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Milestones

The Blues Project--"The Flute Thing"

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I just listened to this, for the first time in maybe 40 years.  The Blues Project was an obscure but admired group from the 1960s that mixed jazz, blues, rock, etc--pretty much the precursor to Blood, Sweat & Tears (literally, since Al Kooper and Steve Katz were in the band).

Al Kooper actually said that a good jazz player listening to "The Flute Thing " would probably vomit! 

I think it's a pretty cool tune and it sounds like a first-cousin to a Horace Silver piece or something in that vein.

 

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I was a fan of the group's first two albums ('Live at Cafe Au Go Go", "Projections", which has the original "Flute Thing"), though Verve did them wrong in releasing that "At Town Hall" monstrosity and the musically unrelated "Planned Obsolescence", which in reality was basically the first Seatrain album.  Danny Kalb was great in the original group, which are perfectly anthologized here,

The Blues Project Anthology ~ NEW 2-CD Set (Jan-1997, Polydor/Chronicles  (USA)) 731452975829 | eBay

and had a fabulous one-shot reunion concert in the early 70's here:

Blues Project Reunion in Central Park CD Incredible Value and for sale  online | eBay

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1 hour ago, Milestones said:

I just listened to this, for the first time in maybe 40 years.  The Blues Project was an obscure but admired group from the 1960s that mixed jazz, blues, rock, etc--pretty much the precursor to Blood, Sweat & Tears (literally, since Al Kooper and Steve Katz were in the band).

Al Kooper actually said that a good jazz player listening to "The Flute Thing " would probably vomit! 

I think it's a pretty cool tune and it sounds like a first-cousin to a Horace Silver piece or something in that vein.

 

Flute Thing = Heck yeah!

I actually like the Town Hall LP. They didn’t have a wide discography — Al was a pretty peripatetic musician — so you have to take what you can get, warts and all. Still searching for a nice copy of Live at the Cafe Au Go Go. 

Edited by Brad

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"Flute Thing" was played all the time on NYC FM radio late 60's - early 70's.  I was at that Central Park reunion and was disappointed they didn't play it.  (Strangely enough, I also saw Seatrain opening for the Mothers at the Fillmore East.)

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When I was in college in the late 60's, "Flute Thing" was always #1 with a bullet when we fired up our last fatty of the evening. 

 

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9 hours ago, Milestones said:

Al Kooper actually said that a good jazz player listening to "The Flute Thing " would probably vomit! 

Vomit's a bit strong, maybe.

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Vomit's a bit strong, maybe.

Gag?

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Change the record, probably...or leave the room. Or stop listening and start hitting on a chick. Or maybe find somebody with better weed.

The options are limitless, really.

I didn't get to Projections until I was already into established/rooted/proven jazz and blues, and it sounded to me like what it was - some New York rock guys trying to figure out what was already being done by others, and although I gave them full credit for curiosity and for not exactly copying (but not exactly getting deep into any of it), but I was like, uh, what is here for me? And the answer was, pretty much nothing, y'all have fun on your vacation, or whatever it is.

Nothing against any of them or any of it, it just had zero resonance for me, Keep in mind that I was 15 in 1970 when my musical interests took a shift, so they were already long gone as a current band, and 1970 was when I was pretty much done with rock period (Hendrix & Zappa excepted, + a few other eccentric/eclectic things of the time, period, of which there were still plenty), so....wrong time and place for me to hear them. But I did have high hopes for that album when I picked it up (1972?). But...uh...oh well. Guess you had to have been there. Still, it doesn't take much of extended exposure to fully organic/competent playing to tell a joker from a king, if you know what I mena,

Al Kooper did give a nice interview in Hit Parader about the birth of Blood Sweat & Tears that was really nice, though, that's still a good read, maybe I should scan it and post it here. He was a good talker!

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

 

Al Kooper did give a nice interview in Hit Parader about the birth of Blood Sweat & Tears that was really nice, though, that's still a good read, maybe I should scan it and post it here. He was a good talker!

His autobiography Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards: Memoirs of a Rock 'N' Roll Survivor is a good read. 

Edited by medjuck

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Al Kooper claims he got the melody for FT from a lick in a Barney Kessel guitar solo. He said it was an idea that BK played on the last chord of a tune. I could hear BK doing it on a minor 9th chord.

I was pretty young when I first heard it on my sister's stereo, and it acted like a gateway drug to jazz (along with that CM song). I copied it, and taught it to my friends in my little kiddie rock band, and we'd jam on it for hours. The original studio version is pretty lame, solo-wise, so I think that's what AK meant when he made that vomit comment, but I think they realized how lame the flute solo was, and they did a live version that put the flute through an echoplex that made the flute solo sound much more effective. Shades of Don Ellis!

That whole scene with Kooper, Katz and Colomby forming BS&T, and then Katz and Colomby forming a mutiny that led to Kooper quitting the band was something I was completely unaware of at the time, and a good resource on it is Steve Katz' autobiography, which presents the other side of the Kooper BS&T split. Kooper and Katz still hat each other's guts up to this very day!

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