Before earning world renown as one of the most electrifying guitarists in American bop, Larry Coryell was a member of a local NYC group called The Free Spirits who is widely considered to be the very first act to fuse rock and jazz into a cohesive unit of expression.
Their sound was one that brought the psyched-out, organ-heavy vibe of such Metro area heroes as The Vagrants, The Hassles and Vanilla Fudge to the improvisational landscape of the Village Vanguard circuit, rafting a primitive version of a style that would reach a fever pitch in the 1970s with acts like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever and Weather Report.
This 10 song live set, unearthed by the UK archive imprint Sunbeam Records, catches the group at their youngest and most savage during an early 1967 performance at Steve Paul’s mythical Midtown nightclub The Scene. Though the fidelity of the recording is a B- audience capture at best, this dynamic document serves as a potent glimpse into the uncanny prowess of The Free Spirits at the peak of their game in a way their eponymous studio debut from 1966 could never fully convey, augmented by impressive guest turns from such fellow future jazz leaders as Randy Brecker, Joe Beck and Dave Liebman.
Regardless of its fidelity, Live At The Scene is nevertheless a worthwhile slice of New York rock history that any educated fan of fusion needs to check out.
by Stephen Judge
1. "LBOD" (Larry Coryell, Bob Moses) - 2:48
2. I Feel A Song (Larry Coryell) - 5:10
3. Earth Girl (Columbus "Chip" Baker) - 5:03
4. Sunday Telephone (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 5:57
5. Cosmic Daddy Dancer (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 4:49
6. Storm (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 2:39
7. Blue Water Mother (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 2:53
8. Peyote Song-Girl Of The Mountain (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell, Jim Pepper) - 3:48
9. I'm Gonna Be Free (Larry Coryell) - 9:33
10.Night In Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie) - 12:32
The Free Spirits
*Columbus "Chip" Baker - Guitar, Vocals
*Larry Coryell - Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Hills - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Moses - Drums
*Jim Pepper - Flute, Vocals
*Randy Brecker - Trumpet
*Joe Beck - Guitar
*David Liebman - Tenor Sax
1969 Larry Coryell - Coryell
the Free Text