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Tomorrow Never Knows

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Album Review

Steve Marcus' first solo album was an audacious and overlooked early jazz-rock fusion effort, predating by a year or two the more celebrated innovations in this field by the likes of Miles Davis and John McLaughlin. All but one of the six tracks are instrumental versions — mildly to radically extended — of then-recent rock songs, among them "Eight Miles High" (a natural for the jazz treatment), the Beatles' "Rain" and "Tomorrow Never Knows," "Mellow Yellow," and the less likely Herman's Hermits hit "Listen People." In a way it's a more free jazzy, wholly instrumental outgrowth of the similarly near-forgotten early fusion group the Free Spirits, as three-fifths of the Free Spirits (who had put out a slightly earlier album on ABC) — guitarist Larry Coryell, drummer Bob Moses, and bassist Chris Hills — make up three-fifths of the band on Tomorrow Never Knows. Coryell contributes some fierce electric guitar work (getting into some feedback on "Tomorrow Never Knows"), and Mike Nock some psychedelic-style electric keyboards, though bandleader Marcus does assume the greatest prominence with his Coltrane-ish saxophone improvisations. Whether this would appeal to rock-grounded listeners, despite the undoubtedly rock-grounded material, depends very much on individual tastes. Though at times it sticks fairly close to the familiar riffs and melodies of the songs, at others it goes into extremely adventurous, at times even cacophonous free jazz (as they do at the end of "Mellow Yellow") that might lose some less hardy souls. "Eight Miles High" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" (where Coryell really lets loose) are the most successful tracks, with the closing Gary Burton composition "Half a Heart" taking the band back to more introspective, straighter jazz grooves. The CD reissue on Water is boosted by thorough historical liner notes, including recollections by Marcus and Nock.

Biography

Born: 18 September 1939 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Tenor saxophonist Steve "The Count" Marcus was a pioneering force behind the emergence of what would eventually become known as fusion. Born in New York City on September 18, 1939, Marcus initially desired to play guitar, but when he couldn't find a teacher, he adopted the clarinet instead and finally moved to saxophone at age 15. He was a student at the Berklee School of Music in 1962 when Stan Kenton came to Boston for a gig. When Kenton's tenor saxophonist, Charlie Mariano, skipped rehearsal to...
Full bio
Tomorrow Never Knows, Steve Marcus
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  • 11,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Rock, Hard Bop
  • Released: Apr 1968

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