George Bussey

Disco Extravaganza Phase I

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With a nearly complete band-full of instruments in his personal repertoire and a flamboyant flair for arrangement, George Bussey was in demand, working with a heap of artists that included Curtis Mayfield, First Choice, Loleatta Holloway, and Les Paul Roque. But it was when he turned the tables and released his own album, Disco Extravaganza Phase I, in 1978 that the world was finally treated to the full George Bussey Experience. And an experience it proved to be, as Bussey self-played and sang virtually the entire record before emerging with a smooth, slick set of lightly vocalized, instrumental disco concoctions. The highlight of these vibes, by no narrow margin, is the opening "Disco Extravaganza" epic, which takes nearly a full side to contain it, four lushly orchestrated movements that focus on the music more than lyrics. Both "If You're in Your Seat, You Gotta Pat Your Feet" and "Love Was the Last Thing on My Mind" also snap with the fire that only late-'70s disco had. "Yours for the Taking," on the other hand, brings elements of classic funk to the mix. In fact, the only time Disco Extravaganza Phase I ever falters is across the tepid ballad "My Feelings for You" and on the closing "Come on Over Tonight," which, despite the bright brass accents, just doesn't ever get up to speed until the very end. But, aside from that minor wobble, Disco Extravaganza Phase I ultimately emerges as a nice, tight package, proving that the master of sessions was as at home in front of the action as he was behind. The only regret, perhaps, is that the album has faded away from the public eye.

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