While catching up on Simon Harrison’s Basic Soul podcast this weekend, he plays Gene Harris‘s brilliant 1975 “Los Alamitos Latin Funk Love Song,” a track that would permeate the airwaves of London rare groove house parties back in the late 80s through to now. Harris, a Jazz pianist, had a career that spanned over 50 years, where he formed the group Three Sounds and recorded for Blue Note and Verge labels between 1956 – 1970. By 1977, he retired to Boise, Idaho and was largely forgotten. But not for long. Double bassist and cellist, Ray Brown persuaded him to play with his group the Ray Brown Trio, which lead Harris to record with Concord Records, tour with Phillip Morris Superband, and his 1998 album, Tribute to Count Basie, received a Grammy nomination.
Hearing “Los Alamitos Latin Funk Love Song” reminded me of a Broken Beat mix from 2004, where the sleepy bassline of track starts and take us through a sexy groove. By the 3:30 minute mark, “Los Alamitos” switches gears and moves into something truly amazing. The rework was provided by UK collective Bugz in the Attic, who maintain the original’s elements but later flip the track into a broken beat staple, adding a heavier bassline, more percussion, violin arrangements, and vocals by Bembé Segué, that gush over the track like a sea breeze. It is pure Muphoric Sounds — a perfect illustration of our tagline ‘Shining light on the new, and keeping the past present.’ Unfortunately, Gene Harris passed January 2000 awaiting a liver transplant. He was not able bask in the joy of hearing the resurgence of his music interpreted by a new generation. Check it out below.