The 3 Pieces – 1975 – Vibes of Truth
Vibes Of Truth is a masterpiece that covers all the bases: from soul through funk to jazz. It’s been sought-after by collectors for the three club friendly tunes within its grooves: Backed Up Against The Wall, Concrete Jungle and I Need You Girl. The album was brought to Fantasy by Donald Byrd who was enjoying great success with his productions for the Blackbyrds for them and his own jazz fusion albums on Blue Note.
The Blackbyrds were former students of his from the ethnomusicology course he taught at Washington’s Howard University just as was Lincoln Ross, the multi-instrumentalist leader of the 3 Pieces. Although the 3 Pieces failed to repeat the success of the Blackbyrds they created an amazing album.
A1 I Need You Girl 4:10
A2 Backed up Against the Wall 4:26
A3 Vibes of Truth 4:30
A4 Shortnin’ Bread 4:31
B1 Self Dealin’ 3:54
B2 Concrete Jungle 5:20
B3 If Only I Could Prove to You 3:56
B4 Cool It 3:29
B5 Virtue 3:30
The 3 Pieces may not have lasted long in the record business, but this rare album from 1975 has made them legends on the rare groove scene for years. The record was cut during the height of the jazz funk years at Fantasy Records – and it features Donald Byrd handling the production chores, in a similar manner to the style that he used with the more famous Blackbyrds, who were also recording for Fantasy the time. The record features loads of electric piano and ARP, plus some tight and smooth guitar, and a nice rolling groove that is very catchy. A number of tracks have vocals – in kind of a subdued soul mode – and tracks include the groove classics “Backed Up Against The Wall“, “Shortnin Bread“, “Concrete Jungle“, and “Vibes Of Truth“. And believe it or not, there aren’t any vibes on the album! (Dusty Groove)
Donald Byrd’s most widely known ventures from jazz into a more pop-oriented sound in the 1970s took place with the Blackbyrds. As a less celebrated outing that combined funk, jazz, and soul in a vocal format, he also produced this obscure album by the 3 Pieces, who were naturally a trio, though some other musicians played on the LP, including Ray Parker, Jr., who is responsible for the guitar on “Shortnin’ Bread.”
They were no mere Byrd vehicle, with the group writing all of the material except for the instrumental cover of “Shortnin’ Bread“. Very much of its period, Vibes of Truth is a pretty unmemorable entry into the funk-soul-jazz hybrid genre, with medium-temperature grooves and only adequate singing and songwriting. Even the attempts at tough lyrics — “Concrete Jungle” sings about rats in the urban squalor — are a little undermined by the generally sweet-natured tone of the threesome, and the arrangements are sometimes longer and more repetitious than justified (AMG).