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Earth, Wind & Fire concert preview

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W hen it comes to soulful musical affirmations, Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star” is right up there with Sly & The Family Stone’s “Everybody Is a Star.” Throughout the ‘70s, both groups were given to contagiously hopeful lyrics and an unrivaled facility for fusing the best elements of funk and pop music. In the coming decades, EW&F would move more in the latter direction, incorporating vocoders and disco rhythms into “Let’s Groove” while exploring more of a smooth-jazz vibe on hits like “After the Love Has Gone.” Although co-founder Maurice White passed away last year, the Earth, Wind & Fire torch still burns brightly thanks to younger brother Verdine White’s in-the-pocket bass grooves and singer Philip Bailey’s sweetly soulful delivery. The band’s New Orleans Jazz Fest appearance earlier this year featured a dozen musicians, including a full horn section, so longtime fans should have no problem closing their eyes and being transported back to an innocently optimistic era of eight-track tapes, video arcades and endless grooves. 

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