The Guerilla Band

SKU: CDSOL-45222
Label:
Solid Records
Category:
Kosmigroov
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Mainstream Records was founded by legendary jazz producer Bob Shad in 1964.  Previous to that Shad worked with Savoy Records and launched Time Records in the mid 50s.

His new label was a bit different.  It was pretty contemporary.  He worked with many jazz musicians that were perhaps a bit past their peak but still had something to say.  Kats like Shelly Manne, Roy Haynes, Harold Land, and even Sarah Vaughn cut albums for Mainstream.  He also worked with a lot of journeyman jazz musicians that had signficant careers playing with some of the major names of the period.  Shad basically gave these musicians an opportunity to express their own voice.  Later on Mainstream crossed over into the rock field producing the first album from Big Brother & The Holding Company as well as The Amboy Dukes.  Plenty of collectible psych albums were released on the imprint as well.

Shad’s grandson is movie producer/comedian Judd Apatow.  Along with his sister he is curating and mining the Mainstream catalog.

At the moment our primary focus is on the period of the early 70s when Shad was encouraging his jazz artists to plug in.  There were some simply incredible albums released on the label that are frequently overlooked in the used bins.  Huge mistake.  If you are a fan of soul jazz, spiritual jazz, electric jazz, or kosmigroov - there were some phenomenal choices courtesy of Mainstream Records.

We are offering a selection of CD reissues from Japan that we think deserve your attention.  Here’s one:

Keyboardist Hal Galper is still going strong.  In 1971 he cut the first of three albums for Mainstream.  This is full on electric jazz with Galper manning the Fender Rhodes.  The Brecker Bros are doing some wickedness and guitarist Bob Mann tosses off wah wah laced lines.

"While not one of the classics of the jazz fusion movement of the early '70s, The Guerilla Band does attempt to say something substantial and avoids the genre's commercial pitfalls

Leader Hal Galper, who went on to become an acoustic pianist of note, is heard here exclusively on electric piano. His highly electronically processed sound is unlike the playing of the Fender Rhodes' more representative players from this era, such as Joe Zawinul or George Duke.

Galper's band includes brothers Mike (saxophone) and Randy Brecker (trumpet), who at this time were gaining critical acclaim with their band Dreams.  Dreams' guitarist Bob Mann is also on board. Session player and Cannonball Adderley alumnus Victor Gaskin is on electric bass. Steve Haas and Charles Alias team up for a double dose of drums.

Galper writes long, impressionistic lines that are played over busy, skittering, rhythms – imagine Miles Davis's In a Silent Way merged with a funky, Isley Brothers' track. This approach could work, but the drums generally create more clutter than groove, while Mann's scratchy playing often gets in the way of the music (it would have been interesting to hear this same band with a John Abercrombie or a John Scofield wailing over the top of these tracks).

Misgivings aside, this band produces a distinctive brand of jazz fusion that deserves a place in any thorough documentation of the genre's short-lived, peak creative years." - Allmusic

