This week sees the Boston-based record label Cultures of Soul release a follow-up LP to their reissue of the highly-acclaimed (and super rare) album ‘Brighter Days’ by Stanton Davis’ Ghetto/Mysticism. Comprising of unreleased material from the original recording sessions and remixes, it’s an essential companion piece to a long forgotten gem.
For years, the ‘Brighter Days’ LP by Stanton Davis’ Ghetto/Mysticism Band was a near impossible record to pull, and if you did find it, you often were confronted with a hefty price tag from which you had to haggle the seller down. That being said, the original press of 3,000 released in 1977 by the privately owned Outrageous Records is still quite sought after, often fetching three figure sums on the auction site of choice, but today, thanks to US record label Cultures of Soul, you can score a reissue of the seldom seen original in your local record shop (or at least online) for a fifth of the price.
Stanton Davis is a New Orleans born trumpet player and music educator who upped and left Louisiana to move to Boston where he attended Berklee College of Music to study trumpet. After graduating and undertaking a subsequent academic stint learning jazz composition at the New England Conservatory of Music at the end of the 1960s, he joined the orchestra of renowned Jazz pianist and composer George Russell, where he recorded numerous albums as a sideman in during the 1970s and travelled extensively. Back home in Boston, Davis would later go on to form the band Ghetto/Mysticism along with a group of talented musicians from the local scene, the outcome of which was an LP showcasing a scintillating fusion of Jazz, funk, soul and African rhythms. That album was ‘Brighter Days’.
“I felt at the time, which I still feel today that the tracks on it are so unique, timeless, and funky that it should get the proper exposure it deserves”
Prior to deciding to repress the record, Cultures of Soul boss Deano Sounds found a copy at a Montreal record fair after having had it on a wants list for more than a few years. “I felt at the time, which I still feel today that the tracks on it are so unique, timeless, and funky that it should get the proper exposure it deserves” he recounts when asked why he originally decided to re-release the LP “It’s a significant piece of work as an album and it never received much attention in America”. Setting out to track down Mr. Davis and request permission to put out possibly his most important work as a leader, Deano was finally allowed to release the album again and it appeared on record shop shelves as an almost identical replica in 2011.
Mastering the release from the original reel to reel tapes, Deano soon realised that there was at least another album’s worth of music from the same sessions and here the idea for a follow-up, tentatively titled ‘Isis Voyage’, was born. Many of the tracks on ‘Brighter Days’ had been edited to fit the single LP format and on the reel to reel tape, along with these extended compositions, he also discovered two tracks that had remained totally unreleased. It was all of this material, along with two remixes from disco aficionado Al Kent from Million Dollar Disco that comprise the follow-up, an album that first saw the light on CD this past January and this week is finally issued on fresh vinyl.
So that’s the background story, what about the music? Well the two ‘new’ cuts, ‘Odwalla’ and ‘Isis Voyage’ (from which the new LP takes its name) fit into the equation perfectly, leaving us wondering how they ever ended up on the cutting room floor, while the other tracks now freshly restored to their original lengths get to show off the intricacies that were otherwise lost. If you’re a fan of spiritually charged, esoteric jazz funk, we highly recommend giving the album a listen to form your own opinion. One thing you won’t be able to deny is that Stanton Davis and his associates definitely had the funk!
Preview clips from ‘Isis Voyage’ below and should you wish to add the album to your collection, purchase it now on either LP and CD direct from the Cultures of Soul website, or via your usual record outlets, including Juno, Phonica and Sounds of the Universe.
If spiritual jazz funk is your thing, you might also like to hook into this classic mix that Deano Sounds recorded for us last year. It features a couple of tracks from Stanton Davis, as well as a host of other great (and rare) music on a similar tip. Stream it below.