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Sky's the Limit (Disco Fever)

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  • When people think of Rhythm Heritage, they think of a 1970s disco act that recorded a lot of themes from movies and cop shows. But its third and final album, Sky's the Limit, doesn't always live up to that stereotype. Tom Scott's "Theme From 'Starsky and Hutch'" is the 1978 LP's only cop show theme, and the record doesn't contain a lot of hyper, exuberant disco. Michael Omartian and Steve Barri, the L.A.-based producers who led Rhythm Heritage, evidently wanted to show their diversity in 1978, which is why Sky's the Limit also contains everything from mellow quiet storm tunes ("Sail Away With Me," "Float on By") to laid-back pop-jazz instrumentals ("Hedge Hog," "Skippin'"). In fact, one of the musicians on this record is the late Victor Feldman, a British jazzman who, like Chuck Mangione, started out playing straight-ahead bop but eventually became known for commercial pop-jazz. Because Sky's the Limit isn't all that disco-minded, it didn't get much support from the club DJs who had supported Rhythm Heritage in the past -- and at the same time, it didn't win over the quiet storm and pop-jazz audiences that Omartian and Barri seemed to be going after in 1978. So Sky's the Limit, which is pleasant but not terrible memorable, didn't sell, and Rhythm Heritage ended up calling it quits without ever recording a fourth album. ~ Alex Henderson
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