Index

 

18   Rock Around the World September, 1976

JazzRock    by Jerry Zaslow

STRICTLY "JAll ROCK" SPOKEN HERE

It's those great ideas that make any music outstanding. In contemporary music, players seem to define those ideas through their respective instruments. In regard to any music. certain names make one think of certain instruments: for example, Benny Goodman . . . clarinet. Miles Davis ..

trumpet, John McLaughlin . . . guitar. Chick Corea ... keyboards, and the list is endless. We will focus in on this new and directional music that is "JAlliROCK" in the next several months by instrument rather than by artist.

The guitar is undisputedly the instrument one associates with rock. Circa '67. John Cipollina put his ears next to his amp and grooved on the cacophonous feedback his guitar transmitted. Circa '68. Hendrix burnt his guitar at Monterey. and for the last ten years thousands have watched Pete Townshend and his flying guitar work right out.

Psychedelic music faded but instrumentation for rock guitar remained as America transcended from the sixties to the seventies. In Jazz this period was also a time of change. The modal, straight ahead playing of Coltrane's directional new wave and Miles' "birth of the cool" which occured in the fifties and sixties became the norm, the standard of the seventies. As this decade came rolling in. guitarists were employed to activate the new Jazz impetus. Chico Hamilton introduced us to Larry Coryell on his "Dealer" album. Miles shot radically into the future by featuring John (Johnny Guitar) McLaughlin on his "Jack Johnson" disc.

As a psychedelic rub-off, the wah-wah pedal came into play. Sly Stone got our attention with the wah-wah on his tune "Don't Call Me Nigger. Whitey." Frank Zappa gave us a taste of the future in his collaboration with keyboardistireedman Ian Underwood on the "Hot Rats" LP. Zappa literally told us where to go with the wah-wah on that disc.

In Brussels a fantastic JAll/ROCK quartet named "Focus" exploded onto the international music scene. The core of this band was Thijs vanLeer on keyboard. woodwind and vocals: and Jan Akkerman. who recently left that band, on guitars. At first, Akkerman was heralded as a baby McLaughlin. In this writer's opinion, the classically trained Akkerman ain't no

baby. He's as quick as anybody on the scene. Akkerman has Iwo solo efforts to date. "Profile" and "Tabernacle." These discs leave no doubt about his prolific capabilities.

John Abercrombie is a young guitarist widely regarded as another Mahvishnu disciple. He has one solo LP to his credit which assuredly defines him as directional and inventive. The disc finds him in a trio setting with Jan Hammer on keyboards and polyrhythmatic Jack DeJohnette on drums.

There are many interesting and energetic ideas going through guitar playing right now. Guitar music is obviously a major force in the fusion of JAll and ROCK.

CRUSADERS

"Those Southern Knights"

BTS 6024

"Keep that same old feeling" is the theme on this disc, and a good feeling it is. Through rain, through sleet, . . . and you've heard the rest. Quite truthfully. I think the Crusaders would even put the U.S. mail to shame when it comes to consistency, dependability and the like. Cooking away for almost twenty-five years. the Crusaders are still going strong! Joe Sample (keyboards). Wilton Felder (tenor saxophone), Wayne Henderson (trombone), Nesbert "Stix" Hooper (drums). Robert Bopwell (bass) and Larry Carlton (guitar) are the Crusaders. Hooper. Henderson. Sample and Felder formed the Crusaders in Houston back in the early fifties. In 1970 they took in Larry Carlton. After many years of Wilton Felder over dubbing the bass lines, Robert Bopwell was added to their newest album, "Those Southern Knights."

The Crusaders have developed a technique of radiating their v.arni glow through their music. On this date as well as many of their others, this band avoids presenting a very technical sort of music, of which they are totally capable. Their emphasis is on solid rhythms. Many bands admire the Crusaders for this I'm sure. The music on this album is quite "hip," but I also like to think of it as easy listening in the sense that the music makes me feel comfortable. The Crusaders are very sure-footed in their musical direction, which has been negatively criticized by

JAN GARBAREK—BOBO STENSON QUARTET "Witchie-Tai-To"

ECM 1040

Greetings from Norway, or something like that. This 1973 date was recorded in Oslo and distributed in America by Polydor. This American debut showcases the Jan Garbarek-BoBo Stenson Quartet's insight into some of our country's most contemporary music. There are compositions on this disc by Jim Pepper, Carla Bley and Don Cherry (not average choices). Garbarek's soprano work projects an eerie musical texture to several of the compositions. Throughout the album Daniellson and Garbarek trade solos between each other. Stenson seems heavily influenced by the jazz pianists from the west in his own keyboard work. Palle Daniellson plays double bass on all compositions, and Jon Christenson is on drums.

