JAMES DALLAS 'LIFE FORMS'
October 13, 2023
180g vinyl edition
James Dallas is a talented producer, songwriter and saxophonist from Milwaukee. He started playing the clarinet in Junior High School at the age of thirteen, during this time public schools would loan students an instrument who could not afford their own. James originally requested an alto saxophone but none of those were available. In 1967 he got his hands on a baritone saxophone…and it became his main instrument for the next 15 years.
Dallas decided to pursue a career in entertainment (influenced by his parents who allowed him to play in a professional R&B band at the age of 14) and was possessed by an exceptional drive to excel in music. James wanting to showcase his talents as a multi-instrumentalist led him to his pursuit in playing the flute, various forms of the piano…and of course all the saxes & clarinets.
Soon he started playing with local bands and solo artists in the jazz & blues scene, he even participated on several recordings (mostly as part of the horn section)…but things really started to take of when James (together with his brother Chris and his cousin Kevin) started the outfit Heavy Weather. Most of the other bandmembers where his friends and would later become regular players on Dallas’ two solo albums ‘Life Forms’ (1982) and ‘Here And Now’ (1984).
The album we are proudly presenting you today: Life Forms (1982) was James Dallas debut album. Recorded at Mauer Brothers’ Studio and completely self-funded with the help and encouragement of his peers and family. Dallas paid for all the recording time and the privately pressed 1000 copies of the album…back then he could not have imagined that decades later it would become a much sought-after collectible that fetches high prices.
On Life Forms James Dallas is joined by a top cast of musicians such as Earl Thompson on percussion, Myron McClain and Noland Clark on drums, Rick Lacey and Robert Walls Jr. on guitar, Jake Simmons and Kevin Whitehead on bass. Kevin Whitehead (who is James’ cousin and known for his work with Ben Webster, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders) also wrote a track for the album. The whole venture truly is a family affair because James’ brother Christopher can also be heard on keyboards and the album design was handled by his other brother Calvin.
James Dallas surely deserves the title of ‘multi-instrumentalist’ because not only did he compose the majority of the songs (and produced the whole album) but next to his trademark soprano saxophone work, he also took care of playing the electric piano, flute, vocoder and keyboards.
The six songs on the fantastic Life Forms album are a heavy mix of mind-blowing funk, fusion and Vocoder/Odyssey synth extravaganza. If you are a serious collector or a smooth jazz underground enthusiast, then this is the thing for you! Also included is the magnificent ‘Sidetrack’ song that was included on the Numero compilation ‘NuLeaf’ released in 2020.
Tidal Waves Music (in collaboration with The Numero Group) now proudly presents the FIRST ever vinyl reissue of this iconic Jazz-Funk-Soul fusion album (original copies tend to go for large amounts on the secondary market) originally released in 1982 as a private pressing and now finally back available as a limited 180g vinyl edition (limited to 500 copies) complete with the original artwork and obi strip.