique fusion of funk, R&B and soul so richly deserves. Standout Tracks: Central Park, Home With You, Rhythm and Rhyme and If I Could (Make You Mine)… Derekmusicblog…. 

Newban/Newban 2 is the double album made up of the first two records from this Funk/soul/jazz band, originally released in 1977, now back to remind us that while rock and roll might have had its roots in the blues, funk is the illegitimate wild child of jazz, channelled through the cultural influence of black urban America. 
The band’s only two records have been insanely difficult to get a hold of until now, in fact your best bet used to be to try and track down the Japanese import for the second album. So, why is there all this interest in an obscure band from the seventies? 
Interestingly enough Newban released both albums back to back in 1977, before the guys ran across the road to join a different record label under a different name. There is speculation that the two albums were made to fulfil their contract to their record label, Guinness Records, even if this is the case they still produced tracks which were technically brilliant with a sound which was as smooth as a babies bum. 
Apart from the quality of the compositions and technical ability of the band, the core of Newban would, once they had crossed the road, transform themselves into the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Atlantic Starr, which moved the music more towards R&B, gaining the band two hits with ‘Secret Lovers’ and ‘Always’. 
The band consisted of Joe Phillips (percussions and flute), Porter Carroll (drums and vocals), Clifford Archer (bass and vocals), Sheldon Tucker (guitar), Duke Jones (flugel horn), and Jonathan Lewis (trombone). 
The CD has all eighteen tracks from the two albums, which includes ‘Father Time’ (4:23), 'Why did You Desert Me’ (3:11), 'Central Park’ (4:31), 'Fatback Sally’ (3:46), 'Magic Lady’ (3:58), 'Mellow Days, Easy Nights’ (4:03), 'Hungry Grin’ (2:32), 'Home with You’ (2:58), 'Greenburgh’ (3:16), 'Rhythm & Rhyme’ (4:14), 'Find a Place’ (4:32), 'If I Could (Make You Mine)’ (2:37), 'Fine Woman’ (6:10), 'Easin’ Through’ (4:33), 'Free Your Mind’ (3:53). The album also contains three bonus tracks, 'Bells’ (7:22), 'Miracle Holiday’ (4:06) and 'Oh Wow’ (6:22) which did not appear on the original release, from their sound quality this sounds like practice tapes, great sound, but not with the quality of a properly produced track, still a nice bonus for collectors of rare jazz/soul/funk. 
The single CD does have two slightly different sounds; the first album ends with 'Home with You’ and has a distinctive soul/funk sound, when we get to the tracks, starting with 'Greenburgh’ a much stronger jazz influence comes through, with the greater use of woodwind and horns. 
This is a great little gem which has been difficult to get since it original release, so get your bell bottoms on and get down to groove to the funky sounds of Newban…. 

A1 Greenburgh 3:16 
A2 Rhythm & Rhyme 4:14 
A3 Find a Place 4:32 
A4 If I Could (Make You Mine) 2:37 
B1 Fine Woman 6:10 
B2 Easin’ Through 4:33 
B3 Free Your Mind 3:53 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





Cassete Deck

Cassete Deck