Saturday, June 2, 2007

Since my comment over at LSF seemed to vanish in the ether

I'll just go ahead and expand my comment here and trackback to the Madman's post on the much over-hyped Sgt. Pepper album (which apparently was released 40 years ago yesterday). First I'll simply note that there are better Beatles albums (The White Album would be my preference). There was certainly much better psychedelic rock from 1967 - I'm partial to that first album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience (Are You Experienced?), which still sounds relatively fresh.

That said, if I were to put on music from circa 1966 or 1967, I'd much prefer to drop a few tunes from some great jazz artists the time. John Coltrane's albums such as Om and from the period are psychedelic is a somewhat different way. The posthumously released Kulu Se Mama. Interstellar Space (a sax & drum duet with Rashied Ali) is also one I love to groove to. Pharoah Sanders released is debut on Impulse! records around 1966, Tauhid, which is an under-rated classic that foreshadows the sort of free-jazz meets world music experiments that would characterize his work in the early 1970s. Don Cherry was finishing off his run on Blue Note Records with Where is Brooklyn. Gato Barbieri had this intense blow-out session released on ESP-Disk (before he became a pioneer of that awful smooth jazz nonsense). How about Marion Brown's Three for Shepp? No psychedelia, perhaps, but plenty of straight-forward free jazz jamming that one can actually hum to. There's always that classic Sun Ra album Nothing Is. Miles Davis' quintet was releasing an amazing string of albums around the same time as the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album, such as Nefertiti, which hinted at the fusion recordings his band would record by decade's end and into the 1970s. I could go on. Thing is, the music by these and other similar artists sounds quite fresh today - one doesn't hear a lot of the gimmickry that made a lot of 1960s psychedelic rock sound out of tune with the times in a matter of months.

Like Madman, I'd just as soon do without that particular Beatles album, which was way too campy for its own good. Instead, I'll hold out for the recordings that actually had something to say back in the day, and continue speak to us now.

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