Personnel: Esther Phillips (vocals); Charlie Brown (guitar); Manny Vardi (violin, viola); Paul Gershmann, Charles Libove, David Nadien, Matthew Raimondi, Max Ellen, Emanuel Green (violin); Al Brown, Harold Coletta (viola); Charles McCracken , George Ricci (cello); Hubert Laws (flute); Jerry Dodgion (alto saxophone); Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone); John Gatchell, Jon Faddis, Marvin Stamm (trumpet, flugelhorn); Urbie Green (trombone); Richard Wyands (piano); Richard Tee, Bob James (keyboards); Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums); Ralph MacDonald (percussion); Pee Wee Ellis (chimes).
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (05/1974).
Photographer: William Cadge.
Originally released in 1974, Performance is the fourth of seven albums that vocalist Esther Phillips recorded for Kudu, an offshoot of Creed Taylor's CTI label. Arranged and conducted by Pee Wee Ellis with assistance from Eugene McDaniels and Taylor, the session assembles a celebrated choice of soul, fusion, and mainstream jazz musicians including, Bob James, Richard Tee, Hubert Laws, Bernard Purdie, Pepper Adams, and Michael Brecker. Highlights among the eight songs include the tack piano romp through Dr. John's "Such a Night," the gospel-inspired "Living Alone (We're Going to Make It)," and funky readings of Isaac Hayes and David Porter's "Can't Trust Your Neighbor with Your Baby," "Doing Our Thing," and, surprisingly, Jerry Jeff Walker's classic composition "Mr. Bojangles." While Performance has been remastered and retains the original album art, there are no bonus tracks. ~ Al Campbell