JAMES MASON

RnB • United States
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Guitarist/keyboardist James Mason was a member of Roy Ayers' legendary late-'70s jazz-funk band, making his most prominent appearance on the 1977 LP Lifeline and its Mason showcase cut "Running Away." That same year, Mason recorded his debut solo album, Rhythm of Life, for the tiny New York independent label Chiaroscuro. It went out of print in an extremely short time, and Mason never recorded another one, pretty much disappearing from sight. However by the '90s, Rhythm of Life had attained near-Holy Grail status among acid jazz enthusiasts, partly because of its rarity and partly because its music -- even more rooted in funk than Ayers' -- seemed to perfectly epitomize what the rare-groove revival was all about. Finally, in 1999, England's Soul Brother Records acquired the rights to the master tapes and reissued Rhythm of Life on CD, allowing the album to claim its rightful status as a lost classic.

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Rhythm Of LifeRhythm Of Life
Chiaroscuro Records 2019
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JAMES MASON Discography

JAMES MASON albums / top albums

JAMES MASON Rhythm Of Life album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Rhythm Of Life
RnB 1977
JAMES MASON Recollection ∈ Echo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Recollection ∈ Echo
RnB 2015

JAMES MASON EPs & splits

JAMES MASON Sweet Power Your Embrace album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sweet Power Your Embrace
RnB 1995
JAMES MASON Nightgruv / I Want Your Love album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nightgruv / I Want Your Love
RnB 2012
JAMES MASON Dance Of Life / Up Jump album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dance Of Life / Up Jump
RnB 2015
JAMES MASON Sweet Power Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sweet Power Collection
RnB 2017
JAMES MASON Funny Girl / Dreams album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Funny Girl / Dreams
RnB 2017

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JAMES MASON Reviews

JAMES MASON Rhythm Of Life

Album · 1977 · RnB
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Rokukai
Funky and greasy, slick and cool, the lone release from multi-instrumentalist James Mason is a defining album of what some call rare groove. Original presses number less than a thousand. Mason rarely was heard on record again. It's only available in the USA as an import CD (last I checked, which was years ago). That's right, it's obscure folks!

Mason's real claim to fame is his guitar on Roy Ayers 1977 club hit "Runnin' Away". "Rhythm of Life" continues in the same club vein (but NOT disco). A few of these songs are considered acid jazz classics (Sweet Power of Your Embrace, Slick City, the title track) and the project flows gracefully. Vocalist Clarice Taylor bears a forceful presence on many tracks, and Mason uses an incredible variety of instruments to create a breezy, spacey, and funky atmosphere.

I'm not too familiar with contemporary jazz, but this album sounds like THE precursor to the acid jazz movement. If the Brand New Heavies were better and around in the late seventies, this is what they would sound like. If that sounds like your taste, you'll love this album. Otherwise, because of it's obscurity, pick it up at any opportunity. I was lucky and had a buddy spring for a sixty dollar import. I'm stuck with a ripped copy and liner notes I scanned. But hey, I'll take it if it's the only way I can feel the "Sweet Power of Your Embrace" and travel to "Slick City"

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