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Layers


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Audio CD, August 27, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Audio CD

1. Sometimes I Cry
2. Lets Gather
3. Anticipation
4. Dunbar High School Marching Band
5. Soaring (Part 1)
6. Harlem Buck Street Dance
7. Interlude
8. Before I Rest
9. Lets Play
10. It Never Stopped In My Home Town
11. Soaring (Part 2)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 27, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Collectables Records
  • ASIN: B00006J9O2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,999 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andre' S Grindle on October 1, 2003
Format: Audio CD
You know I wouldn't be at all surprised if Stevie Wonder was
listening to Les McCann's "Layers" album HEAVILY when he recorded his mid 70's triumphs because the electric piano
sounds and textured melodies on this album bare the stamp of no one else-the overall record ranking in artistic influence right up there with Wonder's,Gaye's and Isaac Haye's recent work.But for historical note Les McCan did it first and very uniquely.First of all McCann literally "layered" moogs,clavinet's
,the electric piano and varrious synthesizers to create this
unique mastersrtoke of electronic funk-paving the way not only for the synthesizer onslaught to come but to every artist to come.Nevertheless there is a very abscract feel to the suite even if it's very accessible-the melodies drip and drip like
a leaky faucet until they sink into the memory.Listing any
particular highlites are pointless-every track is excellent o it's on and are trancendant as a whole;remarkable!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. S. Slaughter on August 26, 1999
Format: Audio CD
LAYERS was radical when it came out in 1974. Here was a black jazz figure who had gone totally synthethic (except for drums) alongside Herbie Hancock. The result doesn't hold up as well as the funk-driven "Headhunters" or its followup "Thrust", but McCann still offers an interesting experiment: the synth here is, indeed, soulful. My only complaint is that its tone suffers from a sameness throughout, but some of the tunes are wistful and aching ("Sometimes I Cry", "Soaring") and "Harlem..." gets some funk going. The percussion section is interesting, and chances are parts of this will be sampled heavily by the Cannibal Generation that followed. Atlantic would do better to release "Invitation to Openness" on CD, which was LAYERS' predecessor in 1972 on which McCann did some incredible far-eastern electric piano tinkling and the compositions were abstract and haunting ("Beaux J. Poo Boo").
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Olukayode Balogun on May 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This album is brilliant. McCann is a monster on the keys - piano, electric piano, ARP synth, clavinet, drums and tympani. He's joined by Buck Clarke on conga drums, bongo drums, blocks, bells and percussion, by Ralph MacDonald on conga drums, bells and percussion, by Donald Dean on drums, bells and percussion and by Jimmy Rowser on bass violin ("Sometimes I Cry" & "Soaring Part 1"), electric bass ("Let's Gather", "Dunbar High School Marching Band" & "Harlem Buck Street Dance"), strut bells and percussion. The music seems to seep out of the speakers like molten lava, like an auditory warm massage even. It's as smooth as silk but it isn't smooth jazz. It brings to mind some of my favourite moments from the likes of Herbie Hancock, Ronnie Foster and Stevie Wonder - all at the same time. Even though my copy arrived damaged and have been unable to play tracks 6-9, I still can't get it off my CD player. I love it!

(The seller has kindly offered without quibble, to send me a replacement, by the way)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1998
Format: Audio CD
When "Layers" first appeared in the early 70's, it was something of an oddity to the jazz world. Not only did McCann set aside the traditional piano for a synthesizer, but he also performed and recorded all the parts. The multiple tracks were then mixed together to create "layers" of sound. Hence, the name for the album.
"Layers" is a concept album in the truest sense. The "songs" tend to drift seamlessly from one to another. The music is constantly shifting and transforming as McCann explores different ideas and emotions. From the searching and questioning "Sometimes I Cry" to the swaggering "The Dunbar High School Marching Band" to the cautious innocent optimism of "Soaring", everything works.
In casual listening, "Layers" might be dismissed as simply McCann experimenting with electronic music. However, alone, in the dark, late at night, the listener begins to understand that "Layers" is a actually a private and intimate conversation. McCann is not only revealing himself, but through his utter transparency, the listener shares in the experience, understanding the same fears, disappointments, joy and hope. This is deeply personal music. You may never meet Les McCann, but you will certainly "know" him after listening to this album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Merritt on August 19, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
This record has a reputation that precedes it but, frankly, it should have more of one. That it is not thought of as one of the great jazz/funk records of the early 70's by everyone on earth is an injustice. McCann effectively merged genres, stepping out of his pure jazz work of the 60's into a fusion that incorporated improvisation and more of a soul/funk sound. He deserves more credit for bridging these rivers of music. He deserves more credit in general. He deserves to be listened to. Listen, please. I promise, you'll wanna buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andre S. Grindle TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to say.......when Les McCann originally recorded this electronic album in the early 70's I am sure that (like many other recordings of it's type) this was received with all the enthusiasum of a broken down computer chip. But again as with many,in recent years there has been a complete re-evaluation of recordings like this. And that's so wonderful because in taken alone from the era 'Layers' is a soulful,grooving beautiful,imaginative and creative work of art-truly one of the major milestones the jazz-funk era ever produced. The music on this album is all very spare-the drums,along with Les's sussinct Fender Rhodes and ARP synthesizer solos are all heard playing different statements.Of important note,especially on the opener "Sometimes I Cry" the ARP solos take on the echoey,dreamy quality of some of the music Stevie Wonder was making during the same period (Wonder's Music of My Mind is a great side dish to this album) except for 'Layers' lack of vocals. On most of it this does sound a bit like what an early 70's Stevie Wonder instrumental album might have sounded like. The entire recording basically takes that form with the exception of the monsterously uptempo funk of "The Dunbar High School Marching Band" and "The Harlem Buck Dance Strut",where the Fender Rhodes playing is harsher and the style of playing is more percussive. Very much like Donald Byrd's Stepping into Tomorrow and Herbie Hancock's ...Read more ›
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