Record Label: 180 Proof
The latest release from 180 Proof Records is sure to be one of the most talked about deep crate releases of the year. A collector’s dream come true, Sam Sander’s Mirror Mirror is so rare that the recordings on this album have never before seen a proper release and even the cover art had to be created from scratch. An almost unbelievable fact given that it ranks as one of the strongest releases in the already air-tight era of Strata Inc’s Detroit.
Although he’s been compared to John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Joe Henderson, Sam Sanders stands out as one of the most unique phenomena to come from the Motor City. Sanders’ approach to life was so out there that one might say his relative obscurity was a personal choice. Sanders caught glimpses of fame early on performing with several internationally known acts and subsequently, he also learned a bit about what the Record Industry’s primary goals were. Realizing that he did not share them, Sanders chose instead to walk his own path. This drive for artistic freedom turned out to be a double-edged sword: while it allowed Sanders to produce some of the most electric jazz, funk, and soul to come from Detroit, it also meant that most of his recordings were never widely released, if they were released at all.
Drawing on his experience with Motown acts like Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, Sanders incorporated a fresh soul sound into recordings that would have otherwise been categorized as jazz. As such, Mirror Mirror moves seamlessly between spirit and style: The album starts on the street with “Inner City Player,” a superfly breakdown of a Detroit hustler’s life, before moving into distinctly abstract territory with the melancholy “Face At My Window.” The experience is held together by a no-nonsense rhythm section featuring the aggressive drumming of Jimmy Allen and the intensely focused bass playing of Ed Pickens. Perhaps the most straight-forward jazz song on the album, “Lover’s Gain” showcases Sanders at his freewheelin’ best. And if there was to be any doubt that Mirror Mirror can get funky as hell, look no further than the wah-wah guitar and early synth sounds of “Funk’ed Up,” easily the greasiest cut on the album.
Mirror Mirror has been remastered from the original reel to reel masters, along with the artwork, which has been restored and printed on top Heavy Stock Tip On Gatefold Jackets. Vinyl is pressed on as 180 Gram numbered vinyl. Includes extensive liner notes and never seen before photos.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
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