Kobi Arad and Stevie Wonder, UK 2016

Kobi Arad and Stevie Wonder, UK 2016

Written By El Chi : A 25 minute conversation with Kobi Arad (A native Israeli) in a New York sunny & cold early afternoon has revealed to me what’s little known in popular circles (perhaps due to the intentional elitistic inclination of Kobi Arad). Its all about the story of how his project with sound engineering legend Robert Margouleff ‘The Experience Project’.

Margouleff, probably most known for his work with Stevie Wonder in his golden period, including landmark CD’s such as ‘Innervisions’ and ‘Talking Book’, was approached by Kobi Arad two years ago as a guru. Kobi Arad is himself a Stevie Wonder collaborator (he has made a co-production with Stevie and his manager Stephanie Andrews, which lead to a long personal rapore). He is a bit secretive about further details about their connection, only to mention he pretty much dugg every soundbite Stevie’s 70’s has to offer.

Arad was surprised to see Margouleff’s profile was awaiting a friend request in facebook. It didn’t take Robert long to appreciate some of the fine-textured-super-atmospheric-complex-harmonic and high in command electronic keyboard work Arad has worked on at the time. Those were excerpts from Arad’s Grammy runner ‘Space – Ecstatic Electronic Meditations’. Arad, a Grammy (NARAS) official voting member self evidently proclaims he uses his Grammy submission benefits to perpetuate creativity and boost his prolific nature, by simply launching and sharing with humanity as many CD’s as possible. “It is really based on a little advice Herbie Hancock gave me in one of our phone talks”, Arad explains, “He said we musicians just gotta keep doing, keep sharing, regardless of what the world is thinking about it.”

Margouleff has offered his services, and even said he could travel down to New York and work with Arad there. A dream realized for Kobi when it became a reality 5 months later, in April 23rd, when Robert flew in from West Coast, combining a visit to his rock fanatic and fancy car collector Perry Margouleff. Perry, who lent his all-analogue wooden studio for free, became part of what Arad calls “A Re-Exploration of Stevie’s crazy sessions in Electric Lady Studios back in the 70’s”.

The analogue sounds, particularly embelished by the tines of the Fender Rhodes, Clavichord, Arp, Oberheim and other stnthesizer which were there, allowed Kobi Arad to, like a cat in a milk factory, revisit Stevie’s lyrical sensibilities as well as soulful tonalities, by playing these instruments and singing the lyrics to his own compositions. “It was great,” Arad claims “to connect and utilize that moment in space time where Robert is around, who is a part of a Legendary creative story, to recreate some of those sparks, while adding some thing new.” Bassist Jonathan Levy and Drummer Ray McNaught were Arad’s musicians of choice. And Miles Griffith (Wynton Marsalis collaborator) has contributed vocal lines to one of the song.

25 minutes are up. I need to go to the next meeting, but almost wish I could stay and learn further about this interesting project. Maybe the least I’ve done is raise you readers’ curiosity ?!

If I did here is the spotify link: