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Pacific Express - On Time

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Pacific Express

On Time

World Seven

Expected: 26th January 2018 | 10 track jazz-funk album

Pacific Express emerged from Cape Town, South Africa in the 1970s. The band were from the so called Coloured community and were ground breakers in both musical and political arenas. The founder members Paul Abrahams (Bass), Jack Momple (Drums) and Issy Ariefdien (Guitar) were joined by Chris Schilder (Piano), Vic Higgins (Pecussion), Barney Rachabane (Alto Sax), Stompie Manana (Trumpet) and Zayn Adams & Kitty Tshikana on vocals for their second album On Time in 1978.

On several occasions the group fell foul of Apartheid laws and discrimination by the state broadcaster, SABC. On one occasion they were asked to leave the stage of an international tour by Australian act John Paul Young, because the law forbade racially mixed performers on the same stage. The promoter, management and band members all resisted and once he incident made the Australian newspapers the authorities had little choice and turned a blind eye.

And so to the music. The most important thing. The LP opens up with the slick jazz-boogie funk of We Got A Good Thing Going On, a perfect vehicle for the vocals of Zayn and the statement-of-intent, on-point musicianship of the band.

I Hear Music is the first of three smooth sweet string-laden ballads to feature on the LP. The majority of the songs on the LP were written by keyboard player Chris Schilder. As well as high-craft songwriting Chris also contributes layers of effortless musicality with his Rhodes and piano. Good Old Days (the only cover on the LP) is next and its smooth-rock grooves swing effortlessly to the fore. The A-Side of the vinyl closes with the instrumental jazz funk of Saturday Night.

The flip side of the album opens with the bands biggest commercial success. A sweet soul ballad penned Give a Little Love. Stepping outside their usual sound. This hit however was not without controversy as the video was removed from the TV airways after the South Africa Broadcasting Corp realised that the group were of mixed race, which was against rules for so called local artists in public performance at the time.

Dream follows on with the driving jazz rock and travelling keyboard solos. Reaching Out For Love is a power-pop boogie groover powered by guest vocalists Erica Lundy and Kitty.

Say The Last Goodbye is the last of the trio of ballads. A smooth style moment sounding all the bit like a 70's US TV drama closing theme. The LP features with a funky workout where the band show off their chops and slick level of musicianship.

Besides the success in southern Africa this album became a regional hit as a pirated music cassette in Nigeria. It was also released in France and Japan.

The band would go on to record one further LP in 1979 and a single in 1981. They carried on performing however well pass that. Throughout their years together the band acted as central hub for Jazz musicians within the Cape Town area. Players as Tony Cedras, Jonathan Butler and Alvin Dyers gaining experience alongside established names such as trumpeter Stompie Manana and alto saxman Barney Rachabane.

Here at World Seven we are ever so pleased to be re-releasing what we consider the bands finest album moment.