Article By Howard Duke
Grover Washington Jr. made a trip to the great northwest and heard a funk band that the world needed to know about. Washington connected the band with the Crusaders’ Wayne Henderson who helped the land a record deal in the mid 1970’s. By the decade Pleasure had a top 10 R&B hit on their hands with the song “Glide” that was featured on their album Future Now.
“Glide” was Pleasure’s biggest hit, and that tune has only risen in stature over the last 40 years. Nathaniel Phillips’ work on the bass is a big reason why “Glide” ranks high on the play lists of funk fans. In fact, the record has become the kind of proving ground for funk bassists that “Giant Steps” is for jazz saxophonists. Don’t believe me? Go You Tube and check out the bass players of all stripes seek to channel Phillips.
Forty years is a long time in the music industry, and Pleasure had to confront the kind of things that can happen to a band in the 37 years since the band’s last album. Band members went their separate ways and found the kind of work as session musicians that befit their abilities. The band’s original drummer, Bruce Carter, passed away in 2006.
Now the band has reunited and will drop a new album, Now Is the Time, on their own label. The reconstituted Pleasure mainstays includes Phillips, Michael Hepburn (keyboard), Dennis Springer (saxophone) and newcomers Brian Foxworth, Douglas Lewis and Tiffany Wilson.
The band has released two new singles, “For Your Pleasure” and mid-tempo steppers duet “One More Time.” “For Your Pleasure” is a funk tune that serves as a call for people to get off the wall and move to the dance floor. With Phillips providing an ample amount of bounce from the bottom, the kind of tightly coordinated horn work that was part of the music soundtrack of the 1970s, jazz fusion inspired keyboard work by Hepburn and lyrics will let you know that the party is on.
“One More Time” is Pleasure’s take on the story of two old flames running into each other and coming to the realization that they have more possibilities to explore. The tune is a mid-tempo cut enough bass to keep the party jumping, but also with a story of lost and rediscovered romance that will raise the sentimental level to 10 plus.