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Les McCann: Invitation to Openness

C. Michael Bailey By

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It is a simple matter of acid-base stoichiometry like that learned in any quantitative chemical analysis or medicinal chemistry course. If one treats the acid element of Parliament Funkadelic's Maggot Brain (Westbound, 1971) with the sweet bass of Leroy Vinnegar, then infuse as with juniper with gin, with honey and morphine: Les McCann's monumental Invitation to Openness would result. Ornette Coleman may have detonated a nuclear music device with Free Jazz; A Collective Improvisation (Atlantic, 1961), but it was McCann that brought that same spirit to funk, with much better results

Invitation to Openness is a free-form exploration of simple themes infused with the same spirit of McCann and Eddie Harris' 1969 performance of "Compared to What" at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, except more laid back. That piece is only bested by Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddamn." But this is not where McCann is coming from on Invitation to Openness. No, he has mellowed and transcribes that mellowness into an early 1970s love vibe. Stream-of-Conscience so far beyond Faulkner and Wolff and we cannot imagine life without it.

McCann's themes are developed slowly and fully elaborated upon in these lengthy presentations. McCann reprises a 1970s "Compared to What" but the original found on YouTube remains the definitive thought of the period. Invitation to Openness is hypnotically cannabinoid like UB40's Signing Off (Graduate Records, 1980): to be enjoyed with Absinthe and like company.

Track Listing: The Lovers; Breux J. Poo Boo; Poo Pye McGoochie (and his friends); Compared to What.

Personnel: Les McCann: keyboards; Yusef Lateef: tenor saxophone, oboe, flute pneumatic flute, flute, David Spinozza: guitars; Cornell Dupree: guitar; Corky Hale: harp; Jodie Christian: electric piano; Bill Salter: bass; Jimmy rowser: bass; Bernard Purdie:; drums and percussion Al Mouzon: drums and percussion; Donald Dean; William Clark: percussion; Ralph McDonald: percussion.

Title: Invitation to Openness | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Omnivore Recordings

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