Saturday, April 01, 2006

There's a World of Excitement on Cadet!

Eddie Fisher - The Third Cup

In the mid-sixties Argo Records in England forced Chess Records to rename its jazz and R&B subsidiary of the same name. After choosing the name "Cadet" the label went about giving the brand name bite, creating the "There's a World of Excitement on Cadet" motto and aggressively marketing it. The inner sleeve to the Soulful Strings LP In Concert reflects this: "THE IMAGE OF CADET - A child is born and he is given a name. And it is by this name that he is thereafter known, the excellent of his present - the promise of the future ... [t]here is great pride in naming ... [i]t makes a man an entity, and to the things he creates an manufactures, it brings true identity." Pretty heavy stuff for a label whose main principal, Leonard Chess, was known for his crudeness (session material included on the Sonny Boy Williamson Bummer Road LP finds Chess in a cursing match with Williamson over the title "Little Village")!

The Cadet jazz catalogue of the late sixties and early seventies lived up to the "World of Excitement" moniker. With releases from Ramsey Lewis (with and without the Trio), Lou Donaldson, Dorothy Ashby, Jack McDuff, Kenny Burrell, Odell Brown & The Organ-Izers and many others, and utilizing the talents of arrangers Richard Evans and Charles Stepney, Cadet (and Marshall Chess' progressive Cadet Concept label, which gave the world the Rotary Connection) featured lots of adventurous material, ranging from the soul jazz of Lewis, Donaldson and McDuff to some pretty far-out stuff by artists like Dorothy Ashby (a harpist whose Richard Evans-supervised sessions included trippy recordings like "Soul Vibrations") and today's featured artist, Eddie Fisher.

"The Third Cup" is a langorous but very trippy guitar masterpiece from the Eddie Fisher & The Next Hundred Years album. In Chicago this song has endured as a "slow jam" among the "stepping" scene. (For non-Chicagoans, "stepping" is a very polished type of couples dancing based on the "bop," a slower version of the jitterbug. Good steppers incorporate some pretty fancy footwork and a strong sense of style into their dancing. R. Kelly's "Step in the Name of Love" was directed at this crowd and is a good example of the type of tempo and groove that steppers dance to.) Get lost in Fisher's sound here ... it's pretty engrossing.

No comments: