Personnel: Floyd Newman (baritone saxophone); Edgar Matthews, Johnny Davis, William Taylor , Ben Cauley (trumpet, flugelhorn); Bryant Munch, Richard Dolph (French horn); Jackie Thomas, Bill Flores (trombone); Gary Russell (bass trombone); Isaac Hayes (keyboards, synthesizer); Lester Snell, Sidney Kirk (keyboards); Erroll Thomas (bass guitar); Willie Cole (drums, tambourine, temple blocks); Willie Hall (drums, tambourine); Jimmy Thompson (congas).
Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.
Recording information: Hot Buttered Soul Recording Studios, Memphis, Tennessee.
Appearing under the aegis of Isaac Hayes Movement, 1975's instrumental Disco Connection was sandwiched in between the mightily successful Chocolate Chip and the tongue-in-cheeky Groove-a-Thon, outstanding albums which defined Hayes' mid-'70s sound. Disco Connection, however, foundered in comparison, but still proved a hit with the fans, easily slipping into the Top 20 early in 1976. Focusing on groovy brass and blistering guitars, the album is best represented by the title track, which is an up-tempo disco jam punctuated by Charles Pitts' mighty picking and sweeping strings. "Disco Shuffle," meanwhile, slows the pace but repeats the beats, again augmented by some fierce guitar. Elsewhere, and especially on "Aruba" and "St. Thomas Square," the set slides effortlessly into Hayes' unmistakably classic instrumental arrangements, which are so definitive and derivative of that era. Disco Connection remains largely forgotten, though, as Hayes' style slipped in and out of fashion. This LP in particular was perhaps a little too easy on the ear with its light sounds and the lack of a blockbuster hit. But while it's true that there are far finer ways to experience Hayes in all his glory, Disco Connection remains a slick reminder of the finesse which drove the simple arrangements of guitar, strings, and brass to such sweeping ends. ~ Amy Hanson