Gillis - Bell

Band members                             Related acts

- George 'Fidel' Bell -- guitar

- Lindsay Gillis -- vocal, guitar


  backing musicians:

- Stephen Deutsch -- bass

- Marcus Duke - keyboards

- Bob Gunther -- vocals

- Jim Gunther -- vocals

- Earl Maupasant -- vocals

- Alan Mugo -- drums




- Charleston Grotto (George Bell)

- Stephen Deutsch (solo efforts)

- Marcus Duke (solo efforts)

- Nothin' Sirius (Lindsay Gillis)

- Summit





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Summit

Company: Baby Grand

Catalog: SE 1015

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6032

Price: $80.00


This album caught my attention when I was putting together a discography for the obscure Los Angeles-based Baby Grand tax-scam label.  I found several references to the release, including a 1977 Billboard ad, but try as I might, could not find a copy of the album, let alone a single review or description of the music.  Ain't flea markets great ???


Anyone familiar with Baby Grand knows that this Los Angeles-based outfit released a slew of contemporary jazz products.  Lo and behold, a quick look at the performance credits show several Baby Grand artists who released their own jazz/jazz-rock-fusion efforts on the label, including producer Robert Fair, bassist Stephen Deutsch, and keyboardist Marcus Duke.  Knowing that, I was expecting 1977's "Summit"  to fall squarely in that jazz/jazz-rock fusion genre.  So much for expectations.  Built around the talents of former Charleston Grotto guitarist George Fidel Bell and singer/guitarist Lindsay Gillis, exemplified by tracks like 'The Life' and 'All My Loving' much of the set had a distinctive rock feel.  That wasn't to say the set was fantastic.  The instrumentals 'Turkey Trot' and ''Dawn Light Lift-Off'' were firmly in the jazz-rock fusion category.  Still, the vocals were all pretty good and Bell turned in some interesting lead guitar throughout, making you wish more attention had been paid to his skills.


- 'The Life' started the album off with a strange hybrid of progressive and jazz-rock moves ...  Imagine Steely Dan at the pompous end of the spectrum.   To be honest the song actually grew on me after a couple of spins.    rating: *** stars

- 'Hanging It Out' found the group taking a stab at getting down and funky in a Little Feat-meets-Jeff Beck-styled fashion.  The track was marked by lots of fuzz guitar and some unusual time signatures with Duke's synthesizers added a distinctively cheesy edge to the song.  That probably didn't sound like a ringing endorsement, but the song was actually quite good.    rating: *** stars

- Mind you, while it wasn't going to change your life, 'Gypsy Woman' was a pretty ballad.  With a breezy vocal, this one actually had some commercial potential.   rating: *** stars

- 'Turkey Trot' offered up a slice of jazz-rock fusion.  Competent, but the most interesting facet of the song came from the weird turkey sound effects (credited to Marlon Chicken), at the start and finish of the song.    rating: *** stars 

- 'Magnus' started side two with a blazing slice of bar band rock - imagine a group like Black Oak Arkansas had they ever recorded a really good song.  This one incorporated some tasty horns (and I'm not a big horn fan) and a nice fuzz guitar solo.     rating: **** stars  

- Kicked along by a great Stephen Deutsch bass line, 'All My Loving' continue the set's heavy metal orientation.  Surprisingly, this one even had a nice Zeppelin nod (check out the way the lead singer sang the title track).  IN fact my only complaints about this one came in the form of the irritating female backing singers and the fact the song faded out in the middle of an interesting guitar solo.    rating: **** stars

- 'Since Seen Her' was a forgettable, new age-styled ballad.  I guess some folks would find the arrangement calming.  I just found it plodding and dull.    rating: ** stars

- Opening up with an extended sax solo, the extended instrumental 'Dawn Light Lift-Off'' was much more in line with what I was expecting.  I'm not saying that in a good way ...   in this case the result was a bland, cocktail-jazzy mess that seemed to go on forever. The track actually sounded like two different compositions that had been haphazardly stitched together with the second half adding a slightly funkier bottom to the mix.  Imagine crappy Return To Forever.  And yes, Duke's cheesy synthesizers were front and center for much of the song.   In the interests of being fair, I will admit that Bell turned in a nice solo at the end of the song, though it was too little to save the song.   rating: ** stars


As I mentioned, one of the harder Baby Grand releases to track down.  Certainly not a must-own commodity, but it's certainly one of the better Baby Grand recordings I've heard.  



Also worth mentioning, for some odd reason Baby Grand seems to have repacked the LP with a better cover, crediting it to the band Summit - "Summit"  (Baby Grand catalog number SE-1016).  


"Summit" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Life   (George Bell) - 2:10

2.) Hanging It Out   (Lindsay Gillis) - 4:42

3.) Gypsy Woman   (George Bell) - 3:23

4.) Turkey Trot (instrumental)   (Lindsay Gillis) - 5:29


(side 2)
1.) Magnus   (George Bell) - 4:25

2.) All My Loving   (George Bell - F. Hayes) - 4:08

3.) Since Seen Her  (Lindsay Gillis - P. Garcia) - 3:30

4.) Dawn Light Lift-Off  (Lindsay Gillis) - 9:25