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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" -"RHETORICAL QUESTION" FEATURING THE ALBUM "SWISS MOVEMENT" BY LES McCANN AND EDDIE HARRIS IN HIGH DEF WITH NARRATIVE - EPISODE # 64 - THE CAPTAIN EXPLORES HIS COVE OF 8 TRACKS TREASURES FOR INSIGHT AND DELIGHT

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“CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL” -“RHETORICAL QUESTIONFEATURING THE ALBUM “SWISS MOVEMENTBY LES McCANN AND EDDIE HARRIS IN HIGH DEF WITH NARRATIVEEPISODE # 64

“RHETORICAL QUESTION

SWISS MOVEMENT by Les McCann and Eddie Harris (Atlantic, 1969)

This might seem like a radical statement, but it might just be possible that the ONLY jazz record that I actually knew in 1971 was Swiss Movement by The Les McCann Trio. Recorded at the Montreux Jazz Fest, this impromptu concert by the group, featuring Eddie Harris on sax, was passed to Nesuhi Ertegun at Atlantic Records, and released to a tidal wave of approbation, garnering a Grammy nomination, and making it to #1 on the Billboard Jazz chart, and #2 on the R&B.

It’s the perfect musical performance for the 8 track medium, too: an endless loop – a soulful, mid-tempo mobius strip of rolling piano and sax crescendos that have no beginning and no end. It could play smoothly for hours as you passed your doobies and swigged your Cold Duck; sometimes nestled in the background, and occasionally popping forward to ask the question: “Tryin’ make it real compared to WHAT?”

And, there lies it’s magic: that one miraculous vocal performance by Les McCann. This soul-jazz classic, created by Gene McDaniels, is one of the most effective and affecting protest songs ever written, up there on the rhetorical mountain top with Eve of Destruction, Ohio, and The Times They Are A Changin’.

When Les shouts: “GOD DAMN IT” everyone would stop what they were doing and join in. And, when the piano lifts us through its thrilling chordal transpositions you feel the equivalent spirit creeping up your spine, til you just have to shout along. According to critic B. Lee Cooper, the lyrics address “the social myth of equality and the economic reality of poverty in the U.S.” Yes, indeed, and it does so with humor, funk, and style. A slam dunk.


By Rich Buckland 07/04/2022 03:14 PM

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