When two legendary artists decide to collaborate on a very special one-song project, the results are expected to be magical. So the pairing of vocalist Mark Kibble, the 15 time Grammy award winning singer known for his brilliant work as the lead arranger of Take 6, along with guitarist Steve Khan gave good reason for such excitement.
That they chose to reinterpret singer/songwriter Shuggie Otis’ Island Letter from his 1973 album “INSPIRATION INFORMATION” conjured up thoughts that anything might be possible on this musical journey. In a business where categories become essential, music writers classified Shuggie’s music as “Psychedelic Soul.” Here the Kibble-Khan tandem creates a musical impression that will also stretch the boundaries of labels.
Steve Khan set about the task of creating an arrangement that would feature his identifiable style on acoustic guitar, supported by his signature Strat orchestrations, and would become a part of the musical foundation with the sense of a wondrous satin pillow of harmony and rhythm that finds Mark Kibble’s voice and sensuous harmonies as the jewel resting on top. Even after all these years, it becomes hard to imagine that one person, one vocalist, Mark Kibble could actually create every single voice that is heard within this performance, but that is what you are now listening to.
The realization of this musical adventure was completed by the spectacular keyboard playing and orchestral sonorities of Rob Mounsey, an artist who has been working with Steve since 1979. The pulsing 5-String Electric Bass was supplied by the incomparable Rubén Rodríguez. The final percussive touches were added by the remarkable talents of Marc Quiñones on conga, timbal, bongó, güiro and maracas. All of these great, great players are longtime collaborators with Khan.
Recently, after a string of ground-breaking albums in the Latin Jazz vein, Steve Khan was labeled as “the voice of the guitar in Latin Jazz!” An honor that he wears proudly, and now, in its way, the spell weaved by “Island Letter” only adds to that legacy.
In these times, it is rare that artists might be able to release one song, a single, but this is the case, and Blue Canoe Records is proud to be the label to bring this extraordinary song performance to the public.