Sunday, November 20, 2005


The redoubtable Dax Montana continues to amaze me.

Why, I popped over to his site this morning, and what should I find staring out at me than the album cover of Birds of Fire, one of the seminal Mahavishnu Orchestra works?

Here was Dax, writing about music: Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, Jean-Luc Ponty, Jan Hammer, John McLaughlin. Cobham, Hammer, and McLaughlin, of course, made up the core of Mahavishnu. Jazz-rock fusion of the first water, early 1970’s vintage.

Birds of Fire was one of the first discs I played on the new stereo system I bought myself in January 1972. That, and Traffic’s Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory, which arguably was Rock-Jazz Fusion.

That stereo was my Pride and Joy. A Dual turntable (remember turntables?), a BIC Lux receiver, and a set of large Advent speakers - the whole mess set me back $600 in 1972 dollars. As expensive as that was, it was strictly minor league amongst the audiophiles I went to school with. One guy who lived upstairs from us had a quadrophonic system with four - count ’em - four Bose 901 speakers and a couple of Phase Linear amps to drive ’em. The damn thing was capable of cracking plaster walls with the volume turned up. Really. And even while it was making you bleed from the eardrums, it had crystal-clear, perfect sound fidelity. But I digress...

Back in the early to mid 1970’s, I amassed a serious Jazz-Rock Fusion collection, one that shaded towards pure jazz after a while. Any of these names sound familiar?
  • Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express
  • Gato Barbieri
  • Gary Burton
  • Cab Calloway
  • Stanley Clarke
  • Billy Cobham
  • Larry Coryell and The Eleventh House
  • Miles Davis
  • Urszula Dudziak
  • Joe Farrell
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Stan Getz
  • Dexter Gordon
  • Les McCann & Eddie Harris
  • Pat Metheny
  • Jean-Luc Ponty
  • Flora Purim
  • Joe Sample
  • Lonnie Liston Smith
  • McCoy Tyner
  • Michal Urbaniak
  • Bennie Wallace
  • Weather Report
But here’s the thing of it.

Dax ain’t no Old Guy like me. He’s a genuine Grit-Eatin’ Southron Boy, not some double-domed, pointy-headed Damyank. And yet here he is, listening to the likes of Mr. McLaughlin and friends...

Just Damn!

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