Curtis Mayfield wasn't quite like anyone else, whether it was penning and singing the timeless hits of the Impressions ("It's All Right," "Move On Up," "I'm So Proud," "Keep On Pushing," "People Get Ready," "Gypsy Woman") or writing, arranging, and singing the sturdy, elegant funk explorations of his solo years ("Freddie's Dead," "Superfly"), he was always his own message to the world. This wonderful set features seven already accomplished jazz musicians (guitarist Phil Upchurch, drummer Terri Lynne Carrington, bassist Bob Hurst, trumpet player Wallace Roney, saxophonist Ernie Watts, keyboardist Russ Ferrante, and percussionist Master Henry Gibson) re-imagining some of Mayfield's classic compositions in a jazz ensemble setting. Calling itself Jazz Soul Seven, this remarkably versatile and fluid group of musicians has created a beautifully balanced and nuanced tribute to Mayfield, with classics like "People Get Ready," already a majestic recording in the original version by the Impressions, stretching in shining new directions. Mayfield had jazz elements in his own recordings from the start, so this set seems like an easy extension of his initial soundscapes, smooth, easy, and with an onward rhythmic energy.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett