BGO’s 2015 three-fer combines three albums Narada Michael Walden recorded for Atlantic in the late ’70s and early ’80s: 1979’s The Dance of Life, 1980’s Victory, and 1982’s Confidence.

These three records found the fusion drummer moving firmly into R&B territory, trading on the bright pulse of disco but also the slick surfaces of fusion, not to mention the tighter song structures of soul. The trick to all three records is that none of them belong to any one of these styles: Walden stitches together elements of each to create a smooth groove that’s very much of its time yet also prescient, pointing the way to the hits he’d produce for Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin.

The Dance of Life Victory Confidence

Narada Michael Walden – The Dance of Life/Victory/Confidence [2007]

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