Wednesday 29 November 2023

Billy Cobham - Solarization

Billy Cobham - Solarization: Solarization / Second Phase / Crescent Sun / Voyage / Solarization - Recapitulation (1974)
Oh boy here we go for another lively, mind melting and visceral fusion journey. This is avant-garde, it's psychedelic, it's jazz, it's symphonic, it's easy listening, it's fast-funky heavy rock and it's ultimately great fun. All of the things and more including flugelhorn, marimbas and congas. 

This was so on, nothing could stop the alchemy of synergy. 

Peak audacity. 

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Stanley Clarke - Life Suite

Stanley Clarke - Life Suite (1974)
Clarke starts out the gate on the final track of his self-titled LP by bringing all the dark drama with an incredible brass and string arrangement! Then Tony Williams puts on his best ever drum clinic, absolutely supreme drummage with added percussive goodness from Airto Moreira. How much fun are Clarke and Williams having. On the keys it's synth star Jan Hammer. Stanley's bass tone in the final movement (post-7:07 mark) is just phenomenal as he plays a heavy captivating hook. This is rare and emotional bass playing. I mean how many bassists can you say that about. The best part though, might be the stellar guitar heroics supplied by the underrated Bill Conners. Like all the best fusion this out-progs the most progg-iest of proggers and like all the best art it transcends any constraints you wish to place upon it. 

Something else. 

Monday 27 November 2023

Al Di Meola - Race With The Devil On a Spanish Highway

Al Di Meola - Race With The Devil On a Spanish Highway (1977)
Strap in for some funky freeway fretwork fireworks.

Peak rockin' fusion!

"Oh Al Di is it you or me who are the elegant gypsy?"

Friday 24 November 2023

What You Can Do In Your Life · Petalouda

Πεταλούδα - Τι Μπορείς Να Κάνης Στη Ζωή Σου (1973)
An absolutely archaic and dusty wah-wah monster with extra wind tunnel fuzz and a funky drummer break. All your psych-funk needs are taken care of here. When they say psychedelic funk what they mean is funky psych and this is the kind of jam you hope for. This Greek group did just the one 7 inch side. If you are going to record just one song this is the way to do it.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

Miles Davis - Side A Wednesday Miles - Bitches Brew/The Theme (1970)
So the four sides of Miles Davis At Fillmore double album were originally 25 minute condensed edits of each consecutive night's set named after each day of his June 17-20 1970 residency at New York's Fillmore East. Later in the 90s the cd version divided up the days into seperate tracks which were either passages of tunes, tunes or medleys of tunes. Miles also used to go from one song to another continuously at this stage without breaking up the momentum of the music. So it's hard to tell how much of this was real to the live audience and how much is a virtual performance edited by the splicing maestro Teo Macero. In the end it doesn't really matter does it unless maybe your apple or spottily is throwing in ads at crucial points of the record but hey go and buy the actual album if that's the case.

So this section of Wednesday Miles is the last half of side A and it's basically a shortened version of Bitches Brew and strangely a thirty second snippet of a 1956 golden oldie. The Theme being a track from a 1956 session that ended up being released on Prestige's Miles (1956) LP. Anyway it's all played inna fine style by this 1970 line-up of Miles' band. 

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (1970)
As far as these live versions go Black Beauty's unhinged version might be even more better. It's a totally destroyed feedback and wah-wah drenched end of your tether abyss of a tune. I don't even get where the feedback or wah-wah are coming from as there's no guitarist here so it's either Chick's keyboard, Miles' trumpet or Dave Holland's bass. Holland and Davis were both renowned at this stage for utilising wah-wah so perhaps they are both the wah-wah culprits! Twins of wah-wah doom! 

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (1969)
Still it's hard to go past the original epic brew of Bitches Brew. The siren-ing trumpets echoing across the apocalyptic night sky are still the most most pertinent soundtrack to our times. I'm pretty sure Miles is still way ahead of everyone... 

Monday 20 November 2023

Al Di Meola - Suite Golden Dawn

Al Di Meola - Suite Golden Dawn:  (1976)
Another monster fusion jam from the ffuture. 

Mind-blowing your mind!

Al Di had a good little run of albums in the 70s but had an even better run of album covers. This is how a 21 year old Al Di chose to present himself to the world. I mean how many of us have lived this dream? If I put my other spectacles on and brushed my hair down I would basically be this LP cover. It's a vibe. It's a life vibe. It's an aspirational life vibe we all need to be striving for. Thank-you Al Di Meola for making us want to be better people in our lives!

Al Di Meola - The Wizard (1976)
The relentless opening track from Al's debut LP is ferocious fire on the frets. I believe these are blazing hot licks! Apart from the scintillatingly intense fretwork from the incomparable Al Di, The Wizard is a drummage and percussion extravaganza! That's Steve Gadd on drums and Mingo Lewis doing the percussion. Thank you lads for extravaganza-ing the rhythms. 

Peak unbeatable heavy fusion.  

Sunday 19 November 2023

Manolo Badrena - The One Thing

Manolo Badrena - The One Thing (1979)
A monster funky cosmic latin jazz rock jam of the most uncommon variety. 

The One Thing is a remarkable psychedelic space-funk odyssey.

Party time people!

Thursday 16 November 2023

Lenny White – The Venusian Summer Suite

Lenny White – The Venusian Summer Suite (1975)
A jazz-rock-fusion bomb. Opening with the epic four and a half minute space-y horror movie synth goodness then it's a funky cosmic voodoo trip worthy of 70s Miles, which makes plenty sense as Lenny White's drummage featured on Bitches Brew. Superfly bass and flute with insane synth guitar breaks follow.

Lenny White - Mating Drive (1975)
The children of Bitches Brew supply more tasty cyber-superfly fusion. This time it gets brutal, intense and dark. 

Peak jazz rock fusion for existential urban night driving with the possibility of violence.

Mating Drive is nearly fifty years old and yet it still sounds like the future to me. Imagine if overrated tosh like The Smile was fifty years ahead of its time instead of over fifty years behind it?

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Santana - Carnaval/Let The Children Play/Jugando

Santana - Carnaval/Let The Children Play/Jugando (1977) 
Haven't I been a fool? Why hasn't this been in my life before now? I vaguely recall hearing this fifteen or twenty years ago and thinking I must investigate that further. And I just didn't and yet I've got all sorts of latin and jazz and cumbia and samba rock and boogaloo and fusion and chicano rock albums and compilations. I mean I love nothing better than a latin rhythm so this was a no brainer but for some reason...well I guess I was always led to believe Santana were not only daggy but terrible and I never had a Santana fanatic friend to seriously sit me down and tell me the score. I'm hoping there is more like this mental medley in the catalogue. 


Tuesday 14 November 2023

Miles Davis/James Brown

Miles Davis - So What (1959)
Somebody asked me the other day who are the five greatest music artists ever. I could only come up with one which was Miles.  

James Brown - Cold Sweat (1967)
Then the next day when the question came back to me in my head the only other one I could say for certain was James Brown.

Cold Sweat really is a funky-fied version of So What innit. Does everyone know this?

Anyway I think the story goes that they were jammin' on So What and it morphed into what would become known as Cold Sweat, inventing funk in the process. Whether that's the exact moment funk was born I dunno but if I had a DeLorean with a flux capacitor and could attend just one jam session from the twentieth century that would probably be it.