At the demise of C.M.U., I joined the band Northern Lights, and began to record regularly as a freelance session musician in London. This band included the singer Tina Charles and bassist Trevor Horn, who became a top Producer. Later Jill Saward, Nigel Wright (then playing keyboards) and bass-player Steve Underwood joined the band.
Towards the end of the 70's I formed a jazz-rock band called Tracks with Trevor on bass, Bill Sharpe (keyboards) and Keith Winter (guitar). When Trevor left to form Buggles his replacement was Martin Elliot, now with Michael Nyman. Ian Hamlett, formerly of C.M.U., and bassist John Dover also played with Tracks. We recorded an EP which we released on "white label", and sold at our regular Sunday lunch-time gig at Triad Arts Centre in Bishops Stortford.
Resulting from session work for Les McCutcheon with Nigel Wright producing, a group consisting of Bill, Keith, Steve Underwood, and myself, recorded four tracks written by Bill. One of these was "Steppin'", which became a big club hit and led to a recording contract with Polydor.
Vocalists Jill and Jackie Rawe were added later, and with George Anderson replacing Steve, this became the first official line-up of Shakatak. Apart from Jackie's departure, and Keith leaving due to ill health, this is the personnel that continues to tour and record to this day.
As well as being a member of Shakatak, I free-lance in other situations, and I also run my own band. This is a group featuring my wife Larraine as vocalist, and our son Jamie (Jimpster, Audiomontage, DJ, Re-mixer, and all-round clever dude) on keyboards. We also have a daughter, Maxine, who graduated from Coventry University with a degree in Culture, Communication and Media, and is now resident in London.
In late '99, early '00, I co-produced my own CD with Jamie, which features among others, Larraine and Jacqui Hicks on vocals, Mornington Lockett on saxes, Jamie on keyboards, myself on drums and Maxine on backing vocals. The group is called Beatifik, and the CD is entitled "The Blue Window".
Beatifik - The Blue Window
Roger Odell is one of those members of the famous group Shakatak. As the band's drummer he takes great part of the non-interchangeable sound of this group, which dominates the UK Smooth Jazz scene since decades. He also free-lances in other situations, and runs his own band. This is a group featuring Roger's wife Larraine as vocalist, and his son Jamie (Jimpster, Audiomontage, DJ, Re-mixer, and all-round clever dude) on keyboards.
In late '99, early '00, he co-produced his own CD with Jamie, which features among others, Larraine and Jacqui Hicks on vocals, Mornington Lockett on saxes, Jamie on keyboards, himself on drums and Maxine on backing vocals. The group is called Beatifik, and the CD is entitled "The Blue Window". Well these informations are so new, that he might be changing this name til to the release of the album. It's scheduled for release sometime in September, but Roger has got to record another track now. Because Toot The Shoot was used on the latest Shakatak and Friends CD "Jazz In The Night". So he is working on another track now. With Toot The Shoot taken off and 1 more track added, this should be the final version, probably, but not necessarily in that order.
The Blue Window will be without any reservations one of the Smooth Jazz highlights of this year. It was really a pleasure and enjoyment to listen to this album!
Familiar with the sound of Shakatak I can state, that the album is similar with Shakatak's music, but sounds fresh and up to date. Sophisticate use of drumming programs, easy but masterful play of keyboards, phat drum loops are the gems of the title piece The Blue Window.
As mentioned above you find Toot The Shoot on Jazz In The Night. This tune with vocoder and funky rhythms, vibes and clabbing is in the mood of the Disco-Funk of earlier times reminding at groups such as The Gap Band, The SOS Band or Rose Royce.
Barracuda is a uptempo swinging, scatting Latin rhythmical emphasized tune.
On Couldn't Believe It you can hear Jamie's vocoderized voice under Jacqui's lead vocal in a moody slowtempo melody well supported by atmospheric keyboard sounds.
Latin rhythms burst out on Autumn Samba showcasing Jamie's great piano skills. Perfect is the rich Latin rhythm texture which Roger builds up with timbales, congas, bongos, shakers and such alike.
Listen, Soul ... Dig It is another great example of Jamie's masterfull keyboard arrangements anew with perfectly combined drumprogramming.
I Don't Want You For Life is a propulsive tune introduced by inflected speechs and clabbing.
In total contrast follows the further Latin Jazz tune Blue On Blue with flute sounds, woodclicking, brazilwood sticks, whistles of all kind and keyboardish sound islands.
I Can't Let You Go is anew a relaxing tune with a beautifull percussive rhythm section and a very groovy and laid-back keyboard sounds. Also remarkable are the rhythm guitar loops.
I Wouldn't Mind is a more jazzy swinging vocal tune presenting Lorraine's warm voice well-backgrounded by Roger's drums and cymbals and a powerful stringcarpet.
Borders, the final cut of this great album, let's have a glimpse into asiatic patterns introducing to a vocal recite accompagnied by Mornington Lockett 's strange but very impressing sax sounds.
Roger and his family are a real fountain of Smooth Jazz enrichements. I strongly hope that this album will be the first piece of a new musical career writing new music history.