Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Tom Glide And The Luv All Stars: Luv is all you need!

Tom Glide
Tom Glide Tim Owens (Singer) Tom Glide And The Luv All Stars Tom Glide And The Luv All Stars

Influenced by the funk/soul revival of the mid-Eighties, ‘In The Name Of Luv’ - the current album from Tom Glide and The Luv All Stars - bridges the gap between the old skool and nu skool via a firing mix of punchy uptempos and sensual slo jams, boosted by live instrumentation from some of the industry’s most talented and renowned players. Whose impressive credits range from Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye to Earth, Wind & Fire and The Rolling Stones.

Interestingly, with the Luv All Stars collective boasting the likes of trumpeter Rahmlee Michael Davis (Earth, Wind & Fire’s Phoenix Horns); keyboardist Larry Dunn (Earth, Wind & Fire); bassist Alex Al (Michael Jackson); drummer James Gadson (The Rolling Stones); and percussionist Rafael Padilla (Miami Sound Machine), its concept was originally born over 30 years ago when then-college students/fledgling band musicians Tom Glide and Patrick Smadja (the album’s co-producers, alongside engineer/mixer Patrick Green and aforementioned horn arranger Rahmlee Michael Davis) promised each other that they’d one day record an album together with members of then-chart-topping funk/soul supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire!

Indeed, with the project being launched in French producer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Glide’s home studio in Italy during the summer of 2009, it was after Tom relocated to Los Angeles the following autumn that the likes of songwriter/guitarist Dan Florean, lyricist Sonya Muhammad, strings arranger Maurice Herd and vocalist Tim ‘Tio’ Owens came on board. All of which has ultimately resulted in a consistently-strong, 11-track set whose uplifting, driving grooves and soulfully emotive ballads are propelled by punchy horns, classy strings and expressive vocals - as typified by the compulsively melodic forthcoming single ‘Luv Is Comin Up’.

Cue ‘Blues & Soul’ Assistant Editor Pete Lewis meeting up with the laid-back, Paris-born-and raised Monsieur Glide (whose previous credits include Nu Frequency’s 2003 progressive house track ‘808’; plus teen French songstress Ilona Mitrecey’s 2005 Gold and Platinum-selling album ‘Un Monde Parfait’) in the fourteenth floor bar/restaurant of Central London’s St. George’s Hotel.

PETE: What was the story behind you creating the ‘In The Name Of Luv’ project?

TOM: “The idea for the album was originally born over 30 years ago, when my co-producer for the project - Patrick Smadja - and I were at college. Back then, being as we were very close friends and we were playing in several different funk bands together, we promised each other we’d one day record an album together with the members of Earth, Wind & Fire!... But then, with him moving to Israel and me continuing my musical career in Europe, we ended up not seeing each other for about 25 years… Until one day around two years ago, when he called me out of the blue and was like ‘Hey man, I want to realise our dream and make that funk album in LA!’!... So he invited me to visit him in Tel Aviv. And though at first I was a bit sceptical about doing a whole album with live musicians - these days as a producer I’m into more electronic music like deep house and tech house - I nevertheless decided to try writing a couple of songs in that Eighties funk vein... And, as soon as he heard them, Patrick was like ‘OK, now we’re ready to make our dream a REALITY!’!... So there and then we decided to start the project, with one clear briefing - ‘85-style funk and soul music with no compromises!”

PETE: How did you first go about recruiting your “dream team” of “name” musicians (including Earth, Wind & Fire’s Rahmlee Michael Davis and Larry Dunn) for the album, and what were the first sessions in LA like?

TOM: “Once Patrick and I had decided we were definitely going to record our dream album, we went on the internet and started checking Earth, Wind & Fire musicians like Larry Dunn, Verdine White, Al McKay… And when I got to Rahmlee Michael Davis’ site and saw a phone number, I basically just gave him a call and said ‘I’m Tom Glide. I’m a French producer, and I’m looking to make a retro-funk album’... So straightaway he was like ‘Sure, man. Send me a demo and I’ll give you a response in a week or so.’… So I sent the MP3 - and after just 10 minutes he called me back and was like ‘Man, I absolutely wanna DO it!’… But then of course the problem was that, at that time, I only had a couple of SONGS done! So I immediately went into the studio, and literally wrote the album’s other nine songs in a MONTH!... Which in turn brought us to September 2009, when we went to LA and started working with Rahmlee on four songs. He introduced us to the singer Tim ‘Tio’ Owens, who at that time was working with (Nineties R&B chart-toppers) K-Ci & JoJo... And from there, on a daily basis everything just fell into place very naturally - partly because, in my opinion, Rahmlee is just a genius when it comes to horn arrangements! He was involved with The Phoenix Horns for 15 years; he worked with Phi Collins for 10 years; he’s worked with ABBA, Michael Jackson - you know, really big names… So yeah, the magic was definitely there!”

PETE: So why did you end up titling the album - which you’ve described as “a universal celebration of togetherness and brotherhood” - ‘In The Name Of Luv’?

TOM: “Because the whole experience turned out to be a beautiful and magical collaboration that was done with total love, respect, emotion, passion and talent. I honestly think I found the perfect team of musicians to work with. And the first thing that comes to mind when I think about those 45 days of studio sessions with the guys, is that sense of happiness, music, peace, love and mutual respect that’ll remain with me for a very long time. Because the guys were all incredibly giving men, who were genuinely happy to be working on this project. You know, with Patrick from the start being adamant that we were to use nothing but real, live musicians, everybody was like ‘Oh man, we’ve been looking to do this kind of project for so LONG!’… So yeah, it was a creatively very intense period that turned into not only a fantastic MUSICAL experience, but also a great HUMAN experience. Which, as I say, is why ‘In The Name Of Luv’ ended up becoming the TITLE!”

PETE: Can you fill me in on your musical upbringing in Paris?

TOM: “I come from very much a lower-middle-class area of Paris - a bit like you’d see in a Martin Scorsese movie. And while I never actually read music, from an early age I was nevertheless very much in LOVE with it. You know, when I was very young I started playing keyboards, playing guitar... And influence-wise at home I grew up with jazz, pop, soul, Serge Gainsbourg, African music, music from Martinique... I mean, in that period - the Sixties - you had a lot of culturally-mixed stuff going on in Paris... And the first shows I ever saw were free concerts that were held at the Museum Of Modern Art every Wednesday - Charlie Mingus; Art Ensemble Of Chicago; Sonny Rollins... You know, very abstract stuff that I didn’t necessarily understand at the time, but that still helped teach me the essence of music. Then from there I started listening to Jimi Hendrix; Led Zeppelin; The Beatles... Which in turn helped develop the instinct I still have for eclecticism today, where my tastes range from Radiohead to Prince; Earth, Wind & Fire; classical music; reggae - you know, I’m a fan of EVERYTHING! Though the things that had the most influence on ‘In The Name Of Luv’ are obviously all my old vinyl records from the Eighties by acts like Kool & The Gang; Earth, Wind & Fire; George Duke; Pleasure; Slave; Steve Arrington; Larry Graham.… You know, because those influences were already there inside me they’ve all naturally come out on this record.”

The album ‘In The Name Of Luv’ is out now. The single ‘Luv Is Comin Up (feat. Tio)’ is released January 31, both through Expansion Records

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter