Review

Sam Sanders

Mirror Mirror

180 Proof • 2013

It’s the third release by the label 180 Proof, which is mostly dedicated to the unpublished catalog of Strata Inc. It’s one of 30 records that got stuck in the pipeline when the plug of the Detroit-based Jazz-label was pulled. It’s a mystery to me, why no one else has had the idea to re-open this wonderful source and quarry its black gold. Well, at least Amir Abdullah (known from the prestigious DJ Duo Kon & Amir) has pulled it off, and now he can lean back and watch how these limited records are practically snatched out of his hand. There was a storm of advance-ordes which hasn’t happened since Jazzman‘s »Holy Grail«-series. But there is a good reason for people going crazy: This stuff here is not only rarer than a chicken with teeth, but also just as impressive and entertaining. The blaxploitation-opening »Inner City Player« has it so bad that fans of the genre will go absolutely crazy with joy. As it says on the tin, the track »Funk‘ed Up« does exactly that and passes by more than just one track on the »Pulp Fusion«-compilations, which have been ground-breaking for the genre. Both »Loser« and »Love‘s Gain« dreamwalk unerringly between romanticized bliss and artistic perfection so that even Stevie Wonder, Sam Sander’s former employee, will listen up. Like the tracks before »Face At My Window« starts out as a killer-ballad, but then goes so crazy in the guitar-solo that O’Donel Levy couldn’t have done it better. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who plays so beautifully but isn’t known at all?