Coalition – 1978 – Birth

A very hip group from the 70s Philly scene – a jazz combo who’ve got a soulful swing and a wonderfully lyrical feel! The record has a bit of vocals, but really just added in as flavoring for the quartet’s excellent instrumental interplay – a blend of tenor and flute with piano, bass, and drums that steps out wonderfully – often with a bit of a Strata East sort of vibe, especially on the longer, more searching tracks!

The groove is way deeper than you might guess from the cover, or the monotone look of the set – and the set’s one of those rare 70s nuggets from a small label that has more surprise and imagination than most big label jazz sets of the time. 

A1 Marionette 11:14
A2 Thinking Of You 6:37
A3 Song For My Lady 1:27
B1 Bill’s Samba 4:38
B2 Kenya’s Horizon 11:40
B3 The Downer 7:00

Coalition’s single self-produced album, recorded for the private Kenya Records in 1978, presents as many questions as it does offer musical surprises. Not much is known about this groups who were a part of the late 70s Philadelphia jazz-soul scene. The music captured for the LP spans a broad range of styles, ranging from an intense fusion work-out, the album opener, ‘Marionette’, a mellow Terry Callier-esque style ballad ‘Thinking of You’, abstract tonal impressionism ‘Song to my Lady’, Afrocentric Strata East spiritual style jazz ‘Kenya’s Horizon’ and tough blowing hard-bop ‘The Downer’. In some senses, there’s something for everyone, and the bands instrumentation of tenor and flute riding over the solid rhythm section puts the listener in safe hands to enjoy a journey to the unexpected.

Those safe hand include drummer Dwight James. A one-time member of the Sounds of Liberation, a band that included Byard Lancaster, James was a respected and well-regarded drummer around Philly and he appears on a number of deep jazz records including the rare Sounds of Liberation album from 1972. James was also tight with the Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble, appearing on the 1973 psych-jazz album ‘Drum Dance To The Motherland’.
James also recorded his own one and only solo album in 1983 for Cadence Records, ‘Inner Heat’.
The Coalition album was only pressed in small numbers and available at Coalition live shows and local shops and so became quite a collectable piece for dealers and DJs…………

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