Side One is an original suite, done with the superlative backing of Tommy Flanagan, George Tucker, Roland Alexander, and Dannie Richmond.
In this odyssey Frank delivers his message in his usual modern idiom of how Main Street in a town can become like a drug to some cats. Hence the title “Black opium Street”. How they just have to be on the scene, to be a part of the joy, misery, hate and love that makes “Black Opium Street” an irresistible magnet with its gals, queers, the woeful musicians, the jazz, and all of the phases of life, exposed to the habitués of the Main Street. Frank paints a starkly realistic picture, that will hold you riveted to your chair from his introduction to “Black opium Street” untill he rolls up the sidewalk with his narration of the closing theme “Later”.
On side two Frank is joined by two all star rhythm sections, that he has known and worked with on many occasions. It is no wonder, therefore, that the set coms off in an easy, relaxed and compelling sound.
The first three tracks were done with the famous Miles Davis anchor men, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy cobb, who play Frank’s vocal adaptations of Miles’, “Flamenco Sketches” beautifully. For the first time I hear a vocalist sing the tune in 6/8 time and in minor, certainly no easy way to execute a melody.
“So What” by Miles Davis and “Round Midnight” by Monk round out this group’s work, as Frank demonstrates his inventiveness with multi-voicing on “Flamenco” and “Midnight”. The lyrics are his, except on “Midnight”. Closing the set, Frank is joined on the last two tracks by an equally talented group, consisting of Jimmy Jones, Kenny Burrell, Ed Thigpen, and Joe Benjamin. The tunes are originals by Frank. “Watermelon” and “You I Love” are a further demoinstration of Frank Minion’s forward sound. As a radio announcer, I’ll guarantee, you will dig this record the most - and then some.”
Edited by funkeyman on 5 Nov 2011, 16:54
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