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The Headhunters' "Platinum" Set for 6/14 on Owl, Bravura CD Features Snoop Dogg, George Clinton

SOURCE: Published: 2011-04-25
Headhunters Bridging Genres and Generations: A Hip-Hop Album for Jazz Fans, A Jazz Album for Hip- Hop Fans—The Legendary Headhunters Deliver a Bravura Collection

Platinum is Set for June 14th Release by Owl Studios

Guest Artists Include Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Killah Priest, Jaecyn Bayne, Private Pile and More


The Legendary Headhunters have delivered a dramatic, sweeping new CD that bridges genres and generations, as it deftly moves from Hip-Hop to Jazz to Funk to Rap to R & B. Under the leadership of founding members Mike Clark and Bill Summers, the seminal band has defied the odds with a bravura collection of original music that moves seamlessly from their trademark soulful instrumentals to bad-ass raps by guest artists Snoop Dogg, Killah Priest, Jaecyn Bayne and Private Pile, to philosophical interjections from George Clinton and more. Set for June 14th release on the respected Owl Studios label, Platinum is sure to turn heads in the months to come.

The structure of the album is as engaging as its content, as a series of interstitials punctuate its powerful songs. Snippets of phone conversations, behind-the-scenes chats, melodic teasers, witty asides (and more) help to segue from song to song. The collection begins forcefully, with its 'Mission Statement,' as a pulsating Headhunters groove is punctuated by rapper Bayne's affirmations. From there we move to the late-night, hip- shaking instrumental 'Salamander,' a track that lets each band member shine, and adds a crisp layer of horns to the mix. On the wild track 'D-Funk (Funk With Us,) Snoop Dogg and George Clinton are featured in a multi-layered song that also showcases rapper Killah Priest, vocalist Cynthia Layne and more. One of the album's many strengths lies in the fact that the instrumental tracks are as dramatic as the hip-hop/rap tracks...there is no lack of intensity and confidence on the album, and the propulsive energy is palpable. On some songs, such as the brilliant 'Apple Tree' (easily a centerpiece of the album,) Clark and Summers' writing is filled with such bravado that it's hard not to be impressed by their boldness.

Linda Reynolds provides some context, in her engaging liner notes: “The Headhunters, founded in 1973, were a legendary jazz-funk fusion band immortalized from their recordings and tours with jazz giant Herbie Hancock. The inaugural Head Hunters album with Hancock went on to become the first platinum jazz/fusion project in history....the intro to their song “God Make Me Funky" is one of the most sampled pieces in hip hop music, an homage to the Headhunters revered elder status and their direct lineage to the continuation and continuum of the music—that one song has been identified in the samples of dozens of rappers from pioneers like Eric B. and Rakim to De La Soul to Mobb Deep to the Fugees to Prince, and on and on and on." Full liners follow, below.

The range of artists on 'Platinum' is top-shelf: Mike Clark—Drums; Bill Summers - Percussion, Vocals; Richie Goods—Bass; Kyle Roussel—Keyboards; Donald Harrison—Alto Saxophone, MOOG Bass, Keyboards; Rob Dixon—Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Keyboard; Derrick Gardner—Trumpet. Guest Artists: Snoop Dogg—Rap; Killah Priest—Rap; Jaecyn Bayne—Rap; Private Pile—Rap; George Clinton—Philosophical Interjection; Cynthia Layne—Vocals; Alexei Marti—Timbales, Vocals; Patrice Rushen - Keyboards; Bennie Maupin—Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone; Azar Lawrence - Soprano Saxophone; Gary Mielke—Bass, MOOG Bass, Keyboards; PJ Yinger—Trumpet; Jerry Stucker—Guitar.

Owl Studios' Head J. Allan Hall is the album's Executive Producer, with Mike Clark and Bill Summers as Producers and Rob Dixon and Gary Mielke as Co-Producers. All song credits follow below.

Owl Studios is an award-winning, independent record label, with an artist roster that includes a Grammy-nominated artist, two Independent Music Award winners, an American Pianists Association Jazz Fellowship recipient, and a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Performer Award recipient. In the short time since its inception, Owl Studios has become a well-respected, artist-friendly record label in the genres of Jazz, R&B, Neo Soul, Jazz Fusion and Jam Band.

More About THE HEADHUNTERS: Founded in 1973, they recorded their eponymous debut Head Hunters with Herbie Hancock. The Headhunters, legendary jazz-funk fusion band, immortalized as a result of their long recording and touring stint with jazz giant Herbie Hancock. Hancock's “Headhunters" album was the first to be recorded with the group and has been heralded as the first platinum Jazz/Fusion project in history. Thrust, Flood, Manchild and other historic recordings followed. The band went on to produce more seminal records on their own, including Survival of the Fittest, which featured the funk anthem “God Make Me Funky," one of the most sampled jazz/fusion songs in modern music history. The Headhunters' music is a complex but harmonious blend of many styles and genres, spanning the globe, from Africa to Broadway. The group is acclaimed for its musical pioneering and innovative concepts.

More about MIKE CLARK: Originally from Oakland, California, Mike is credited with pioneering a particular style of East Bay funk drumming along with Dave Garibaldi of Tower of Power fame. Called “one of the most sampled drummer in hip hop" Mike's beats have been used on tracks by musicians as diverse as NWA, Grandmaster Flash, Britney Spears, Prince and many others. His diverse genre-defying talent continues to astound audiences and influence successive generations of drummers since his explosive arrival on the music scene with Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters. It is widely accepted that Clark is one of the few, in the category of Elvin Jones and Tony Williams, to have changed the fundamental language of the drums. Clark's Owl Studios debut, 'Carnival of Soul,' has earned universally rave reviews.

More about BILL SUMMERS: To say that Bill is a percussionist is like saying a Steinway is a piano: the noun conveys none of the history and quality of the owner of the title. Born in Detroit Michigan, a veteran of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, knows literally hundreds of African, Cuban & Latin percussion rhythms from decades of study. Bill steers the helm of the Summers Multi-Ethnic Institute of the Arts, and is a musician of the highest order, playing anything from traditional African instruments to pop bottles.


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