The Free Spirits – Out Of Sight And Sound

Kinda like the mid’60s folkies, even though generally more ignorant of it, some of the jazz beatniks seem to have gotten into the trappings of the rock’n’roll “outrage” as well.

Among the first ones to get hooked, was this bunch of “free spirited” New York city jazzmen, providing us with what might as well be considered the first jazz-rock record, coming as a result of the band’s 60 days (!) together.

Turning down Paul Rothchild in favour of the experienced jazz producer Bob Thiele (Coltrane, Mingus, Shepp …), turned out to be not so wise, with the restrictions of an older, and therefore much more disdainful towards “just rock”, “soulmate”, who didn’t let the “sprits” flying around as “freely” as they were hoping for.

Notwithstanding, not being able to stop their jazz roots coming to the fore, they still managed to come up with some pretty revolutionary stuff, sometimes sounding like The Zombies at their moodiest (LBOD), and Manfred Mann on some of their “less commercial” jazzy sides (Angel’s Can’t Be True).

Or getting into full-blown Indian-flavoured raga as in I’m Gonna Be Free, while occasionally they also managed to deliver an almost (!) conventional, West-Coast harmony-laden r’n’b, as heard in Sunday Telephone, Cosmic Daddy Dancer, Bad News Cat or the Georgie Fame-ish Early Mornin’ Fear.

Getting back to the folk-rock reference at the beginning of the paragraph, it’s where Tattoo Man might easily fit, in the bonus single-side I Feel A Song there’s even audible touch of punky attitude, and the pair of Girl Of The Mountain / Storm is sure to please any soft-ish popsike fan.

Out Of Sight And Sound, and most definitely out of time back when it was released, and now back into it, after no less than forty years!

[Released by Sunbeam 2006]

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