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Ronnie Laws – 1976 – Fever

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Ronnie Laws - Fever front

An album that’s smoother than some of Ronnie’s earlier work, and perhaps without the same dark edge – but still a nice batch of soulful fusion tunes, with production by Wayne Henderson, in his classic 70s At-Home Productions mode! By that, we mean that a number of the tracks have a good stepping feel that mixes standout jazz solos with smoother backings – in a way that still keeps a lot of soul, but which also takes on kind of an R&B finish. Titles include “Let’s Keep it Together“, “Captain Midnite“, “Night Breeze“, and “Stay Still“.

Ronnie Laws - Fever back

In those years, it was easy to “read” the album cover info, because by the name of the producer, the musicians, the label, you could almost guess what the record was going to sound like. Ronnie Laws had been the alto sax player of Earth, Wind & Fire a few years before. And he was the brother of the famous Jazz flutist, Hubert Laws. The musicians on this album were from Pleasure, a band I discovered that summer (’76) in London. Wayne Henderson, the producer, was also the producer of that group and still member of The Crusaders. And Fever does resemble the style of  The Crusaders. In 1976, this kind of crossover Jazz was still fairly new and unconsumed and a serious alternative between Funk and straight Jazz. When I hit this album in London, it was brand-new, and the album sounded powerful, fresh, and funky. I had to have it. It’s still a nice album.