Sounds

by

Fifth Estate # 56, June 19-July 1, 1968

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Children Of The Future: The Steve Miller Band (Capitol)

Capitol Records thought so highly of this West Coast group that they saw fit to shell out a reputed $50,000 in advance to record them. On record Steve Miller’s band is deceivingly extraordinary. Listening to this L.P. for the first time was painfully boring. They are not obviously exciting the first time around. The album is so smooth and uncluttered it may give the illusion of childish simplicity.

Further listening reveals many things. The production is excellent. A lot of time went into this record and the band collectively and individually are adept musicians.

The album contains a message, a simple forewarning of a takeover. Steve Miller, lead guitarist and vocalist, is unrecognized in this part of the country although he is a very clever guitarist. He literally burns in “Roll With It.”

Other standouts are “You’ve Got The Power”, “In My First Mind” and “Pushed Me To It.”

Miller has managed to avoid the duality of most acid-rock groups deliberately neglecting the wall of noise approach and relying mostly on a floating, completely angular and hypnotic technique. He accomplishes what many other groups seek to achieve…unification, an eerie, ant understanding or euphoria.

Quicksilver Messenger Service (Capitol)

Another west coast group granted a recording advance adding up to many thousands of dollars. This is their debut album and it’s good, but not great. The obvious familiarity with their instruments cancels out any urge to criticize them technically because they are good technicians as most of the top West Coast groups are.

The Q.M.S. entrance into the twilight zone of the avant-garde has to be taken seriously because they are musicians-it’s just that their material is a little weak.

Hesitant off-beats and ever-present time changes have acquired a lot of rust in the last year or so. This group may have pioneered this phase of acid-rock, but they waited too long to record it. Other groups have extracted Quicksilvers best ideas for their own purposes.

In “Pride Old Man,” John Cipollina’s timing is very interesting. He is the lead guitarist. The vocals on this cut are exceptional. Other standouts are “Dino Song” and “Light Your Windows.”

Bacchanal: Gabor Szabo (Skye)

Szabo has long been known to jazz followers as the most modern of the current crop of guitarists although there are many that have him beat from the technical standpoint.

His calculated, lyrical, modern, almost impassioned outlook on music is matched by his flawless taste and considerable facility to effectively interpret modern pop music. Evolving from an almost exclusive raga-like interpretation of the past pop melodies he has detailed his delivery perfectly.

He shows amazing control and brilliant taste and speed in this L.P. His use of feedback to provide melody and not a droning noise is unique in jazz. This album is undoubtedly Gabor Szabo’s finest and it is also one of the finest of the “new jazz”! “Kingfisher”, “Love is Blue”, “Valley Of The Dolls”, and “Bacchanal” are the standouts.

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