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Les McCann "Invitation To Openness" Reissued on Omnivore Recordings

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Through the chart-topping 1969 song “Compared To What, “ Les McCann became known to thousands of people as an inspirational “soul-jazz" pianist and vocalist. Since its first release in 1972, Les McCann's Invitation To Openness album (Atlantic Records) has remained a landmark statement in free-form improvisation mixed with soulful grooves, featuring a 26-minute continuous track with expressive instrumentation from the likes of Yusef Lateef, Ralph MacDonald, Cornell Dupree, Bernard Purdie, and Alphonse Mouzon.

After years as an out-of-print collectible, Invitation To Openness will be issued on CD by Omnivore Recordings on March 3, 2015.

Invitation To Openness is also now the title of a jazz and soul photography book (via Fantagraphics Books) containing portraits of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Tina Turner, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Count Basie, Mahalia Jackson, Eddie Harris, Roberta Flack, Duke Ellington and dozens more—all taken between 1960 and 1980 by Les McCann, and all unpublished. Few were aware until now that Les was an ace B&W photographer. The book includes candid comments from Les on his photo subjects, many of whom he knew personally.

Whether or not you already know this album, there are two treats in store: First, new liner notes by Peter Relic, who interviewed the album's key participants (including producer Joel Dorn before he passed on) so the album affords an opportunity to hear from Dorn, drummer Donald Dean, and bassist Jimmy Rowser (all of whom are also included in the new book of Les' photography). Second, with this CD loosely serving as a soundtrack to the book, the inclusion of “Compared To What" is essential. The CD contains a rarely heard but passionate version from Germany in 1975 featuring blues legend Buddy Guy on guitar.

According to McCann, “I love to listen to this music with openness and without thought or images. I turn the lights down and the music up, and I find joy in the different places it takes me."

CD/ Track List

1. The Lovers (26:02); 2. Beaux J. Poo Boo (13:06); 3. Poo Pye McGoochie (And His Friends) (12:35); 4. Over The Rainbow (14:37); 3. Compared To What (Live '75) (5:02).

About Omnivore Recordings

Founded in 2010 by highly respected, longtime industry veterans Cheryl Pawelski, Greg Allen, Dutch Cramblitt, and Brad Rosenberger, Omnivore Recordings preserves the legacies and music created by historical, heritage, and catalog artists while also releasing previously unissued, newly found “lost" recordings and making them available for music-loving audiences to discover. Omnivore Recordings is distributed by Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA).

This story appears courtesy of conqueroo.
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