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July 01, 2009

Musical Backfill

In keeping with my promise to explore the back catalog of Sony items now available on eMusic, I downloaded two albums that I wore out on vinyl decades ago. Both are from that overbroad umbrella category, jazz fusion:

Birds of Fire was the second album by John McLaughlin's band, and the last with their original line-up, losing Billy Cobham, but gaining Jean-Luc Ponty for their next effort, Apocalypse. Birds of Fire came out in 1973, while I was still in high school ("Drink and drive, drink and drive, we're the class of '75!"), but to be honest, I probably didn't really find out about it until my freshman year in college. As I understand it, it was a watershed album, diminished in impact only by the fact that it followed their first album, The Inner Mounting Flame. However, my own experience is that the years of high school and college were filled with so many unique and rich bands that this just seemed appropriate. Listening to it now, I can say it is still a great favorite of mine.

Heavy Weather is probably the only Weather Report album I owned. My memory is vague. Looking over the album info now, I am amused to find that Wayne Shorter was in Weather Report. He was a great bebop jazz musician who both led bands of his own and appeared in many other important bands such as Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis' second quintet. This is kind of like the revelation I got when I first found out that Herbie Hancock, whom I'd previously known from another favorite 1973 album, Head Hunters (in my queue at eMusic), had a prior life full of jazz appearances, including a stint with Miles Davis in his second quintet!. Urp! I think I just swallowed my tail!

Anyway, just living off of fond memories, I can mine the Sony catalog for years, if I want to. They think they're soooo clever, only agreeing to put albums that are at least two years old onto eMusic! Is 1973 old enough for you, Sony! Thpppt!

Posted by dpwakefield at July 1, 2009 09:42 PM


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