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  • "The career of pianist and composer Heikki Sarmanto spans five decades and has seem him work with various genres from jazz and avantgarde to classical and even opera. His artistic roots lie, however, in the so-called new jazz music of the sixties. It is this free-flowing and more avant-garde side to Sarmanto that the three album series The Helsinki Tapes wants to emphasize. The music on these three albums was recorded live at the N-Club, a small basement rock club in Helsinki in 1971 and 1972. A far cry from the polished stages of concert halls, the four-track recordings present a young and hungry band in their most creative and experimenting phase. These tapes lay forgotten for over four decades and are now presented in their full cleaned-up and remastered glory.Sarmanto studied music at the Berklee College in Boston in the late sixties, which is where he assembled his group Heikki Sarmanto Serious Music Ensemble. The group connected young, creative musicians from Finland and America - Heikki's brother Pekka on bass, Juhani Aaltonen on saxophone, Craig Herndon on drums and Lance Gunderson on guitar. Heikki himself took up a Fender Rhodes keyboard, not yet a common instrument in Scandinavia. The young quintet wanted to question the accepted norms in music, on which the choice of band name was a comment. "Serious Music Orchestra is a comment on the cultural status quo of the time, as the term 'serious music' was used to refer to the western classical tradition only. As if no other music would be worth of serious thought - and African-American jazz was the last thing to be taken seriously", recalls Sarmanto.Serious Music Ensemble lived for a couple of intense years and performed on Sarmanto's albums Like a Fragonard and Counterbalance. Due to studio and label constraints the albums ended up relatively clean, and the furious, experimental side to the band was kept largely under wraps. This will change with the release of the Helsinki Tapes Series: recorded by a student with simple four track equipment, the performances are unlike anything heard in Finland at the time. Operating free from the reins of studio producers and album formats, the music is wild, vivid and alive, ranging from free jazz bursts to more lyrical moments. Some of the band's repertoire is from Sarmanto's early albums, but many tracks played here were never recorded, and many of those that were do not resemble their studio counterparts.Saxophonist Juhani Aaltonen was not present in the lineup at any of the shows, so on the first album the band performs as a quartet, with vocalist Maija Hapuoja joining them on the 2nd album. The third part of Helsinki Tapes was recorded around the time of the studio sessions of Eero Koivistoinen's classic album 3rd Version, on which nearly all of Serious Music Ensemble played, and Koivistoinen paid back the favour by joining Serious Music Ensemble for the night. This album is especially interesting for fans of Koivistoinen, as he is on top form, tearing holes in the time-space continuum with his saxophone."
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  • The Japanese East Wind label was active in the 70s and into the early 80s.  This was a jazz label that focused on Japanese artists but also covered many popular US players.  While not as overtly audiophile as Three Blind Mice, the East Wind label was always noted for immaculate reference quality production.Universal Japan has released 72 titles from the East Wind catalog in extremely limited editions.  We've cherry picked those titles that we think are of interest to our customer base.Terumasa Hino is the legendary Japanese trumpet player who is still going strong today.  He has played around the world and played with the best.  Unfortunately he's probably best known in Japan.  When he launched his career in the late 60s he was playing pretty traditional straight ahead jazz.  Once he struck out with his own ensembles his music became more focused on spiritual jazz, frequently plugging in and crossing over into fusion.  Hogiuta was recorded in NY in 1976 and is one of the all time great kosmigroov albums.  The personnel consists of Terumasa Hino ( trumpet, flugel horn, percussion, voice), Cecil McBee (acoustic bass, voice), Motohiko Hino (drums, percussion, voice), M'tume (percussion, voice).  This album is totally cosmic.  It kicks off with the intense side long title piece that features McBee and the percussionists locking into a groove while Hino does his Miles-like best and its pretty damn great.  The album has stellar production.  If your system is set up right you will hear a deep soundstage with precise placement of intruments.  Cool panning effects with throw voices all around.  An incredible spacious recording that will really show off your system.  This is one of those albums that demands you fire up the vaporizer and dim the lights.  Hino had many magnificent albums through out his career but for my personal taste this is the one.  BUY OR DIE!
