Before tricking out albums by Radiohead, Bjork, and David Bowie, British producer and arranger Nick Ingman cut his teeth orchestrating records for genteel pop personas like Olivia Newton John and Sacha Distel. Young Ingman had a much stronger affinity for jazz and psychedelic pop, however, so these MOR gigs left his creativity unfulfilled. It’s no surprise, then, that this playfully subversive, commercially unviable affair resulted when, in 1973, he was first given complete creative control over a project. A team of crack sessions musicians tackling Ingman’s arrangements of hits by Stevie Wonder, Laura Nyro, the Beatles, and others, the Gentle Rain turned their material inside out, dousing these tunes in wonky Moog, smoky Latin percussion, and melancholic flugelhorn (courtesy of revered jazzman Kenny Wheeler). Truly chilling atmospherics and deft solos elevate this reissue above the status of kitschy mood music or beatdigger fodder.
// Notes from the Road
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