The Free Spirits – Live At The Scene: February 22nd 1967 (Sunbeam Records)


The Free Spirits were historically important, credited as perhaps the first band to combine jazz and rock. Their leader Larry Coryell would eventually become one of the most respected guitarists on the jazz-fusion scene. However, this live album’s awful sound quality renders all that context meaningless, and leaves you desperately struggling to hear the instruments amid bootleg-quality murk. The audience can actually be heard more clearly than the action coming from the stage. Listening past the dense audio mud, I can hear that The Free Spirits were technically talented, able to rise up to challenge of bringing jazz soloing into the context of rock music. Songwriting, however, was a weak point; and if you remove all the jazzy elements you’re left with a garden-variety hippie band whose ideas haven’t aged well (song titles like “Cosmic Daddy Dancer”, “Earth Girl” and “Peyote Song/Girl Of The Mountain” are telling), and that’s probably not enough to float anyone’s boat.

Tracklisting:

  1. “LBOD” (excerpt)
  2. I Feel A Song
  3. 3. Earth Girl
  4. 4. Sunday Telephone
  5. Cosmic Daddy Dancer
  6. Storm
  7. Blue Water Mother
  8. Peyote Song / Girl Of The Mountain
  9. I’m Gonna Be Free
  10. A Night In Tunisia
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