During the mid-60s trumpeter Gary Chandler toured with the Motown Revue before joining the bands of Lou Donaldson then Charles Earland, where he featured on Living Black! and Soul Story in 1971. Producer Bob Porter urged Chandler to record his own album and enlisted a crack band including the irrepressibly funky Idris Muhammad on drums, Caesar Frazier on wild Hammond, plus the legendary Rudy Van Gelder on engineering duties.
With such pedigree and supporting cast the resulting 1972 album for Eastbound Records is every bit the tasty soul-jazz stew it promises. The rolling ten-minute groove ‘Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)’ is worth the purchase alone as the band stretch out with Chandler’s natural funk, Cornell Dupree’s twisting lines guitar (Dupree of Aretha’s “Respect” intro fame) and Frazier’s heavenly Hammond all taking a lead. Chandler’s compositions positively sizzle throughout with the dizzying dancefloor groove of ‘Kaleidoscope’ being the pick of the rest, although that in no way downplays 'Blue Dues' or 'The Jet Set'. Only on ‘Flamingo’, the album’s only ballad, is the heat turned from boil to simmer.
Outlook proved to be Chandler’s only album. The question on this evidence is why.
Outlook by Gary Chandler is released tomorrow (12 Oct) as a limited edition LP on Tidal Waves/Light In The Attic. A version of this review first appeared in Shindig! magazine.