SEA LEVEL

RnB • United States
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Fusion combo Sea Level was formed in 1976 by keyboardist Chuck Leavell, bassist Lamar Williams, and drummer Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson following their exit from the Allman Brothers Band; guitarist Jimmy Nalls completed the original lineup, which in 1977 issued its self-titled debut LP on the Capricorn label. Honing its distinctive marriage of rock, blues, and jazz through relentless touring, the group returned to the studio to cut 1978's Cats on the Coast, followed later that year by On the Edge; although Jaimoe returned to the Allmans, Sea Level recorded two more albums -- 1979's Long Walk on a Short Pier and 1980's Ball Room -- before dissolving. Leavell later emerged as a sought-after session player and producer, also touring with the Rolling Stones; in 1998, he issued his debut solo LP, What's in That Bag? Sadly, Williams died of Agent Orange-related cancer on January 25, 1983.

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SEA LEVEL Sea Level album cover 4.05 | 2 ratings
Sea Level
RnB 1977
SEA LEVEL Cats On The Coast album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Cats On The Coast
RnB 1977
SEA LEVEL On The Edge album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
On The Edge
RnB 1978
SEA LEVEL Long Walk On A Short Pier album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Long Walk On A Short Pier
RnB 1979
SEA LEVEL Ball Room album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Ball Room
RnB 1980

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SEA LEVEL Sea Level

Album · 1977 · RnB
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Rokukai
Sea Level's best and most representative album, 1977's "Sea Level" provides a unique listening experience. The music is primarily R&B tinged rock with killer fusion instrumentals thrown in (Tidal Wave, The Rain in Spain, and Grand Larceny rank with the group's best known compositions).

The group started as a side project during an Allman Brothers Band hiatus. Most, if not all, Sea Level members and collaborators had ties to the Allman Brothers. The two-guitar, two-drummer, Gregg Allman version of the Allmans could never pull this off though, as the music is as poignant and sweet as the Allmans are loud and raucous. The Jaimoe/Lamar Williams backbone provides steady rhythm for Chuck Leavell's keys and Jimmy Nalls' guitar.

If you like jazz/rock fusion, give it a try. The examples on "Sea Level" bear remarkable creativity within the style (courtesy of Leavell, one of the great unsung musicians of the last 40 years). If you're an Allman Brothers fan, and you want more of "High Falls" from the Allman album "Win Lose or Draw" you'll want to check this out on curiosity alone.

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