Human Feel's sophomore album, Scatter, is filled with tremendous and passionately performed avant jazz, but its importance comes mainly from being the first widely available CD (thanks to Gunther Schuller's GM Recordings label) featuring then-newcomers Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Chris Speed (tenor sax), Andrew D'Angelo (alto sax), and Jim Black (drums). The presence of bassist Joe Fitzgerald is also noteworthy for a couple of reasons: he's a highly skilled and expressive player here (as he would also prove years later in Ballin' the Jack, and he left Human Feel after this CD and was not replaced.
Between 1976 and 1979, Jimmy McGriff was often featured in the disco-style productions of Groove Merchant house arranger Brad Baker. The records usually surrounded the great organist with a huge army of studio musicians, big horn sections, string parts and often heard McGriff playing keyboards other than organ. THE MEAN MACHINE, from 1976, was the first of these productions and McGriff doesn't even play organ here.
After a series of sugary soul-jazz dates for Blue Note, Reuben Wilson resurfaced on Groove Merchant with The Sweet Life. The title notwithstanding, the session is his darkest and hardest-edged to date, complete with a physicality missing from previous efforts. Credit tenor saxophonist Ramon Morris, trumpeter Bill Hardman, guitarist Lloyd Davis, bassist Mickey Bass, and drummer Thomas Derrick, whose skin-tight grooves sand away the polished contours of Wilson's organ solos to reveal their diamond-sharp corners. The material, while predictable (i.e., standbys like "Inner City Blues" and "Never Can Say Goodbye"), is nevertheless well suited to the set's righteous funk sound.
Documentary focuses on the workers of the General Motors Assembly Plant in Moraine, Ohio - which opened in 1981, and churned out an average of 280,000 small trucks and SUVs a year - from the announcement a year ago that the Plant will be closing, to its last day on December 23, 2008, just two days before Christmas. While the workers are shocked that they will be losing their jobs, we quickly see they are also losing much more: the pride they share in their work, the camaraderie built through the years, and the shared concerns about what their collective futures will hold. As the major industry in Moraine closes its doors for good, many see its demise as an indication of the changing American manufacturing landscape, which seems to be dying as products are increasingly being made elsewhere. The film offers a snapshot of a moment in America where we may be seeing the end of the blue-collar middle class.