After guitarist Mick Taylor bolted John Mayall's Bluesbreakers for the Rolling Stones in 1969, Mayall opted for a stripped-down, "unplugged" sound. The independent-minded Brit centered his new band around acoustic guitars, and hired saxman/flutist John Almond and mellow guitarist Jon Mark. In a move viewed as revolutionary at the time, Mayall also eschewed a drummer. The result was the classic album Turning Point, a gentle but jazzy blues album recorded live at the Fillmore East. The record was embraced by peace-loving hippies across the planet, and it still holds up pretty well today.
During this same period, a team of young film makers decided to record Mayall's every movement and utterance in 1969. Their film recently resurfaced in England, and apparently it's being re-released there. The Masters is a companion two-CD package that contains sound excerpts from this 1969 movie a mix of live performances, rehearsals, spoken snippets and interviews.
The performances are not nearly as sharp as on the original Turning Point, and the sound quality is bad in comparison. The spoken snippets and interviews should only interest Mayall fanatics. The songs are virtually the same as on Turning Point, with a couple of added selections. The performances are also similar, though Mayall's off-key singing pretty much ruins "Sleeping By Her Side" and "Thoughts About Roxanne," two favorites from the original. In short, Turning Point is a much better album.
Casual Mayall fans should steer clear of this one. Still, if you're among the multitude of aging hippies for whom Turning Point summons warm memories, you'll probably want to own The Masters. Even though it's a two-CD set, it's priced the same as one CD.
Consumer alert: The film has also spawned a separate CD release, Live at the Marquee 1969, which has even worse sound quality so bad that it's unlistenable.
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell. Misty by Erroll Garner is one of my favourite tracks. My current choice of guitars are Gibson ES335 & ES175 although I only own Epiphone copies at present. I also play classical guitar and love to play jazz on them. I have recently moved to Leeds from York and hoping to meet new friends in the jazz community.