Alan Tew's driving jazz-rock, sleuth-funk masterpiece, Drama Suite Part I is finally reissued to sate your appetites for arguably the very best library two-parter in existence. If you don’t know, get to know. Originally released in 1976 but wonderfully timeless, Drama Suite Part I is at the top of every library funk collectors' list. It's easy to see why...
Racing out the gate, the gritty crime funk of "The Detectives" makes for a thrilling, wild ride. A dramatic action theme, it's packed with strident playing and bags of attitude. There follows 10 (ten!) drama-tinged, horn-heavy, wah-wah-laced, conga-enhanced, synth-riddled links for neat segues and maximum funk fever. "Helicop" is another fast paced and energetic dramatic action background with great breaks and horns. "The Big One (Prelude)" has an ace bassline and creeps along superbly to create expectation and contains an amazing rolling piano loop that just stops you dead in your tracks. It's all building to "The Big One", a driving, dramatic, full-band action with fantastic funk breaks, heavy horns and *that* piano refrain. It was sampled by Jay-Z, and you can't really blame him, can you? The brief, tense "Headlights" and (even briefer) burner "The Burn" add some - you guessed it - deep drama over insistent rhythms to close out Side A.
Flip over for "The Detectives (Slow Version)", a relaxed, thoughtful version featuring synths. You might recognise it as being sampled by Domo Genesis and Evidence for "Tallulah" from their brilliant collaboration a few years ago. "The Detectives (Interlude)" is another slow, pensive version featuring electric piano and a trombone solo in the centre section. There follows 6 further links, Detectives versions essentially, with guitars, electric pianos, flugelhorns - all very cool and relaxed rhythms. The strutting majesty of big-time highlight "The Build Up" is next. It's a medium-slow drama background with occasional light statements of The Detectives theme peppered throughout. Nice. The fantastically-titled "Snout" is a slow, tense background theme which features a repetitive guitar figure with alto flutes over the top. The tense, stabby funk of "The Prowler" rounds out proceedings, with nervous figures over a slow, insistent cymbal beat.
As with all of our KPM re-issues, the audio for Drama Suite Part I comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. And as usual, the sleeve reproduction duties were handed over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity. We're not quite sure what else to say about this landmark record, other than, get it!