Earth Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey honors one of his greatest falsetto influences, Curtis Mayfield, with a cover of “Billy Jack” set to appear on his upcoming solo album, Love Will Find a Way, out June 21st via Verve Records.
Bailey puts a dark soul spin on “Billy Jack,” transforming the reggae-tinged original into a brooding groover that mixes West African influences with orchestral flourishes and even takes a turn towards the psychedelic. Bailey imbues his falsetto with a potent mix of tenderness and pain as he croons the murder ballad, “Too bad about him/Too sad about him/Don’t get me wrong/The man is gone/But it’s a wonder he lived this long.”
Along with vocals, Bailey provided percussion for his cover of “Billy Jack,” which also features Kendrick Scott on drums and Robert Glasper on keys. Glasper co-produced the song as well.
Love Will Find a Way marks Bailey’s first solo offering in 17 years, following his 2002 jazz record, Soul on Jazz. The musician crafted the LP with an array of collaborators including Kamasi Washington, Will.i.am, Bilal, Chick Corea, Steve Gadd, Chistian McBride, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Casey Benjamin.
In a statement, Bailey explained that he was inspired to record Love Will Find a Way after becoming aware of the the new jazz generation, led by artists like Glasper and Washington (Bailey even realized he’d long-known Washington’s father, the woodwinds player Rickey Washington, from church).
“Artists like Robert and Kamasi and Christian, they embrace the nuances of jazz and its historical value, but they’ve really infused the game with new possibilities,” Bailey said. “And I’ve been the recipient of infusion.”
Bailey will play a handful of shows in support of Love Will Find Away this June, with shows scheduled in Atlanta, Washington D.C., Nashville and Boston. He’ll also spend much of the spring and summer on tour with Earth, Wind & Fire.
Love Will Find a Way Track List
1. “Billy Jack” ft. Robert Glasper
2. “You’re Everything” ft. Chick Corea
3. “We’re a Winner” ft. Bilal
4. “Stairway To The Stars” ft. Christian Scott and Christian McBride
5. “Brooklyn Blues”
6. “Once In A Lifetime”
7. “Just To Keep You Satisfied”
8. “Sacred Sounds” ft. Kamasi Washington and Robert Glasper
9. “Long As You’re Living” ft. Christian McBride
10. “Love Will Find A Way” ft. Casey Benjamin
Phililp Bailey Tour Dates
June 3 – Atlanta, GA @ City Winery
June 5 – Washington, D.C. @ City Winery
June 6 – Nashville, TN @ City Winery
June 19 – Boston, MA @ City Winery