TIR 100: Philip Bailey Expounds on Earth, Wind & Fire’s Elements of Excellence


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 100: Singer-songwriter-percussionist-producer Philip Bailey, who for has spent 47 years as a primary figure of the legendary funk, R&B and pop band Earth, Wind and Fire. Born and raised in Denver, Bailey’s early influences included Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, Sarah Vaughan and Dionne Warwick.

Famous for his four-octave vocal range and particularly for his show-stopping falsetto register, Bailey has recorded some 20 albums with Earth, Wind and Fire and another 10 as a solo artist. The Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has also collaborated with numerous other artists, and in the late 1970s produced the Kinsman Dazz band’s first two albums. That group later became the Dazz Band.

Here, TRUTH IN RHYTHM caught up with Bailey from the road between tour dates with the new band supporting his latest solo album called Love Will Find a Way. His first solo effort since 2002, which is primarily jazz-tinged cover tunes including the lead Curtis Mayfield-composed single “Billy Jack,” features upper echelon musicians like Chick Corea, Steve Gadd, Christian McBride, Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington, will.i.am and Bilal (buh-laal). Although this was taped prior, the album was released June 21 and so is available now from your favorite retail, download or streaming providers.

The real meat of the interview though is a discussion of Earth, Wind and Fire’s creative peak and funkiest period, spanning 1974-1977 and including the treasured works for the ages: Open Our Eyes, That’s the Way of the World, Gratitude, Spirit and All N All. Along the way are Bailey’s tributes to late EWF founder and figurehead Maurice White, his brother Verdine White and late composer, arranger and group mentor Charles Stepney.

You’ll have to forgive the technical shortcomings not uncommon when dealing with hotel connectivity. With that, let’s wish TRUTH IN RHYTHM a happy 100th episode and find out all the Reasons why Philip Bailey and Earth, Wind and Fire continue to be so Mighty, Mighty.