- Album name: Jazz Blues Fusion (Performed and Recorded Live in Boston and New York)
- Artist name: John Mayall
- Year: 1972
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Polydor
- Collection: Essex
- Distinguishing characteristics: price label on the back ($7.99)
- Buy it on Amazon: $319.00
Level of familiarity before listening
I’m not familiar with this record, but John Mayall has come up a few times:
- An Anthology of British Blues (1968): 5/5
- An Anthology of British Blues, Volume 2 (1968): 5/5
- The Turning Point (1969): 5/5
- The Last Time (1989): 4/5
What I expected
I like the blues, and I like some forms of jazz, but I don’t generally have a positive view of jazz fusion.
What it was actually like
This was actually great, and I don’t think I would have considered it “jazz fusion” at all. Maybe it could be “blues fusion,” if that were a thing.
Country Road was a slow and very traditional sounding blues song, so traditional that it was hard to believe Mayall wrote it, with solid harmonica, but also a prominent electric guitar counter-melody that I loved, and I also loved that the audience was delighted by it.
Mess Around was another blues song that was also electric and with harmonica but was more upbeat, and I thought the inclusion of jazzy horns did add to it.
Good Time Boogie was much faster – like a boogie – and was actually pretty cool, with a blues style electric guitar and then also a jazz style bass guitar. I liked listening to it for a while, but it went on way too long and I didn’t care much for the saxophone solo.
Change Your Ways was much more of a jazz song, with elements that would clearly be identified as funk several years later, and even had a series of solos – first saxophone and then electric guitar, both outstanding.
Dry Throat took a different approach, going back to a slower blues song like at the beginning of the record, and then continuing with some excessively jazzy saxophone that I didn’t enjoy much.
Exercise in C Major for Harmonica had an extended bass guitar solo that wasn’t really interesting to me, and then turned into more of a jazz song like Good Time Boogie.
Got to Be This Way wasn’t dramatically different from all the other songs, but I thought it was the best because it brought together everything from the others, and with a lot of blues elements as well as a lot of jazz elements, it really sounded like a new and different style that I couldn’t quite place.
Besides that, the record’s production made a pretty hard split between front right and front left, so the stereo sounded unusually on my speakers.
5/5: love it