Monday, October 17, 2011
Noel Pointer, Livin for the city
Back in the 70s there was several fruity cats in the jazz flute world who liked taking their shirts off on their album covers, see Grover Washington Jr or Herbie Mann. Today I discovered a new variation on that, while digging in Real Groovy - jazz violinists who also follow suit. See above cover.
This fellow is Noel Pointer, from his debut album, Phantazia, released on Blue Note in 1977. According to the liner notes, Pointer was born and raised in Brooklyn NY, and started playing violin in the fourth grade. He made his solo debut performing Vivaldi with the Symphony of the New World Orchestra at 13 years old (source), followed by guest solo appearances with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Killer jam is Pointer's version of Livin for the city. Listen below.
Dusty Grooves describe the album as "Sweet electric fusion from violinist Noel Pointer – a player so great, you'll forget that he's using an instrument you normally associate with sleepier music! Like others of the 70s generation, Pointer plays the violin in a way that's clearly heavily influenced by keyboards of the time – electric in amplification, and worked in a mode that uses the instrument to create waves of sound that flow out amongst the tighter fusion rhythms of the set. Dave Grusin arranged and produced the set – in his best lean soulful mode of the time – and other players include Earl Klugh, Ralph MacDonald, Steve Gadd, and Grusin himself. Titles include "Mirabella", "Night Song", "Living For The City", "Phantazia", and "Wafaring Stranger".
Pointer played in concert with everyone from the Jacksons, Barry White, to Sammy Davis Jr and Thelonius Monk. He recorded on sessions for the likes of the Jones Girls, Patrice Rushen, Norman Connors and many more.
He died of a stroke in 1994, a few days short of his 40th birthday. The Noel Pointer Foundation was established in 1995 in his memory, providing scholarships for aspiring violinists.
From the album Direct Hit, from 1981... cool disco funk jam...
Youtube playlist for Noel Pointer (28 tunes)