All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

355

John Mayall: The Turning Point

By

Sign in to view read count
John Mayall's position in the British Blues world of the 1960's was akin to Art Blakey's position in the North American jazz scene. Both were gifted discoverers and developers of talent in addition to being notable musicians. At various times, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, John McVie, and Jack Bruce were members of Mayall's ever changing band. In 1968, about the time when the talented blues guitarist Mick Taylor left to play for the Rolling Stones, Mayall radically reconceived his usual electric guitar led format. His live album The Turning Point was the refined result of this risk taking.



Mayall eliminated the drummer in his new mix. Perhaps this was partially inspired by the presence of the talented bassist Steve Thompson, a deeply jazz influenced musician who provided a surprisingly flexible foundation for this innovative band. Both Mayall and acoustic guitarist Jon Mark ably switched off in the rhythm guitar role, helping to highlight the intricacy of exchange among the band's musicians. With an acoustic guitar and, at times, a flute in the mix this drummerless arrangement was ideal.



Jon Mark's excellence on guitar was in many ways the hub of the band, bridging the strong voices of the band's bassist and saxophonist. Whether soloing or working as an accompanist, Mark was consistently imaginative, at times displaying impressive classical technique. Johnny Almonds' bluesy, jazz saxophone generated much of the fire. His long solos, for example on "Thoughts About Roxanne," drove the band from above, providing a foil for Mayall?s vocals while Steve Thompson's bass guided the band from below.



This was a passionate band that listened and played intensely. Whatever his occasional shortcomings as a vocalist, when Mayall was on he was a distinctive and heartfelt singer, and that night in 1969 at the Fillmore East he was in good form. In addition, his famous harmonica work on "Room To Move" is still fresh and a pleasure to hear. The Turning Point manages somehow to be both laid back and exciting with a unique and sophisticated mix of musicians who play together like a great band is supposed to. In short, this is a blues-rock "classic" that deserves the tag.


Track Listing: The Laws Must Change; Saw Mill Gulch Road; I'm Gonna Fight For You J.B.; So Hard To Share; California; Thoughts About Roxanne; Room To Move. Added to the original tracks are: Sleeping By Her Side; Don't Waste My Time; and Can't Sleep This Night. All compositions are by John Mayall except for three composed by Mayall and Thompson. The 2001 sound re-mastering of this 1969 concert is excellent.

Personnel: John Mayall, vocals, harmonica, slide guitar, telecaster 6 string guitar, tambourine, and mouth percussion; Jon Mark, acoustic finger-style guitar; Steve Thompson, bass; Johnny Almond, tenor and alto saxophones, flutes, and mouth percussion.

Title: The Turning Point | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Polydor Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Somewhere In The Upstream" CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere In The Upstream
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 3, 2018
Read "Shifting Standards" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Standards
by Paul Rauch
Published: May 14, 2018
Read "Orientation" CD/LP/Track Review Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "Mutt Slang" CD/LP/Track Review Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Congo" CD/LP/Track Review Congo
by Chris May
Published: April 28, 2018
Read "Point Blank" CD/LP/Track Review Point Blank
by Chris May
Published: August 20, 2018