Monday, January 31, 2011

Les McCann "Invitation to Openness"

I don't think I've heard anything quite like Les McCann's early 70's music...And I'm speaking about his 1971 masterpiece "Invitation to Openness" Sure, there's the funk-fusion of "Headhunters", "Sextant" era Herbie Hancock, "In A Silent Way", "Bitches Brew" Miles Davis (the former more ambient-jazz, if that's a word...the later more straight-ahead fusion), some of the weirdness/eccentricity of early George Duke "Faces of Reflection" or Sun Ra "Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy" is there, but "Invitation to Openness" is a beast all in it's own.  From the opening cut, "The Lovers", which is EPIC...26 minutes of music that doesn't bore in the least.  It's got everything going...that ambient-electric keyboard sound, the drums, the distant sound of Yusef Lateef's flute, also a nice light touch of electric guitar and harp that adds to the blissful madness.  Blissful madness...hmm, that's what you hear on "The Lovers".  The only track outside of the Jazz genre that I could compare it to would be Popol Vuh's "In Den Garden Pharaos", which I remember listening to during one of many late inebriated nights while attending college in Portland.  Truly EPIC as well.  Laying on my bed with all of the lights out, just watching the light flicker of the disc player as the disc made it's way around, and the ambient keyboards swelled 'round my head.  But, it's a completely new time now...I've been on such a huge soul and jazz kick, mainly 60's and 70's, and Les McCann has everything I'm looking for in a jazz/ambient/funk fusion album.  Check it out!