Les McCann

River High, River Low

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With River High, River Low Les McCann completes his transformation from jazz to soul. While elements of fusion still creep in, this is first and foremost a straight-up funk album that shines the spotlight on deep, hard-hitting grooves and McCann's gritty vocals. While Stevie Wonder served as a reference point on previous efforts, the cosmic mind-funkery of the Parliament-Funkadelic collective seeps into cuts like "I've Been Thinking About My Problems" and "Woman Come Home." McCann is a master of rippling keyboard melodies and evocatively cinematic textures, and even if his vocals lack technical finesse, his passion and emotion carry the day. Jazz purists will recoil in disgust, but there's no denying the sheer vitality and energy of the music herein.

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