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"Following the appetizer of the two 12" singles "Trinidad (Disco Mix)" and "JOuvert," EM Records now serves up the main dish, the fine 1977 album Steel Funk by John Gibbs And The Unlimited Sound Of Steel Orchestra, a new addition to the "EM Steel Pan Series." Trinidadian steel-pan player John A. Gibbs studied science at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees and formed The Jamaica All Stars Steel Band. This was the start of a dual career in science and music that eventually took him to the United States. He moved to Philadelphia in the mid-70s and met Philly arranger/producer Louis A. deLise, with whom he collaborated to create a new steel pan music, welding Trinidadian steel music to Philly soul. He researched and advocated a new style of steel pan music, describing the steel pan as an "omnivibraphone" in his 1978 book The Unit Steel Band, in which he combined his scientific and musical backgrounds to illuminate the physics of the steel pan. Gibbs innate musicality comes to the fore on Steel Funk, where he compiles several years of experience with deLise into an appealing Trini-Philly groove union, with the five steel pan players of the Unlimited Sound Of Steel Orchestra working in sync with a 30-piece studio orchestra of brass, strings and rhythm. The songs range from Calypso to film theme to pop standard, covers and originals, but Steel Funk is not a chintzy pastiche, its a glorious unity. EM Records offers this re-release as "the 2014 version," newly remastered, with improved sound quality, a different track order, and new cover art drawn by Yoshihiro Tsuyama/2Yang. NOTE: All tracks are NOT duplicated on the two 12" singles "Trinidad (Disco Mix)" and "JOuvert." - EM.

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