Andrew Venson, bass player, founded Seeds of Fulfillment (great spiritual jazz/psych name, that) out of Columbus, Ohio in early 1978. Known as Vince; having played with Arthur Conley and Peaches and Herb, he got together a bunch of local players to make it BIG TIME! On this album ‘his’ band consists of Vince, David Drazin (keys), Roger Myers (drums), Lee Savory (trumpet), Randy Mather (sax) with Jeanette Williams on vocals. This was their only album and they never played outside of Ohio.
Seeds of Fulfillment is typically an energetic, groove-laden fusion roughly in the style of Zawinul, The Crusaders, Hancock et al. It kicks off with “The Provider”, a Drazin-penned piece inspired, indeed, by Zawinul’s “Country Preacher”. It’s a midnight-struck, slow strut of a track with electric piano wash, spanking bass and two lovely-phrased solos by Mather and Savory which sing and stutter and complete the piece. Really like this.
“Egg Cartons” (named after the widely-available acoustic treatment material) is as Free as the Wind. It’s a joyous jam session with an energised funky soul, bossed by Myers busy drum work and Vince’s partying. Drazin cuts up in the background while horns deliver motif and solo, then it’s Drazin’s turn; the horns drop and the rhythm section kinda burns, before returning to the motif and end.
“In The Time of Need” is a perky, mood-lifting, early evening Martini of a track with smoothly chatty, well-balanced solos from Mather, Savory and Drazin. It all fits so well; each soloist responding kindly to the ever-giving Venson and Myers.
Jeanette Williams steps up to the mic on “Look Beyond Appearances” (Tibby Porter on gorgeous backings) and belts out a soulful vehicle that’s all about her and her unarguable powers.
Myers leads the way on the got-ants-in-my-pants “Namaste”. Dense, layered, playful patterns underpin and energise the rhythmic melodies that punch above. Mather and Savory’s soulful expressions again explore and resolve effortlessly while Drazin takes us in a southerly direction out of the States.
“Tight Squeeze” is as close to proper cool-cat jazz band as we get thus far, with its swinging bass, ganged horns and comping piano, it shows that the boys could easily have some of that too, if/when they fancy. Savory makes it happen and Drazin drops some big Tyner (and more) shapes. Works very nicely.
“Self-Fulfilling Prophecy” is a spirited finale that I’m sure I made happen just by wishing it so. All elements come together correctly in a piece that feels more serious, harder-fought and a bit less effortless than the rest of the album. This is no bad thing. The bass line is hooky; a sample-in-waiting. There’s something of a fantastical Maynard Ferguson’s Strata East about the track. This too is no bad thing. A hyped ending.
SOF is a charming trip into very late 70’s soulful jazz fusion+ and I feel a great warmth towards it and its people. Excellent, thoughtful, team-focused musicianship, delivered with feeling; where no one is a hero and everybody is having a good time, all of the time. It’s infectious and it makes you want to shake your groove thing, as Vince’s old mates would say.