Though they were active only twenty years year ago, it’s really hard to believe this music isn’t decades old! How did I miss the first time round??
The Fabulous Three were (contrary to their name) a large collective that sadly only recorded a handful of mighty fine, retro, soul recordings in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Distributed by small indie labels, the bulk of the Fabulous Three’s material was released through Soul Fire Records- an indie label run by Phillip Lehman.
The band was the brainchild of producers Jeff Dynamite (on bass, keyboards, and percussion) and Leon Michaels – as in El Michels Affair (sax, flute, keyboards, bass, and percussion); though their sessions often featured a number of key players from the East Coast soul scene. Other members included, producer and multi-instrumentalist Quincy Bright, drummer Homer Steinweiss (who would go on to work with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings), producer Mark Ronson) and trumpeter and horn arranger Michael Leonhart (who would also play with the Dap-Kings and do session work for everyone from Steely Dan to Wu-Tang Clan!).
First single, Answer Me Softly, was released in 2002 on Soul Fire’s offshoot label, Psycho. Other Fabulous Three tracks only appeared on several Soul Fire’s compilations, but the demise of the label in 2002, alongside the musicians other running projects, halted any other recordings and broke down the band.
Phillip Lehman later founded Truth & Soul Records, another label specializing in old-school sounds, and in 2010 the new label released The Best of the Fabulous Three, which offered the group’s entire discography on one album. This is the only place you will the hear the hot groove of Nightbird, but this is a record that I urge you check out!! It’s bloody superb!! Listen above.