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[Off The Record]
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Les McCann
(Label M)

Keyboardist Les McCann had a string of popular jazz albums before he started exploring space, giving Miles Davis a run for his voodoo with albums like this one, which has been reissued on famed producer Joel Dorn’s new imprint. “The Lovers” sounds like a refugee from Bitches Brew, opening with clavinet tones that dance across the stereo spectrum, then falling into a groove that’s decorated by a waterfall of riffs from sax, vibes, and wah-wah guitar. Then the horn takes over with a Middle Eastern melody that’s all hash and incense. Twenty-nine years later it’s still a head trip. Next, things get funky on “Beaux J. Poo Boo,” with the groove eventually giving way to more interstellar exploration. The finale is the ballad-turned-ripper “Poo Pye McGoochie (and his friends),” where McCann lets rip his arsenal of keys, including an early synthesizer that playfully squirts cheese whiz into the mix as an intro to a drum solo before Les returns to cosmic terrain. The 65-year-old McCann’s career is still highballing, but this is Les at his most.



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