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  • Grey area live recording at a blow out price!"This historically important performance from March 22nd, 1973, was taped for broadcast on WBCN-FM, and captures visionary keyboardist and composer Herbie Hancock at a vital point in his musical trajectory, as he closed the Mwandishi (1971) chapter and embarked on his Head Hunters (1973) trip. Fearlessly creative and experimental, it's presented here in its entirety and in digitally remastered sound, together with background notes and images."Track Listing:01. Hornets 42:5502. You'll Know When You Get There 20:08
    $7.00
  • The Japanese East Wind label was active in the 70s and into the early 80s.  This was a jazz label that focused on Japanese artists but also covered many popular US players.  While not as overtly audiophile as Three Blind Mice, the East Wind label was always noted for immaculate reference quality production.Universal Japan has released 72 titles from the East Wind catalog in extremely limited editions.  We've cherry picked those titles that we think are of interest to our customer base.This monumental modal jazz set from 1975 features Masabumi Kikuchi (piano), Terumasa Hino (trumpet), Kohsuke Mine (tenor sax), Juni Booth (bass), and Eric Gravatt (drums).  The album consists of two side long pieces that showed the world that Japanese jazz was not merely aping US musicians.  This is as soulful and spiritual as you can get.  A dynamo performance enhanced with superior production.  After this Kikuchi started to explore fusion realms leading up to Kochi.  Highly recommended.
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  • The Japanese jazz scene is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Long written off as just a scene filled with copycats of American and European artists, jazz fans around the world are now discovering that there was some amazing music being created there.  Some of the musicians like Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi crossed over into the world jazz scene but for the most part many of the musicians there only gained popularity in Japan.  One of the most important Japanese jazz labels from the 70s was Three Blind Mice.  It was started in 1970 by producer Takeshi "Tee" Fuji.  The label adhered to strict audiophile standards and all of the releases on the label featured exemplary sonics.  The music of Three Blind Mice tended to fall into three facets of jazz (they would crossover from time to time).  Some of the artists play very traditional straight ahead jazz.  Frankly while this stuff appeals to audiophiles its not that appealing beyond the sonics.  There was also an experimental side to the label featuring a lot of free jazz blowing.  The third aspect, which to my ears is the most interesting, is the area where the label explored modal jazz, often with an electric element.  Very little of it would be hard card fusion, but a rock element would sometimes be present.  This falls into the realm that has been broadly tagged as "kosmigroov".The label only existed in the 70s and the rights to the catalog has now passed over to Sony Music.  Think Records in Japan has started a limited ediiton reissue campaign of the Three Blind Mice label.  They arrive in mini-LP sleeves and are manufactured using Sony's proprietary Blu-Spec process.  We are cherry picking titles we think should have your attention.  More will follow in the near future.This is the second part of a trilogy of albums coordinated by label founder Tee Fuji.  Its a bit of an all-star jam with members of the TBM roster.  The album consists of two side long groove laden tracks that give everyone a chance to blow.  Particularly notable is guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi.""The "Tee" here is Takashi Fujii – who doesn't play on the record, but instead arranged with the group – and produced the record with the really deep, complex sound we've come to love on 70s releases from the Three Blind Mice label! The group has a relatively spiritual approach right from the start – almost free, but more soulfully directed overall, and definitely with the sense of poetry you'd expect from the title! Takao Uematso serves up some great tenor sax, and Kenji Mori plays both soprano and tenor – in a group that also features Masaru Imada on electric and acoustic piano, Masayuki Takayanagi on guitar, and Hiroshi Murakomi on drums. Both tracks are long – and titles include "Combo 77" and "Sonnet"."
