Karma was an American Latin-jazz/funk super-group from Los Angeles that released two albums on A&M/Horizon in 1976 and 1977.
Members: George Bohanon (trombone, bass trombone, baritone horn, vocals), Ernie Watts (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute), Oscar Brashear (trumpet), Curtis Robertson Jr. (bass), Chuck Rainey (bass), Josef Blocker (drums, vocals), Leon “Ndugu” Chancler (drums), Vander “Stars” Lockett (percussion, vocals), Syreeta Wright (vocals), Deniece Williams (vocals)
Karma was assembled in 1976 by keyboardist/composer Reggie Andrews, formerly of Willie Bobo and The Bo-Gents. The seven-man band included the veteran talents of saxophonist Ernie Watts (Harvey Mason, Blue Mitchell, George Duke, Jane Getz, Zulema), trombonist George Bohanon (The Doors, Maxine Weldon, Billy Preston, Willie Hutch, The Temptations, Funk, Inc.), and trumpeter Oscar Brashear (Donny Hathaway, Earth, Wind and Fire, Bobby Hutcherson, Henry Franklin, Patrice Rushen, The Blackbyrds).
Andrews composed most of the material with bassist Curtis Robertson Jr., a sideman of Gary Bartz. Both Karma albums were co-produced by Andrews and Bohanon.
Karma released its first album, Celebration, on A&M’s Harvest imprint in 1976. Side one features five cuts, including “Kwanzaa,” “Funk de Mambo,” and “Karma,” the last of those featuring Deniece Williams and Syreeta Wright on vocals. Wright is honored on side two’s Syreeta Suite, a four-part epic that clocks in at 11:40. The album is rounded by the nine-minute “Amani.”
The Celebration sessions took place at Burbank’s Kendun Recorders with engineer Geoff Sykes (Black Merda, Minnie Riperton, Terry Callier, WAR, Side Effect, Tata Vega) and at Hollywood’s Total Experience Studios with engineer F. Byron Clark (Blacksmoke, New Birth, Ronnie Laws, Pleasure, Brainstorm, Patrice Rushen). The colorful cover art was designed by Roland Young, whose contemporaneous credits include albums by Elkie Brooks, Lewis Furey, Sonny Fortune, The Tubes (The Tubes), Styx, and Rick Wakeman.
Karma’s second Harvest release, For Everybody, appeared in 1977. Side two begins with the lengthy (8:47) “Abundance,” which features Andrews on Mini Moog, Clavinet, and gong in addition to piano and Fender Rhodes. The album also features nine shorter numbers, including “Surrender,” “All Love Needs,” “Difference of Opinion,” and “I Heard Somebody Say.”
Recordings once again took place at Kendun and Total Experience with additional engineering by Ty Blair (Gap Band, D. J. Rogers, Marlena Shaw, YBS) and Anthony Modster (Ohio Players, Leslie Drayton Orchestra). The cover image is by famed photographer Jim McCrary, who also took cover photos for albums by Merry Clayton, Billy Preston, Lenny Williams, Randy Crawford, The Brothers Johnson, and Johnny Guitar Watson.
Andrews co-produced the first five albums by Patrice Rushen (1974–79) and the first six by the Dazz Band (1980–84). He also handled keyboards and arrangements in The Chocolate Jam Co. Bohanon’s subsequent credits include albums by Dynasty, Rick James, Rockie Robbins, Starship Orchestra, Con Funk Shun, and Googie & Tom Coppola. Drummer Joe Blocker played on 1977/78 albums by Vernon Burch, Gil Scott-Heron, Bobby Lyle, and Steve Hillage.
- Celebration (1976)
- For Everybody (1977)
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