Perhaps Larry Nozero’s single most-recognisable contribution to popular music is the soprano sax solo on Marvin Gaye’s seminal, ‘What’s Going On’, the title track and tone-setter for one of soul music’s most successful, not to mention conceptual, recordings.
Like so many talented reedmen before him, Nozero received instruction from Detroit’s Teal School of Music, creating common ground with Yusef Lateef, Joe Henderson, and Benny Maupin. Although Nozero flirted with the Strata groundlings briefly in 1964 as a member of Charles Moore’s Detroit Contemporary 5, he was soon drafted into the military.
A mixed blessing, Nozero took full advantage of the opportunities within the Army Band, which led to several high-profile jobs upon his return to Detroit. Despite lengthy engagements with Henry Mancini, Sergio Mendes, and studio work with everyone from Holland-Dozier Holland to Berry Gordy, Nozero still relished musical freedom of expression, which made him right at home on the Strata roster.
While little is known about Sphere as a standalone group aside from its contributors and producer Bud Spangler, ‘Inside Ourselves’ represents the level of quality jazz expected from the Strata imprint.