Perception Productions, a New York based label that ran from the late 60s through until 1974, was a strangely eclectic affair. Its roster stretched from a radical Afro-American poet through to the pop band King Harvest. The inbetween points covered jazz, funk, vocal harmony soul and proto-disco. In fact distilled down into the compilation this sampler is taken from, the label provides us a view of Manhattan’s black music scene of the period, from the established greats to the fresh young things who would make their mark in the coming years.
Dizzy Gillespie is one of African-American music’s most important figures, who in the 1940s alongside Charlie Parker figureheaded the revolutionary changes in jazz that were labeled Bebop. He was rarely without a record deal from that
day forth until his death in 1993, so getting him to sign to the new label was something of a coup. He made two albums for the label, the second ‘Portrait Of Jenny’ was a beautiful jazz album, but his debut ‘The Real Thing’ put him in a more contemporary setting. The funking up of Dizzy was a success and Mike Longo’s ‘Matrix’ in particular is a groove jazz masterpiece that has been long sought after by collectors. It is a well known sample used most effectively
by the Beatnuts on their track ‘World Famous’.
Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto was one of the most successful jazz artists of the 60s with her records for Verve, most notably the hit ‘Girl From Ipanema’ recorded with Stan Getz. Her sole album for Perception was something of a gem, with arrangements by Eumir Deodato who at the time was at the height of his success with Creed Taylor’s CTI label. She is backed by an all-star group that includes Airto Moreira, Billy Cobham, Patrick Adams and Mike Longo. Produced by the singer herself, it featured a stunning version of Jorge Ben’s ‘Take It Easy My Brother Charlie’.