This two-LP set was supposed to contain a monumental suite tracing the evolution of black music but since Jones needed more time to work on it (it has yet to emerge!), he put out this stopgap set. One LP contains new material, the other is a retrospective of his previous A&M albums. The first LP is dominated by the generic soul vocals of a Quincy Jones-sponsored creation known as the Wattsline, which is largely saddled with routine soul material after a brief, promisingly funky start ("I Heard That!!"). Of the instrumentals, "Midnight Soul Patrol" doesn't quite make it despite the presence of heavyweight funksters like George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham and Alphonso Johnson, but "Brown Soft Shoe" again has Toots Thielemans delivering some classy cameo harmonica. The "greatest hits" disc astutely pulls eight key tracks from all six of Q's earlier A&Ms (though "Gula Matari" and "Walking in Space" are heavily edited) -- and frankly, they blow his 1976 music away.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell
feat: The Brothers Johnson