Named after Avatar Studios in New York City (previously known as The Power Station) where it was recorded, the album was produced by Danny Kortchmar. Working together Danny and Mossy mined a reef of classics including Standing In The Shadows Of Love by The Four Tops and Shake by Otis Redding, and unearthed forgotten gems that oozed ageless charm. Id never even heard Any Day Now by Chuck Jackson until Danny played it to me, but you instantly recognise it as a great song. Its classic soul thats still going to sound fresh to an audiences ears. They even took a fresh slant on familiar songs, injecting rich soul to BB Kings great blues ballad Hummingbird.
The super band of iconic soul musicians that Danny assembled for the Soul on West 53rd sessions included Steve Jordan on drums (Blues Brothers Band, Keith Richards), Leon Pendarvis on keyboards (Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack), Neil Jason on bass (Brecker Brothers, Diana Ross), Hugh McCracken on guitar (BB King, Steely Dan), with horn players Lenny Pickett (Tower of Power) and Earl Gardner and backing vocalists Curtis King and Dennis Collins.
Almost by telepathy, this assembly of musicians had an instinctive feel for the arrangements and the quality of Ians voice, producing a silken bed that captured the essence of the vintage soul sound. Yeah, its definitely a singers album, says Ian. With a band that good, you focus intently on the song and this time it was all about interpreting the lyrics, capturing sincerity and the ring of truth in my performances.
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