Producing EWF

Not only did Maurice White sing and write for Earth, Wind & Fire, he also produced most of their records. A drummer himself, White valued the band's ability to groove live in the studio and nowhere is this more evident than on "Jupiter" (1977). At a time when session musicians were increasingly being asked to play to a click track, and digital samplers were being developed by Fairlight, Linn and others, the performance on this record is testimony to the importance of human feel. Compare the BPM at the beginning and end of the track for a masterclass in natural acceleration:


Fast forward to the 2010s and software companies are returning to this idea. A sophisticated tempo detection algorithm in Celemony's Melodyne 4, for example, means the "click keeps time with the musicians, not the other way around". Personally I've never been a fan of metronomes, and technological advances like this seem the best way to continue White's legacy into the twenty-first century.