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  • The Japanese jazz scene is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Long written off as just a scene filled with copycats of American and European artists, jazz fans around the world are now discovering that there was some amazing music being created there.  Some of the musicians like Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi crossed over into the world jazz scene but for the most part many of the musicians there only gained popularity in Japan.  One of the most important Japanese jazz labels from the 70s was Three Blind Mice.  It was started in 1970 by producer Takeshi "Tee" Fuji.  The label adhered to strict audiophile standards and all of the releases on the label featured exemplary sonics.  The music of Three Blind Mice tended to fall into three facets of jazz (they would crossover from time to time).  Some of the artists play very traditional straight ahead jazz.  Frankly while this stuff appeals to audiophiles its not that appealing beyond the sonics.  There was also an experimental side to the label featuring a lot of free jazz blowing.  The third aspect, which to my ears is the most interesting, is the area where the label explored modal jazz, often with an electric element.  Very little of it would be hardly be called fusion, but a rock element would sometimes be present.  This falls into the realm that has been broadly tagged as "kosmigroov".The label only existed in the 70s and the rights to the catalog has now passed over to Sony Music.  Think Records in Japan has started a limited ediiton reissue campaign of the Three Blind Mice label.  They arrive in mini-LP sleeves and are manufactured using Sony's proprietary Blu-Spec process.  We are cherry picking titles we think should have your attention.  More will follow in the near future.George Otsuka is a very well known jazz drummer in Japan.  This is a hot set he recorded in 1976 for Three Blind Mice.  The album consists of 4 long tracks.  The lineup consists of Fender Rhodes, soprano and tenor sax, bass, drums, and percussion.  Some beautiful mellow parts that explode into high energy modal jazz with some freaky keyboard sounds.  This is a stunning recording that exemplifies the Three Blind Mice sound.  
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  • Essential third album from the Mwandishi band. A pure kosmigroov classic in which the ensemble touches on African based rhythms and electric fusion. Hancock and Patrick Gleeson somehow integrate a battery of electric keyboards into the jazz realm but in a way that was organic and seems just about right. A must own.
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  • Some of you may be familiar with sax/flautist Joe Farrell for his work with the original and last incarnation of Return To Forever or for his stint with Elvin Jones.   Farrell had an extensive career and recorded a good chunk of his discography for Creed Taylor's CTI label.  While that label later devolved into smooth jazz schlock the early 70s releases on the label were stellar - easily on par with Blue Note.  In fact Rudy Van Gelder handled the knobs for most of the CTI releases back then.  Moon Germs is no exception.  While most of Farrell's work for CTI was uniformly excellent there has to be a pinnacle and Moon Germs is it.  Check out this line up:Joe Farrell: flute and soprano saxHerbie Hancock: electric and acoustic pianoStanley Clarke: bassJack DeJohnette - drumsThis is the epitome of classic kosmigroov.  Its pure electric jazz.  All four musicians are playing their nuts off.  Herbie sends his electric piano into overdrive.  DeJohnette doesn't stray too often into rock territory so I wouldn't call this jazz rock although it certainly has that energy.  Clarke is insane on this record playing bass like John Entwhistle.  The album is just four tracks of highly frenetic but also highly melodic jazz that will blast your noggin into the stratosphere.  If you are a fan of fusion and are interested in moving backwards in time a bit this one would be a great place to start.  If you are a fan of kosmigroov and don't own this already you need to - its a cornerstone of your collection.  BUY OR DIE!"Recorded in 1972 and released in 1973 with Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, and Jack DeJohnette, Joe Farrell's Moon Germs was a foray into the electric side of jazz. On the opener, "Great George," Farrell leads off with the hint of a melody before careening into legato streams of thought along striated intervallic paths. DeJohnette is like a machine gun, quadruple-timing the band as Clarke moves against the grain in a series of fours and eights, and Hancock's attempts to keep the entire thing anchored are almost for naught. On the title track there is more of a funk backdrop, but the complex, angular runs and insane harmonic reaches Farrell attempts on his soprano, crack, falter, and ultimately turn into something else; the sheer busy-ness of the track is dazzling. "Bass Folk Song" by Clarke, is the only thing on the record that actively engages melody rather than harmonic structures. Farrell uses his flute and Hancock strides into the same kind of territory he explored with Miles Davis, chopping up chordal phrases into single lines and feeding them wholesale to the running pair of frontmen--in this case Clarke and Farrell. DeJohnette uses a Latin backdrop to hang his drumming on and pursues a circular, hypnotic groove on the cymbals and toms. It's a gorgeous piece of music and utilizes an aspect of space within the melodic frame that the rest of these firebrand tunes do not. This is sci-fi Farrell at his creative best." - Allmusic
