Known, for obvious reasons, as "the Mighty Burner," organist extraordinaire Charles Earland (1941-2000) was especially exciting when heard in person. This disc joins two superlative live albums: the first "set" is taken from a 1972 date at the legendary Lighthouse club in Hermosa Beach, California, while the second captures Earland and company in 1974 at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Moving seamlessly from funk (as on Sly Stone's "Smilin'") to groove-drenched post-bop classics (like Eddie Harris's "Freedom Jazz Dance" and Woody Shaw's "The Moontrane), and from his own hard-swinging originals ("Black Gun," "Joe Brown," and "Morgan"--in memory of the great trumpeter Lee Morgan) to a taste of free jazz (on his "Suite for Martin Luther King"), Earland supplements his titanic organ work with electric piano and synthesizer forays. And give the Mighty Burner extra credit for igniting the Carpenters' pop ballad "We've Only Just Begun."
with Clifford Adams, Ron Carter, Elmer Coles, Jon Faddis, Dave Hubbard, George Johnson, Kenneth Nash, Maynard Parker, Aurell Ray, James Vass, Darryl Washington