Sunday, March 24, 2013


Some music that changed my life when I needed it. Marbles, a cut from the 1970 recording by John McLaughlin, Devotion. Buddy Rich on drums, Larry Young on organ, Billy Rich on bass. This was McLaughlin's first record featuring him as a composer and band leader. He had been playing jazz and rock in England since the early 60's. He was actually the guitarist for Georgie Fame's band, The Blue Flames, but if you ever heard Jack Bruce's real first solo recording, Things We Like, then you heard an original jazz player in 1968, playing in a more traditional, free jazz setting with Bruce, Dick Heckstall-Smith and John Hiseman. The compositions were jazz pieces that Bruce had composed as a teen. Bruce  and McLaughlin collaborated around the same time with the great Jazz Drummer, Tony Williams in his ground breaking band, Tony Williams Lifetime, with the organist Larry Young. Bruce and McLaughlin collaborated with American Jazz Composer, Carla Bley on her epic 1969 masterpiece, Escalator Over The Hill...a journey that went way beyond any concept of was rock, it was free jazz, it was big band, it was an opera, a history of, arabic, Kurt Weil with an all star cast of artists. You have to hear it to believe it...Jack Bruce and Linda Ronstadt singing surreal country pop music duets. Here's the piece, Businessmen from Escalator. Bruce's passionate vocal and bass and McLaughlin playing rock that was light years ahead of anything that was happening on the radio:

At the same time, McLaughlin formed a fast friendship with another rock fusion jazz pioneer, Larry Coryell. They recorded the ground breaking record, Spaces. The band Coryell assembled for Spaces was the fertile soil that spawned some of the most influential music of the late 20th Century. The line up was Coryell, McLaughlin on guitars. Miroslav Vitous on bass, Chick Corea on keyboards and Billy Cobham on drums. Within months, Corea formed Return To Forever, Vitous had joined Weather Report and McLaughlin and Cobham had formed the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Coryell formed his relatively unknown, but incredibly influential band, The Eleventh House. Coryell is still composing and playing today and remains one of America's greatest natural resources. A real master. Here is the composition, Spaces.

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