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Karma members were not only among the unsung heroes of 1970s soul and funk; they were also capable of playing solid jazz-fusion. With such talent on board as saxman Ernie Watts, trumpeter Oscar Brashear, and trombonist George Bohanon, the L.A.-based outfit should have hit it big with Celebration, their first of two albums. But the LP, which was recorded in 1974 and 1976, failed to take off commercially. That may stem from the fact that while Celebration is a fine album, it lacked the powerhouse single necessary for the band to grab the attention of soul radio. Essentially, this is a collection of great album tracks, which range from the Earth, Wind & Fire-inflected funk song "Karma" to the bluesy "Well" and the uplifting Brazilian jazz-pop number "Kwanzaa." Karma's members really put their jazz chops to work on the 20-minute "Suite Syreeta," which gives the horn players plenty of room to stretch out. Regrettably, Celebration and its successor, For Everybody, have long been out of print, and it's unlikely that they'll ever be reissued on CD. So, if you come across either LP somewhere, grab it immediately.

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