Weldon Irvine’s soul was a restless one. Raised by his grandparents in Virginia he slid in quickly to the jazz scene in mid-sixties New York. His first gigs were playing in the bands of Joe Henderson and Joe Dorham. His big break came a few years later when he was picked up by Nina Simone as her arranger, tour manager and bandleader. During his tenure with Simone he wrote his most famous (but in no way only…he penned over 500 tunes) song, Young, Gifted and Black. The song has been widely covered over the years with some according it status as the anthem of the civil rights movement.
Irvine’s main instrument for performance and composition was the organ/keyboards. His influence on jazz and hip hop musicians through the 80s-90s and 00s, has been deep. Indeed, Weldon Irvine, is considered one of the creators of the style which came into its own in the later 70s as ‘acid jazz’.
Some of those roots can be heard on tonight’s selection especially in the opening sizzling acid jazz track Fat Mouth. The record is consistently of high quality throughout covering several other styles and moods.
Irvine was also a writer and producer of stage productions and had an artistic curiosity (and capability) beyond music. However, he was also, it seems, never quite at rest. Peace alluded him. In 2002, he took his own life, in a very public way in front of a busy New York office tower. He was not yet 60 years old.
Welcome to Weldon’s world.
01 Fat Mouth
02 Turkish Bath
03 Pleasure, Pain And Me
04 Down Home
05 Marjorie Moon
06 Sweet Georgia Brown
07 What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life
08 Gemini Mood