For me, there can be little more inspiring than being asked to write something for someone, whatever that might be. A letter, a biog, review... anything (to me the conjuring of words is like a painter daubing canvas). It often serves as a self-educator too as one delves into the subject. I recently received the honour of doing so for that maestro of music Tom Glide, towards his latest (blindingly brilliant) release 'SWEET HEAVEN' featuring the great Timmy Thomas. It was a joy and a privilege to undertake (always good when the request is well-received), and here it is.
TOM GLIDE - 'SWEET HEAVEN'.
An accomplished producer, composer, musician and singer in his own right (he’d taught himself to play guitar, drums, bass and keyboards by the age of 10), Tom Glide has become a name synonymous with the masterful musicianship of uplifting groove, and his new release, featuring vocals from the legendary Timmy Thomas, is set to further seal his stance as a maestro at the top of his game.
This latest release follows on from the highly acclaimed ‘In the Name of Luv: Tom Glide and the Luv All Stars’, his sublime 11-track smash collection of funk and soul infused tunes that, with soaring horns and accomplished vocals et al so beautifully bridges the old school with the new. Featuring some of the best artists in their field, whose collective credits, aside from their own, range from Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and George Duke to Earth, Wind & Fire and the Rolling Stones, to name but a few, this album, the culmination of a long-held dream, holds up the vision of, in Tom’s own words “music that erases the distance between the past and the present, and looks ahead to the future; a universal celebration of togetherness, brotherhood and love”.
The ‘All Stars’ saw collaboration with luminaries including keyboardist Larry Dunn, bassist Alex Al, drummer James Gadson and the acclaimed trumpeter Rahmlee Michael Davis (Jackie Wilson, Michael Jackson, B.B. King, Donny Hathaway, Minnie Riperton… the list of that particular pedigree goes on). The latter, Tom says, was “…one of the most beautiful musical experiences of my musician's life. I learned a lot about music, human relationships and humility. His unique art to construct voicing as foundations inside my songs or how to distribute notes like characters in the cinema, or measuring ingredients as in fine cooking, and gastronomy - to have the perfect taste or colour. Learning this art has been like a revelation for me.”
It is a revelation that abounds in telling, shown not only in how Tom brings so many top talents of all ages together, but on with the tunes they create, ones that stand solid as new classics. So with this latest release Tom is set to continue in furthering his vision of bringing real musicianship into the lounge, the bedroom and upon a truly uplifting dance-floor to the fore.
With some four decades in the music business Timmy Thomas has given us golden gems like ‘Why Can't We Live Together’ (1972), with its memorable stripped-down production of Hammond organ and percussion to his soulful vocal, along with classics under the T.K.Disco label such as ‘Stone To The Bone’ and much more besides, seeing him consistently topping the R&B charts. Here now then, under the umbrella of Tom’s ‘All Stars’, another hit is assured. With remixes from the likes of the equally prolific talents of UK producers Matt Early and 12 Shades, along with some stunning keyboards by JD 73, this March release of ‘Sweet Heaven’, is another vibrant step in the on-going march of Tom Glide and company, here with Markus Kater and Stephen Tucker in Miami (the two guys who made the connection with Timmy Thomas happen) and supervised in studio by the acclaimed American bassist, songwriter and producer George “Chocolate” Perry.
The train shows no sign of stopping either, as this will lead on to yet another release in May, before the planned launch of a second album towards the end of the year.
And after his hugely successful 2012 UK tour ‘Soul On The Road’ together with Cool Million, Gary Poole and Westcoast Soulstars, along with vocalists like Laura Jackson and Tim Owens, as well as being on the road in Germany, France, Japan and the US West Coast, Tom is also getting focused on a second tour in the UK: “I’m hoping to bring a full horns section on stage, to make the full circus happen.”
As Berthold Auerbach once put it: “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Tom and his unrivalled collective don’t just wash the dust away, they buff the soul to the highest gleam. In his own words: “We pray we’ve created music to uplift people; to bring people closer together.” One listen and that becomes undeniably true.
Giles Addison – March 2013