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Heavy Friends
Saturday February 19th, 2022 with Heavy Ben
Black History Month spotlight on The Mizell Brothers

The name Mizell may not set bells ringing in every household, but to those of us who devour the small print on the backs of record sleeves, they’re legends, a family that made its mark on music as firmly as any. The Mizells penned famous early hits for the Jackson 5, ushered jazz and funk breathlessly into each other’s arms (complete with synthesizers), and were responsible for the odd disco hit. Larry also found time to help put a man on the moon, but that’s another story. The sibling duo of Larry and Alphonso “Fonce” Mizell revolutionized the sound and shape of jazz-funk. Fusing the commercial sensibilities of Motown with the virtuoso musicianship of the Blue Note stable, the brothers produced a series of now-classic LPs of uncommon beauty and elegance, characterized by soaring horns, cosmic synths, celestial string arrangements and sublime rhythms. While jazz purists reviled their efforts, time has conclusively proven the Mizells’ singular genius, their records among the most sampled and celebrated within contemporary hip-hop culture. Byrd’s 1973 LP Black Byrd was the first official Sky High effort – the best-selling Blue Note release in the company’s long and storied history, it earned a Grammy nomination and immediately established the Mizells’ signature approach to jazz, which drew heavily on the sleek sensibility now dominating mainstream R&B. In addition to their work in the production booth, the siblings regularly played on Sky High sessions as well, with Fonce typically contributing clavinet and trumpet while Larry added piano and synthesizer. They also arranged and performed the distinctive harmony vocals that remain a trademark of their sound. The Mizells’ acknowledged masterpiece, Byrd’s concept album "Street Lady", and flutist Bobbi Humphrey’s landmark "Blacks and Blues" were released in 1973, and the siblings maintained their frenetic creative pace across much of the decade, helming sessions including Johnny Hammond’s "Gambler’s Life" & "Gears", Byrd’s "Stepping Into Tomorrow" & "Places and Spaces" and Gary Bartz’s "Music Is My Sanctuary". The Mizells also crossed back into commercial R&B with A Taste of Honey, notching the disco classic “Boogie Oogie Oogie.” Although the brothers signed their own recording deal with Warner Bros., they preferred the anonymity of writing and producing, and with the dawn of 1980s the Mizells entered an extended creative hiatus that continues to this day. Their classic productions remain a fertile source of hip-hop samples. Happy 78th birthday to Larry Mizell this week. Larry was born Feb 17, 1944. Fonce was born in 1943 and died in 2011.
Hour one
Black Byrd
Donald Byrd - Black Byrd - Blue Note - 1972
Winding Roads
Gary Bartz - The Shadow Do - Prestige - 1975
A Taste of Honey - A Taste Of Honey - Capitol - 1978
Wigs And Lashes
The Miracles - Renaissance - Motown - 1973
Love To The World
L.T.D. - Love To The World - A&M - 1976
My Little Girl
Bobbi Humphrey - Satin Doll - Blue Note - 1974
Edwin Starr - Hell Up in Harlem - Motown - 1974
Peace Of Mind
The Rance Allen Group - Say My Friend - Capitol - 1977
Hash and Eggs
The Blackbyrds - City Life - Fantasy - 1975
It's Great To Be Here
The Jackson 5 - Maybe Tomorrow - Motown - 1971
Lansana's Priestess
Donald Byrd - Street Lady - Blue Note - 1973
Star Borne
Johnny Hammond - Gambler's Life - Salvation - 1974
Margie Evans - 7" - Buddah - 1974
Hour two
Out On The Streets Again
Etta James - Come A Little Closer - Chess - 1974
Don't Leave
Roger Glenn - Reachin' - Fantasy - 1976
Places and Spaces
Donald Byrd - Places and Spaces - Blue Note - 1975
Harlem River Drive
Bobbi Humphrey - Blacks and Blues - Blue Note - 1973
Music Is My Sanctuary
Gary Bartz - Music Is My Sanctuary - Capitol - 1977
Mary Wells - In And Out Of Love - Epic - 1981
Child in the World
Elaine Brown - Elaine Brown - Black Forum - 1973
When I'm With You
Brenda Lee Eager - 7" - Mercury - 1974
Where Are We Going?
Marvin Gaye - You're The Man - Tamla / Motown - 2019 (rec. 1972)
Bless You
Martha & The Vandellas - 7" - Gordy - 1971
Shifting Gears
Johnny Hammond - Gears - Milestone - 1975
Makin' It
Donald Byrd - Stepping Into Tomorrow - Blue Note - 1974
Funky Junkie
The Blackbyrds - The Blackbyrds - Fantasy - 1974
Mestizo Eyes
Bobbi Humphrey - Fancy Dancer - Blue Note - 1975
Interactive CKCU
Ben Armstrong (host)
Welcome to Heavy Friends. If you're here Sat Feb 19, click LISTEN NOW at the top left to hear the program. CKCU's live stream is not playing. Or go to your radio and tune in to FM 93.1. Thanks for listening and enjoy the tunes...

8:00 PM, February 19th, 2022
Thanks for the Mizell spotlight Ben …great education on early funk.

8:30 PM, February 19th, 2022
Dandy Rayment (bubble)
Bonsoir de Montréal! Love that Donal Byrd track at the beginning of the show. Keep the grooves comin.

8:30 PM, February 19th, 2022
Ben Armstrong (host)
Good to hear from you Eddy and that you're diggin' the funk

8:36 PM, February 19th, 2022
Ben Armstrong (host)
Salut bulle d'Montréal. Aren't you free from government grounding yet?

8:38 PM, February 19th, 2022
Dandy Rayment (bubble)
Oh yes, the bubble outlasts the mandate. The bubble is eternal.

8:46 PM, February 19th, 2022
Quality entertainment you’ve provided this evening.

8:58 PM, February 19th, 2022
Ben Armstrong (host)
Thanks DJR, I have a Gary Bartz track for you in a few

9:02 PM, February 19th, 2022
Chris I.

9:03 PM, February 19th, 2022
Jas Nasty
Sounding nice Ben

9:11 PM, February 19th, 2022
Ben Armstrong (host)
Hey Chris. Thought you might like as there is more flute than sax.

9:19 PM, February 19th, 2022
Ben Armstrong (host)
Thanks Jas, nice to hear from you

9:19 PM, February 19th, 2022
Ben Armstrong (host)
This Gary Bartz song could be a theme for many of us

9:22 PM, February 19th, 2022
This Bartz album is currrently en route to my house. Great tunes!

9:23 PM, February 19th, 2022
Flute rules, sax drools. Bobbi would agree!

9:53 PM, February 19th, 2022
hot music Ben!!

9:56 PM, February 19th, 2022
Ben Armstrong (host)
Thanks mikep!

9:56 PM, February 19th, 2022
Ben Armstrong (host)
One more tune from Bobbi as the flute sees us out. Bon nuit...

9:58 PM, February 19th, 2022