Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Welcome Back, Eberitzsch

It appears as though our blog took an unexpected hiatus during the warmer months. But let's capitalize on the scholastic theme we've employed and just pretend that our arrested development was a planned summer vacation.

Upon returning to school each September I always felt a confluence of excitement and anxiety, which seems to have translated as forcefully to my return to writing this blog. There's a lot of self-imposed pressure in choosing the right post to set the tone for the year, much like choosing the right first-day outfit. It ought to exclaim: "Remember me?  I'm back. But better!" Then again, who am I trying to impress? We're all friends. So let's just pick up where we left off.

With that in mind, I'll start with a record I procured in the spring and rotated heavily throughout the summer: HE3 Project Chapter Three.

Unlike the long-lost Soviet Funk album I reviewed, which was revealed to be a fraud, the resurrected studio tapes of San Francisco's Herman Eberitzsch III are the bona fide goods. Although employed as a session keyboardist for Mercury Records throughout the 70s, Eberitzsch barely materializes on Discogs, the exceptions being on a handful of disco twelve inches pressed by Patrick Cowley's Megatone Records, some of Coke Escavedo dance numbers and an Esther Phillips record, incidentally also featuring jazz bassist Ron Carter and JB saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis.

Eberitzsch kept a low profile, yet the modest reissue outfit, Family Groove Records, somehow managed to unearth a basement full of top-shelf experimental space jazz, buttery blaxploitation funk and psychedelic blues by this unsung master composer-musician.

If I had to recommend one of the three available volumes, Chapter Three is the most mature expression of HE3's oeuvre. It also features the fewest vocals, which I opine are the weakest element on the earlier dates.

As Eberitzsch's new label describes his sound, " it's the impassioned zeitgeist (of the psychedelic era), both a fearless exploration of the cosmos and a raw form of self-expression immersed in the grass roots."

Save for "Rapture of the Deep" and "Smoothing Along the Smoothies," the selection posted below, which is culled from the scant offerings online, represents an unfortunately skewed, commercially-oriented smattering of Eberitzsch's work.  I'd urge you to seek out his albums, or failing that these iTunes clips, to immerse yourself properly in the deeper cuts that epitomize his sublime vibrations.

HE3 Project - Chapter One, Family Groove Records, 2010

Discogs: Chapter One

"Rapture of the Deep"

"In a Soft and Subtle Way"

HE3 Project - Chapter Two, Family Groove Records, 2010

Discogs: Chapter Two

"Soul Support"

"You Got Some Nice Moves"

HE3 Project - Chapter Three, Family Groove Records, 2012

Discogs: Chapter Three

"Ardesian Wells"

"Smoothing Along with the Smoothies"

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