Remastering by Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London
One of the most unique albums on the Strata East label — and that's saying a heck of a lot, given the creative energies flowing through that legendary jazz outlet! Descendents Of Mike & Phoebe is a righteous little project put together by Spike Lee's father, Bill Lee, and his brothers and sisters (Cliff Lee, Grace Lee Mims, and Consuela Lee Moorhead) — working here in a group named after their slave ancestors, who are paid tribute in a beautifully flowing batch of tunes!
Lee's round, warm bass tones are firmly at the head of the group on most numbers — recorded at a similar level to his excellent work with Clifford Jordan on Strata East during the same time — and other instrumentation includes piano from Consuela, flugelhorn from Cliff, and percussion from Sonny Brown and Billy Higgins — all used in a wonderfully evocative style that's even better than some of Lee's later soundtrack work. A few numbers feature vocals from Grace — singing wordlessly and with a really heavenly sort of quality — and together, the whole group have an undeniable sense of power and majesty, yet also one that's touched by a really personal sense of poetry too. Titles include a great version of Lee's "Coltrane," which was more famously recorded with Clifford Jordan.
By Drago Museveni
Recorded at Minot Studios, White Plains, New York, December 19, 20 and 21, 1973
Consuela Lee Morehead, piano
Bill Lee, string bass
Grace Lee Mims, soprano
Cliff Lee, fluglehorn
Sonny Brown, percussion
Billy Higgins, percussion