Thursday, August 08, 2013

Mo' stuffs 'n' such


Big Mike Richardson posted this on Facebook awhile back and I wanted to grab it and post it here while I can still retrieve it. It's the Band of Gypsys playing "Earth Blues" at the Fillmore East, and of course it's a different version from the one on the Live At the Fillmore East 2CD. As the person who posted this on Youtube notes, JH is really in a zone here. A good example of why I believe he made his best music in the last year of his life. Contemplate what might have been, and dig what was.


Been on a Vernon Reid kick since the Living Colour show. I haven't heard all of his solo records, but Mistaken Identity, produced with Prince Paul and Teo Macero (!), hits like a Warner-era Funkadelic record, and I can respect the fact that Vernon could both play his ass off and not insist on dominating the mix. Front End Lifter, by Yohimbe Brothers (Vernon plus DJ Logic), has a hallucinatory quality and makes a good case for hip-hop as the logical extension of jazz.

He's also in Spectrum Road, a Tony Williams Lifetime tribute band (!) with Jack Bruce, John Medesky, and Cindy Blackman-Santana (yep, she's married to him), who earns her slot in the toughest position in that band and kicks more ass using the traditional grip than a brigade of lesser trap-kickers using matched hands. As big a shadow as the early John McLaughlin casts, I'm glad they included "Wildlife" from the Allan Holdsworth lineup (which I had the pleasure of seeing live in '76) in their repertoire.

Vernon also plays in Free-Form Funky Freqs, a power trio with Ornette's old Prime Time riddim section of Jamaladeen Tacuma and G. Calvin Weston. They played two gigs, then recorded their debut album. The video below is from their second show, in Jamaladeen and Calvin's hometown of Philly. Their modus operandi is just show and blow with no tunes or premeditation. Kind of like PFFFFT! did except, y'know, better.


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