Thursday, Jul 31 2003 | 12:23

“House music is a spiritual thing, it’s a body thing, it’s a soul thing,” is rather an appropriate quote from Eddie Amador’s ‘House Music’ (Yoshitoshi) monologue, and one I feel puts a little clearer perspective on maestro Larry Heard. He is of the only true inaugural and innovative talents of this aged music, some people would argue to be called House.

Since his first appearance in the Dance arena with the cult classic ‘Mystery Of Love’ under his Mr Fingers moniker, the world of Larry and his music quintessential in its uniqueness is, unlike many of his peers. Heard, in part has been responsible for those formative years in House making it what it is today. Templates made up of four-on-the-floor beats shaping a track around the programmed creativity of a producer. And in many cases turned into a song, so lending more life to it’s emergence on the music buyers of Dance. Many out there think of Larry Heard as the multi-keyboardist, but his forte lie in his talents as a drummer and percussionist. Doing his apprenticeship in many local funk, rock, R n’ B and reggae bands as far back as ’77, unwittingly layed down a path before him he would never forget. Some, of his greatest works are with Robert Owens and Ron Davis as Fingers Inc. ‘Never No More Lonely’ ‘Distant Planet’ or ‘A Love Of My Life’ suddenly spring to mind. Critics would really have a hard choice in making their choice selection of cuts by “Loose Fingers” as Larry’s younger brother nicknamed him because of his nimbleness on the decks dj’ing and toying of synthesisers. Continuing to experiment with his music, Larry who composes lyrics as well in various styles has also done numerous writing, production or remix work. His music, which he describes as “atmospheric” and “passionate” – perfect adverbs methinks, has seen a multitude of labels like Capitol, Mercury, Warner Brothers and other majors knocking on his door over the years. A cracking eleven or so albums to date, which is refreshingly healthy considering the many horror stories that can tend to overshadow dance music generally, clearly demonstrates his somewhat tenacious love and empowerment of music.

Larry comments “I always get a positive response when I let people hear my music rather than trying to describe it”. Now there’s a proverb if ever I wanted some worthy inspiration.

Words By Marcia Carr, Garage Net

Larry Heard’s all time five greatest tunes:

Sly & The Family Stone “Hot Fun In The Summertime” (Epic, 1969)

One of the first 45’s I ever bought (by saving the change I was given to use for lunch money) even though I don’t know whether it was THE first, I do remember buying the 45 when Epic used the “squashed” oval sort of “sun” logo on yellow background. The beginnings of an addiction (record buying).

Sly & The Family Stone “Thank you (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” (Epic, 1970)

I had apparently taken a liking to Sly & The Family Stone though I was probably kind of young for their content. Most kids my age were coaxing their parents to buy records by The Jackson 5, therefore the pattern of non-conformance” which gradually became more apparent to friends and family was revealing itself at this tender age and would lead to great confusion for my parents (my mother especially) and siblings. I couldn’t stop playing the “B” side (Everybody is a star) of the record.

Parliament “Chocolate City” (Casablanca, 1974)

The song really caught my attention in regards to what was being said and probably provoked me to really pay attention from that point forward to the lyrical content of the music that I was listening to. The forthcoming Parliament LP’s were picked up the minute they hit the shelves of the record store, which became a regular visiting place for me.

Return to Forever “Medieval Overture” (Columbia, 1976)

After being introduced to more complex musical selections by a friend who was already playing drums at the time (and was raised by people who were into Coltrane, Miles Davis and other artists of this elevated calibre), new dimensions of musical possibilities became apparent to me that were outside of the typical selections played on radio. I started seeking out more “unique” selections for my personal listening use.

Happy The Man “Happy The Man” (Arista, 1977)

Anyone out there that finds themselves wondering why Larry Heard seems to be such a tricky person to figure out (join the club) would probably get some insight from hearing this album. I ran out and picked up the LP after hearing a track called “Stumpy meets the firecracker in the stencil forest” on a station that played “Jazz-Fusion” around that time in Chicago (I can’t remember the call letters of the station). I started playing drums this year also, therefore I was in the market for music I could learn things from. Between this radio station and my developing relationships with other young aspiring musicians I’ve heard, practised and purchased some music that a lot of people would find “strange” at the least.

Other selections from Larry include:

(LP’s)

Roxy & Elsewhere / Zappa & Mothers (Discreet – 1974)
Visions of the Emerald Beyond / Mahavishnu Orchestra (Columbia – 1975)
Hardcore Jollies / Funkadelic (Warner Bros. – 1976)
From Me to You / George Duke (Epic – 1977)
Light as a Feather / Azymuth (Milestone – 1979)

Album Tracks:

Take a stroll though your mind / The Temptations (Motown?)
Get down / Curtis Mayfield (1972?)
Aja / Steely Dan (1977)

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