Jazz funk outfit Pleasure’s classic 1977 album Joyous has been re-released, giving us an excuse to revisit an old favourite. If you’re not familiar, it’s a funk-soul album with a heavy jazz flavour (it was produced by The Jazz Crusaders’ Wayne Henderson), so you get eight tracks of intricate arrangements, nimble guitar riffs and fluid funk b-lines locking in with clipped clavs, twinkling Rhodes and bright brass stabs, all preened, polished and produced to a pristine level: Joyous is a plush sounding record.

There’s lots of funk here: “Dance To The Music” is a simultaneously buoyant yet weighty groove, part JBs, part P-Funk, the synth-bass-laden “Can’t Turn You Loose” is peak-Roy Ayers-level jazz-ish funk, while “Let Me Be The One” is a breezy soul stroller à la The Blackbyrds. There are also plush mid-tempo soul steppers “Only One” and “Tune In,” and a pair of gorgeous jazz instrumentals in the shape of “Sassafras Girl” and album finisher “Salim” — and it’s all good, good stuff. But the centrepiece is the title track.

“Joyous” first came to my attention via a 1987 Gilles Peterson compilation of Fantasy Records funk tracks and even in the company of artists like Johnny Hammond, Patrice Rushen and The Three Pieces, Pleasure’s “Joyous” stood out. First, there’s that opening vamp: straight in with no real build up, just a perfectly interconnected drum, bass, keys and guitar combo, bam, right there, locked in. Then the sax player hits it and goes from zero to ten in like, three seconds, hitting strangled notes and tangled runs like it’s the very end of the song rather than the very first minute.

It then moves into an awesome bit of tension-building with a clarion call two-note horn riff over a Kool-style single held guitar chord before the song proper drops — a couple of minutes of sheer soulful joy, thank you very much — before we head off into one of seventies funk’s premier guitar solos. Just superb.

⚪️ Tracklisting

Pleasure: Joyous (Craft Recordings / 180-gram black vinyl reissue)
A1. Pleasure: Joyous
A2. Pleasure: Let Me Be The One
A3. Pleasure: Only You
A4. Pleasure: Can't Turn You Loose
B1. Pleasure: Sassafras Girl
B2. Pleasure: Tune In
B3. Pleasure: Dance To The Music
B4. Pleasure: Selim

⚪️ Disclosure Statement

This record was submitted as a promo.

5 Mag Issue 206
Out Now

MOVE: This was originally published in 5 Mag Issue #206 featuring DJ, dancer, teacher and producer Coflo, Alland Byallo, Phil Kieran, DJ Rocca, Jeff Mills’ Metropolis Metropolis and more. Help keep our vibe alive and our shine bright by becoming a member for $2/month and get every issue in your inbox right away!


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This record was submitted as a promo.