Lonnie Liston Smith had already worked with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Pharoah Sanders and Miles Davis before forming his own group Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes in 1973. In 1975 the group released their third album (recorded November 1974), the Jazz-Funk classic, ‘Expansions‘, with the title track, a call for peace and an end to war, remaining popular with DJs to this day. However, it was the track ‘Shadows‘ from later in the album which would be sampled by Roni Size on the 1994 Jungle anthem ‘It’s a Jazz Thing‘, becoming one of the most recognisable hooks in Jungle.
The sample for ‘It’s a Jazz Thing‘ is taken from the intro to ‘Shadows‘ and features the bass played by Cecil McBee ( a prolific Jazz bassist who also played on albums for Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and many others during a long career) along with other elements which punctuate the sampled section of the track. The line-up of musicians on ‘Shadows‘ was Lonnie Liston Smith (electric piano/keys), Cecil McBee (bass), Art Gore (drums), Leopoldo Fleming (bongos/percussion), Lawrence Killian (congas/percussion), David Hubbard (alto flute/soprano saxophone), Donald Smith (flute/vocals) and Michael Carvin (percussion). It was produced by Bob Thiele/Lonnie Liston Smith and mixed by Bob Thiele/Dave Wittman/Lonnie Liston Smith.