Personnel includes: Quincy Jones, Reverend James Cleveland (conductor, arranger); Dave Grusin (arranger, keyboards); Bill Summers (arranger, bata drums, percussion); Zak Diouf, Caiphus Semenya (vocals, drums); Letta Mbulu, Lou Gosset, Alex Hassilev, Jim Gilstrap, Paulette McWilliams, The Wattsline Choir (vocals); Stan Haze (spoken vocals); Lee Ritenour, David T. Walker (guitar); Bobby Bruce (fiddle); Ernie Watts (woodwinds); Bill Watrous (trombone); Richard Tee (piano, organ, keyboards); Mike Boddicker, Ian Underwood, Pete Jolly (keyboards); Chuck Rainey, Ed Reddick (bass); Arni Egillson, Milt Kestenbaum (acoustic bass); Paul Bryant, Emil Richards, Milt Holland, Shelly Manne, Vic Feldman (percussion).
Includes liner notes by Paul Grien.
Original score written by Quincy Jones.
Personnel: Zak Diouf, Caiphus Semenya (vocals, percussion); Alexandra Brown, David Pridgen, Sherwood Sledge, Linda Evans, Rodney Armstrong, Jim Gilstrap, John Lehman, Alex Hassilev, Deborah Tibbs, Paulette McWilliams, Stephanie Spruill, Tom Bahler, Mortonette Jenkins, James Cleveland, Charles May (vocals); David T. Walker, Lee Ritenour (guitar); Alton Hendrickson (banjo); Catherine Gotthoffer, Dorothy Remsen (harp); Gerald Vinci, Ralph Shaeffer, Erno Neufeld, Bill Nuttycombe, John Santulis, Joe Stepansky, Joseph Livoti, Bob Suchell, Irv Katz, Sheldon Sanov, Janice Gower, Harry Bluestone, Bobby Bruce (violin); Bob Ostrowsky, Rollice Dale, Alex Nieman, Marilyn Baker (viola); Jeff Solow, Paul Bergstrom, Ronnie Cooper, Jesse Erlich (cello); Ernie Watts, Bill Green , Jerome Richardson, Ted Nash, Terry Harrington (woodwinds); John Audino, Bobby Bryant , Buddy Childers (trumpet); David Duke, James Decker, Alan Robinson (French horn); Dick Nash, Bill Watrous, Maurice Spears (trombone); Tommy Johnson (tuba); Ian Underwood, Pete Jolly, Richard Tee, Mike Boddicker (keyboards); Milton Kestenbaum, Arni Egillson (acoustic bass); Chuck Rainey, Ed Reddick (electric bass); Vic Feldman, King Errison, Tommy Vig, Milt Holland, Paul Bryant, Shelly Manne, Emil Richards, Bill Summers, Bobbye Hall (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Quincy Jones.
Arrangers: Dave Grusin; Herb Spencer; Dick Hazard; John Mandel ; Quincy Jones; Tom Bahler; Bill Summers; James Cleveland; Caiphus Semenya.
Quincy Jones has been threatening to write a long tone poem sketching the history of black music for decades now, and he has yet to do it. This project, rushed out in the wake of the 1977 TV mini-series Roots, is about as close as he has come. A brief (28 minutes) immaculately-produced and segued suite, Roots quickly traces a timeline from Africa to the Civil War, incorporating ancient and modern African influences (with Letta Mbulu as the featured vocalist), a sea shanty, field hollers, and fiddle tunes, snippets of dialogue from Roots actor Lou Gossett, and some Hollywood-style movie cues. Only a fraction of this music was used in the mini-series; oddly, the most familiar piece of music, the often-repeated "Roots Mural Theme," is not by Jones, but by film composer Gerald Fried, who wrote most of the TV score. Though some prominent jazzers (Shelly Manne, Victor Feldman, Ernie Watts, Lee Ritenour, Richard Tee, etc.) turn up in the orchestra, there is not a trace of jazz to be heard. This is a timely souvenir of a cultural phenomenon, but merely a curiosity for jazz fans. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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