Prince's Essential Instrumentals (1995-2010)

Prince in Pasadena

One of the most exciting parts about the recent digital re-releases of Prince's work is the opportunity to dig into his considerable library of instrumentals. Though Prince was best known as a front-person, his capabilities as a conductor of musical moments is truly unparalleled in his generation and once Prince was freed from the rigid release schedule imposed by Warner Bros., he was able to follow some of his more obscure muses and channel those into more niche releases. This resulted in a handful of largely instrumental albums such as Xpectation, N.E.W.S, Kama Sutra and C-Note.

During this era, Prince also connected with two of the most gifted musicians to ever be part of The New Power Generation in the early 2000s, the drummer John Blackwell and the bassist Rhonda Smith. Alongside Prince, this nucleus created some of the most sophisticated, jazzy and downright funky tracks from Prince's entire catalog. And though the rhythm section was absolutely filthy, (particularly John Blackwell's playing on Xpectation) the front line of Eric Leeds and Candy Dulfer on saxophones was no slouch either.

On top of Prince's full band instrumental productions, he also found the time to capture some smaller and more intimate moods on some of his instrumental work. The delicate track "Arboretum," presumably penned about the arboretum near Paisley Park. In solo moments like this we get to witness facets of Prince's musical world that might have never come to light if his entire career had been focused on creating blockbuster albums full of radio-ready singles.

—Sean McPherson

Listen: Purple Current

Listen to Prince's Greatest Instrumentals (1995-2010) on Purple Current August 23 from noon to 1 p.m. CDT.

  1. 1.
    Prince: Xpand

    Xpand

    Prince
    Xpectation
  2. 2.
    Prince: Gamillah

    Gamillah

    Prince
    The Chocolate Invasion
  3. 3.
    Prince: Xpectation

    Xpectation

    Prince
    Xpectation
  4. 4.
    Prince: Copenhagen (Live from One Nite Alone Tour 2002)

    Copenhagen (Live from One Nite Alone Tour 2002)

    Prince
    C-Note
  5. 5.
    Prince: 77 Beverly Park

    77 Beverly Park

    Prince
    Lotusflow3r
  6. 6.
    Prince: Indigo Nights (Live)

    Indigo Nights (Live)

    Prince
    Indigo Nights
  7. 7.
    Prince: Xcogitate

    Xcogitate

    Prince
    Xpectation
  8. 8.
    Prince: Arboretum

    Arboretum

    Prince
    One Nite Alone...
  9. 9.
    Prince: West

    West

    Prince
    N.E.W.S
  10. 10.
    Prince: From the Lotus...

    From the Lotus...

    Prince
    Lotusflow3r
  11. 11.
    Prince: The Sensual Everafter

    The Sensual Everafter

    Prince
    The Rainbow Children

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