Coltrane was dead. And flautist Herbie Mann's band didn't boast the jaw-dropping hive mind of Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet. What Mann had was a splendid band of creative misfits. Among others: incendiary guitarist Sonny Sharrock in his obsessive chording phase; bassist Miroslav Vitous, who'd go on to cofound Weather Report; and Linda Sharrock, fucking conventional notions of voice even more flagrantly than her husband violated those of his axe.
...featuring Herbie Mann
The misfits got three discs worth of material out of this Whisky stand, but nothing on this double-CD set has ever before seen the outside world. On the first night they occasionally try to play "If I Were a Carpenter" straight; on the second night, Fuck it, we’re gonna jam, sucker, half an hour, maybe wave a hand in the general direction of the melody. Such was the speed of thought.
Miles’s Second Great Quintet sometimes made it sound too easy, as if E.S.P. (title to that group’s first studio set) could actually be taken for granted. Here, you hear sweat, from grooves pushed, foreheads figuratively put together. They sometimes strained for collectivity, but you can study how they built it from six, sometimes seven heads.
Linda Sharrock’s only on two cuts, but she’s hard to avoid, zooming from zero to gospel to inhuman shrieking in a pop-song span. Pop songs become springboards. Into the air, a double-flip, then deep down. Hold your breath in rapture. Watch for blowfish.
- Album: Live at the Whisky 1969 — The Unreleased Masters
- Artist: Herbie Mann
- Label: Real Gone Music
- Songs: Disc 1: (1) Untitled Jam (2) Tangier/If I Were a Carpenter (3) Memphis Underground (4) Ooh Baby (5) Scarborough Fair; Disc 2: (1) Black Woman (2) All Blues (3) If I Were a Carpenter (4) Philly Dog (5) Portrait of Linda in Three Colors, All Black (6) Comin’ Home Baby/Battle Hymn of the Republic (7) Chain of Fools