The basic feeling on this disc seems to be very avant garde but not free. The total sound of the quartet is very cerebral in nature. creating that eerie, even pensive element I referred to earlier. The artists on this record are relatively new figures on the jazz scene. The ideas on this album appear to be embyros of many that have not been born. This album establishes these players as vanguard musicians.■

their peers. On this album the hand has added a vocal which, by the way. politely requests us to "Keep To Same Old

Feeling."

The Honor Roll of Soul

-****************************** by James

Armstrong

Savannah. If there's such a thing as the New York sound. this is it.

Recently few albums have been released that are as refreshing and full of surprises as this. The sound is a conglomeration of thirties-swing. skat. disco, and rock. The harmonies and orchestration are often times devestating. We are introduced to characters like Tommy Mottola and Miggie Bonija. They're street people. They frequent the chic gay discos of Manhattan where much of today's R&B dance music is baptized. The story tellers on this LP are artists in the highest sense. They innovate, offer something new.

"Cherchez La Femme" is the hottest cut. "Sour and Sweet (Lemon in the Honey)" rambles on with a huge Broadway finale. "You've Got Something (Monroe Turkey Trot)" is the finest combination of rock and zoot-suit music I've ever heard. "Sun Show" is just plain pretty. Not a bad cut, but an impeccably executed album. For those who think disco can't be progressive, give a listen and have the time of your life. This

album will catch on. It's tlimflamaling.

eft •Jut.it-t.

MFSB—THE CHAMELEON

Who is MFSB? Who backs up Eddie Kendricks. The Whispers. Blue Magic. Revelation. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. The Spinners. Impact. The First Choice, Billy Paul. The Trammps,The O'lays, and The Stylistics?Who is the Sal soul Orchestra? And what about the Ritchie Family? How can so many names spell out the same simple answer: TSOP.

Most people think Lose is the Message was the first MFSB album. Over the last few years we've come to associate the Three Degrees' Soul Train Theme as the beginning of Mother, Father. Sister, Brother. but think again. In 1973 an album called MFSB was released. It got little notice. On the back were assorted photographs of such unknowns as Ronnie Baker. Earl (Trammps)Young, Norman Harris, Bobby Eli, Don Renaldo, and other R&B dynamos. What we have here isn't so much MFSB as D.N.A. the very building block of today's black sound.

It's almost impossible to assess the impact that these men have had on the musical world. Philadelphia International is an entity of extraordinary prolificacy. Gamble and Huff are everywhere. The Harris Machine is a logo that every disco fan is familiar with. The names Harris. Baker & Young have become synonymous with excellence. Thom Bell is a legend in his own time. All studio musicians. All the men behind the scene. The main-men of soul.

Love is the Message was one of the original albums that launched the disco movement in America. "TSOP" topped the charts. People began to dance, became involved in black music. With cuts like "Touch Me in the Morning" and "Bitter Sweet" an incredible style became apparent. These were masters at work. Funk, blues and a touch of Broadway blossomed into a sound that was so completely American that any other art form was hard pressed to be as pure a melting pot process.

Universal Love was released in the late spring of 75. By now people had heard of the Philly Sound and a new breed of listeners (both black and white) were evolving. "Sexy" blew the east coast discos apart. D.J.s waited anxiously for their promos climbing into their dark pits passing the likes of "K-Jee" and "T.L.C." to the stoned ears of the crowded sweaty clubs. Philadelphia was giving birth to new artists, rejuvenating older ones and developing a sound unmistakably their own. Gamble and Huff presided. MFSB a disciplined nectar.

