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The convergence of San Francisco psychedelic post-jazz collective Mushroom and trumpeter Eddie Gale seems preordained. For the past ten years the collective has been performing music in the spirit of Can, Gong, Soft Machine, and the Allman Brothers. Finding that Eddie Gale lives on the west coast certainly caused the convergence of his horn with this band.
Known for his work with Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, and Larry Young, Gale carried forward the lessons of John Coltrane (post-Ascension, Impulse!, 1965) and Miles Davis' electric years. His two long out-of-print albums Ghetto Music (Blue Note, 1968) and Black Rhythm Happening (Blue Note, 1969) were re-released on the Water label in 2003. They revealed the social consciousness of the times with its "Afro-pride" and visionary (maybe utopian) goals.
As the late 1970s turned into the 80s, artists seemed less likely to let their freak flags fly. Disco happened, and so did the conservative Wynton Marsalis years. But just as the Earth Day movement of the 1960s has returned to our consciousness with the threat of global warming, "progressive" music has also.
The disc opens with "Peace, a pastoral glide of Gale's muted trumpet against some blooming flute, and the promise of headphones-only psychedelia. The very busy centerpiece of the record is the eighteen-minute "I Was Torn Down At The Dance Place, Shaved Head At The Organ a rhythm-propelled forum for Gale's trumpet. He comes at you much like Miles at the Philharmonic Hall (Columbia, 1973). Like much of progressive music of the 1970s, and well, today, the guitar plays a strong role in the sound. Here, Tim Plowman and Erik Pearson trade off the role as foil for Gale.
Mushroom creates a catalog of freaky sounds favored by the Beastie Boys from their Check Your Head (Capitol, 1992) and Ill Communication (Capitol, 1994) records. Fuzzy organs and vintage electric piano are punched up by the driving beats of Pat Thomas. These forays into music's chimerical past are both nostalgic and very "this century" hip.
Track Listing: Peace; I Dont Need To Fight, To Prove Im Right, I Dont Need To Be Forgiven; I Was Torn Down At The Dance
Place, Shaved Head At The Organ; Border Crossing; Selling Oakland By The Pound; Our Love; The Spirit.
Personnel: Eddie Gale: trumpet; Pat Thomas: drums, congas; Ned Doherty: bass; Matt Henry: Mellotron flutes, cello,
Rhodes piano, clavinet, piano, Hammond C3 piano, minimoog, Yamaha electrone, Korg MS-10 synthesizer;
Tom Plowman: guitar; David Brandt: vibraphone, congas, djembe, percussion; Dave Mihaly: marimba,
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.