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Harry Whitaker is a piano player, producer and arranger who on MLK day 1976, at the age of 26, recorded Black Renaissance Body, Mind, and Spirit, a holy grail amongst collectors of soul-jazz and rare groove. So rare, its virtually a myth to many collectors and music aficionados.
Made up of two long tracks that periodically build and release for forty minutes over two sides of an LP its an improvised masterpiece combining Afrocentric spiritual soul, jazz, poetry, amazing solos, a tasty bass line or two and more than a fair share of funky beats. Its also one of the earliest albums to feature rapping. I called the project Black Renaissance because that is what I wanted to see happen especially in music.
Given its rarity, when asked if he was surprised that people knew about the album Whitaker jokes Ive told enough people about it over the years! Now they can actually hear it. It was a record before its time.
Harry Whitaker cut his teeth on the best of the Roy Ayers Ubiquity releases (including playing keys on We Live In Brooklyn Baby and co-producing the Coffy OST) on and making a living working closely with Roberta Flack as her musical director, even playing on her big Eugene McDaniels written hit I Feel Like Makin Love. Black Renaissance Body, Mind, and Spirit, was his first attempt at a project where he wrote and composed the music and played keys on all tracks.