Perception Productions was a New York based label that released records from the late 60s through 1974. Their catalog is an eclectic collection of jazz, funk, soul and proto-disco. The label's roster provides a snapshot of the Manhattan black music scene of the period, featuring established greats alongside up and coming acts. Early on they were lucky enough to sign artists like Shirley Horn, James Moody and Dizzy Gillespie. Gillespie released two albums for the label, his label debut The Real Thing funked up the legendary trumpet players sound and put him in more of a contemporary setting. It's a rare groove masterpiece that includes the sought after "Matrix" (sampled most famously by the Beatnuts for their "World's Famous"). Along with breathing new life into the careers of jazz masters, Perception made forays into the world of soul and funk. They signed up Bill Curtis from the Fatback Band and a young producer from Harlem called Patrick Adams. The latter started working with Jon Bartel to produce the funk rock of "Naturally Good" and the break heavy "You've Just Been Bitten." But Adams' greatest moments at the label came with Black Ivory and the influential musical genius of Leroy Burgess. The Black Ivory tracks featured here come from their sophomore album for Today, Don't Turn Around. Bill Curtis and the Fatback Band came up through New York street funk and moved into a more disco informed sound. Their breakthrough came when "Going To See My Baby" was picked out by New York's number one soul DJ Frankie Crocker. From there they went on to release many disco funk hits. Aside from the big artists and producers mentioned above Perception and Today were home to many one off acts as well. Whether it's the Jackson 5 aspirations of the Eight Minutes or the soulful pop of Bobby Rydell, there is plenty of quality material to take in. Thankfully DJ Spinna has done another stellar job for BBE and separated the wheat from the chaff for the rest of us. Recommended.
reviewed by Joey Coco 11/2012