Windows of the Mind

A 9 track jazz-funk album (39m 54s) — released October 20th 2023 on Wewantsounds

There's not a huge amount of information to be found about trumpet player Billy Brooks. A solid session musician who'd been around since the 50s, he played with the likes of Lionel Hampton, Cal Tjader and of course Ray Charles, who signed him to his sub label Crossover Records in the early 70s to release "Windows of the Mind." Interestingly Brooks also appears on Bea Benjamin's 1976 cult classic African Songbird produced by Dollard Brand. "Windows of the Mind" released in 1974 remains Brooks' only solo album.

"Windows of the Mind" was recorded in Los Angeles and co-produced by Ray Charles. It is a skilful brass-led mix of jazz and funk performed by such cult players as bassist Larry Gales (Thelonious Monk), drummer Clarence Johnston (Freddie Roach, James Moody), Saxophonist Herman Riley (Side Effect, Pleasure, Earth Wind & Fire, Letta Mbulu), guitarists Jef Lee (Roy Ayers, Sylvia Striplin) and cult player Calvin Keys of Black Jazz Records fame.

From the groove of "Rockin Julius", "Shetter Cheeze" and "Black Flag" to the mid-tempo Jazz mood of "Cooling It" and "C.P. Time" and the cinematic brass pyrotechnics of "The Speech Maker", "Windows Of The Mind" is a superb funked up big band jazz album.

"Windows of the Mind" did reasonably well among the jazz circles when it came out but its fate would change fifteen years later when, in 1990, A Tribe Called Quest heavily sampled its closing track "Fourty Days" for their own "Luck of Lucien" featured on the group's debut album "People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm." The album revolutionised hip hop and "Luck Of Lucien" became one of the album's highlights, thus cementing the reputation of Billy Brooks original LP among DJs and collectors. Original LPs now change hands for a few hundred dollars.

Wewantsounds is now glad to make this landmark album available again in partnership with The Ray Charles Foundation, with newly remastered audio and striking original artwork.

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