Seawind ‘Light the Light’/’Seawind’ (BBR) 3/5

seawindThe 1970s were noteworthy for the number of studio-based musicians who accompanied the top soul and funk acts and Seawind were a studio collective who performed with the very best including George Duke, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. This excellent value for money pairing of albums brings together their final recordings from 1979 and 1980 respectively and features the lead vocals of Pauline Williams. While not groundbreaking music, it is tastefully put together and there is the odd Latin jazz flavoured number to attract the listener’s attention. The first album featured an uptempo jazz-funk piece in ‘Hold on to your love’ while ‘free’ has a retro Brazilian feel and this was the template for the sound George Duke would deploy on his seminal ‘Brazilian Love Affair’ and it is no surprise that members of the Seawind horn section were included on that album. There is some gritty jazz-funk on the title track with echoes of steely Dan in the use of keyboards. A homage of sorts to bassist Jaco Pastorius is paid on ‘Morning Star’ and the soprano saxophone of Kim Hutchcroft sounds decidedly like he has been listening to Wayne Shorter, also of Weather Report fame. The second album is the weaker of the two, but did at least score a minor R & B hit in ‘What cha’ doin’ which was an obvious single contender and stands the test of time well. Elsewhere the Brazilian-influenced instrumental ‘Pra vosé’ impresses and one wishes more of this side to the band could have been showcased. Only the horrible rock guitar on ‘Everything needs love’ sounds truly dated and a mis-guided attempt at a crossover hit. Tim Stenhouse