Rafael Cruz - conga; Larry Fisher - drums; Bobby Sukamoto - bass; Buzzy Feiten - guitar; Neil Larsen - keyboards
In between touring and/or recording with the likes of Kenny Loggins, George Harrison, Tim Weissberg, Ricky Lee Jones, and Randy Newman, Neil Larsen has managed to maintain an active solo jazz career, with a steady stream of gorgeous instrumental discs. His solo works include High Gear, Full Moon, Through Any Window, and Jungle Fever, the album for which this tour was launched.
Recorded at the legendary Bottom Line club in New York City and taped as a radio broadcast on WNEW, this show features three songs from his initial Horizon/A&M Records release. "Sudden Samba," "Windsong," and "Message From Beyond" may not show the full scope of his ability as a keyboardist, but they certainly feature his deep love for Latin and percussive music. "Sudden Samba" is driven by the fury of conga player Rafael Cruz and drummer Larry Fisher. Larsen's keyboard work on the organ is reminiscent of both Brian Auger and Keith Emerson, while still having stylistic merits all its own.
Larsen was born in Cleveland but moved to Sarasota, Florida as a young boy. He was trained on piano, and soon became a fan of both jazz and the rising rock scene. As a keyboardist, he was greatly influenced by the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and the MJQ. In 1969, he was drafted and sent to Vietnam, but was able to land a position as a band director, overseeing armed forces bands.
When his duty was over, he moved to New York and hooked up with guitarist Buzzy Feiten, a life-long musical associate. Feiten is also showcased on this recording, and the two had several successful groups together. In 1975, Larsen began touring with Gregg Allman's first solo band. From there, he balanced his solo career with a number of high profile musical associations, including working as musical director and keyboard for jazz icon, Al Jarreau.