Philadelphia Freedom was a bicentennial offering, a tribute to the capitol of soul. Somewhat weaker than its predecessors. the album re-hashed much of what was stated in Universal Love. By no means a bad album, new ground was broken, but with some trouble. It seems that the MFSB formula was being questioned. R&B freaks began to wonder if the next album would he a continuing step downward. "The Zip" was used for a theme song for a T.V. commercial. Not one cut was big in the discos.

MFSB was involved in too many ventures. The Sal soul Orchestra was without a doubt a disco success and the Ritchie Family's "Brazil" became a classic.The Trammps were rising with phenomenal speed. Groups like Blue Magic and Revelation released albums of beautiful quality. R&B was rivaling the level of artistry which until that time musical snobs

had said was limited to white rock and roll. The members of TSOP were greatly responsible. but in being so had let their cumulative effort. MFSB. sutler.

The release of Summertime has changed all this. MFSB is once again a maturing moving unit. "Picnic in the Park" opens the LP. "We Got the Time" closes it. What takes place in between is the very best of Philly. Gershwin's "Summertime" is vibrant and soulful. "Hot Summer Nights" a tribute to the American pastime of solstice and leisure. As the album exclaims it's "Summertime and I'm Feelin' Mellow" and who better to feel mellow with than MFSB. The Sound of Philadelphia.

TUNES/45s to listen for Sun. Sun, Sun—Jackie

Give a Broken Heart a Chance—Impact

Shake Your Coolie—K.C. & The Sunshine Band Nights in White Satin—Gorgie

You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine—Lou Rawls Cherchez La Femme—Savannah

You Should Be Dancing—The Bee Gees

I Don't Want to Lose Your Love—The Emotions

ROBERTA KELLY

"Trouble Maker"

Oasis OCLP 5005

Thor Baldurrson and the Munich Machine have capitalized on the sound first made famous by the Silver Convention. If you've heard "Fly Robin Fly" you know what that sound is. Donna Summers. having taken Gloria Gaynor's title as the new and improved disco-queen has blended her orgasmic black come-on with the be-bop of Aryan R&B and given A.M. and countless D.J.s hours of play. Now Ms Summers and Her Oasis label offer us a protege. Roberta Kelly.

Trouble Maker is a nice album. Though at first listening one is instantly reminded of Love Trilogy there is a sound here all its own. It's disco, as pure and simple as that, at least the title cut is, but then something interesting begins to happen. "Love Power." "Innocent" and "The Family." The German sound is overpowered by traditional Motown inflections. A strange combination occurs and Roberta Kelly triumphs over the hum-drum of programmed R&B.

Her voice is high and from time to time shrill, but always in command. She is forceful and harmonizes with her backup vocalists quite well (one of them Donna Summers). Instrumentally everything is neat and pretty, but when Roberta breaks loose she delivers in a way that makes black divas so gusty and sweet. This is a lady who barely escaped the trap of a set musical formula. An entertaining attempt.

SAVANNAH

"Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band" RCA APLI-I504

At the "House of Music" a man in a buzzard-tux conducts. Flash Gordon, Ella Fitzgerald, Sally Bowles and D.C. Larue dance the cosmic stroll. The time is all-time. The hand

CANDI STATON

"Young Hearts Run Free"

Warner Bros. BS 2948

It's been a long time since Candi Staton has recorded an album. Most people have never heard of her. I believe that Young Hearts Run Free will change that. Candi Staton is someone who deserves the public's attention. Her voice and way with a song merits the utmost respect. Her new album is a beautiful work.

"Run To Me" opens the first side. Dave Crawford, who produced the album. penned this as well as four other songs. His individual pieces are the strongest. He manages to bring out the best in Ms. Staton, which considering the melodic composition of his numbers must have been enjoyable.

A reoccuring riff running through many of the songs gives the album a lovely echo. "Destiny" and "What a Feeling" carry the listener deeper and deeper into the strong assertion layed down by words and music. When side two begins "Young Hearts Run Free" thrusts out with such a real and honest crystalization of feeling that "I Know" ends the package all too soon.

The musicians should not go unmentioned. There isn't a weak spot on either side. Monty Stark and Rick Collins have mixed the recording competently. Such backup regulars as Jim Gilstrap and Loni Groves again highlight and help things get 'across. A tine job done by all.■

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