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  • Tripped out album from South American guitarist Alfonso Lovo. Recorded in 1976, this only existed as an unreleased acetate.  With Santana percussionist Jose "Chepito" Areas on board, you can hear the obvious influences but there is a definite psychedelic vibe - this isn't straight up latin rock.  Synthesisers waft through the air with a lysergic randomness that reminds of some stoned out Jamaican session.  Snakey wah-wah'ed out guitar leads add to the fun and the horns and percussion treat the whole thing like some weird out take from Abraxas.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Sometimes there are great albums that just float underneath everyone's radar.  Poor distribution, small label - or simply a band is just too far ahead of the curve for collector's to catch up.   Sooner or later they do.  That's just the nature of collecting music.  Such is the case of Sway.  Many years ago I stumbled across a copy of this obscure Italian album from 1973 and could not find any mention of it beyond one advanced collector mentioning "Oh yeah that's rare".  At the time there was little interest from the rock community in modal jazz, souljazz, space jazz, kosmigroov - whatever you want to call it.  Jazz collectors may well have been aware of the album but perhaps because the lineup consisted of relatively unknown (outside of Italy) musicians, no one really paid much attention to the album.  I did my fair share of turning friends and collectors on to the album.  Maybe it made a difference.  All I know is that finding a copy of the album now is next to impossible.So what the hell am I exactly talking about?  Sway is a quintet led by noted jazz pianist Sante Palumbo (he's still going today!).  The rest of the lineup consists of journeymen session players: Hugo Heredia (alto/tenor sax, flute), Sergio Farina (guitar), Marco Ratti (acoustic/electric bass), and Lino Liguori (drums/percussion).  If you are a fan of electric Miles Davis or Weather Report you must hear this album.Palumbo is the focal point of the band - his runs on acoustic and electric piano are breathtaking.  This guy can tear of the keys.  The music has that definite kosmigroov sound.  Electric piano plays off of wah-wah laced guitar, some nice skronking sax (and at times gorgeous, liquid flute) and a rock solid rhythmic foundation.  There are some parts to the album which have a slightly freer vibe but for the most part is quite accessible.  If you listen carefully you might hear strains of a sound that bears a kinship to Canterbury. New authorized reissue from Schema Records.  BUY OR DIE!
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  • A jaw dropping jazz rock monolith from an unlikely source - Southern Lord Records.  Fontanelle was formed years ago from the ashes of the space rock outfit Jessamine.  Led by guitarist Rex Ritter and keyboardist Andy Brown, the Fontanelle ensemble set out to recreate the sound of early 70s fusion icons Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.  Vitamin F genuinely sounds like a mash up of Davis' Bitches Brew and Hancock's Mwandishi.  No other way to describe it.  The band is augmented with horns and lots of guests.  You would never imagine that these guys were connected with Sun O))).  Not only highly recommended but possibly 2012's best release.  "When Southern Lord Records – home of Eagle Twin, Sunn O))), Black Breath and Earth – releases an album by a jazz fusion collective, you know that things are not going to be entirely as you might expect. At the very least your expectations will be challenged, and it’s possible that you might be very surprised indeed. That being the case, then, what is this Portland, Oregon band all about?Well, the good news is that the music is challenging, engaging and intelligent; it takes its cues from jazz, fusion, post rock, avant-garde, ambient and even some forms of metal (doom, for example). Most obvious is the debt it owes to Bitches Brew (but then, what modern jazz doesn’t?), but there’s also Head Hunters-era Herbie Hancock and indeed something of Can in the mix.Metal it is not, but the boundaries of what musicians – and, for that matter, fans – will allow themselves to get involved with are more fluid than ever (think Alex Skolnick Trio and Steve DiGiorgio’s Dark Hall as two obvious examples). Add to that the phenomenon that is post rock with its penchant for extended, sometimes improvised pieces, and there is absolutely no reason why this album shouldn’t cross over successfully. Those with long memories or suitably expansive record collections can cast their minds back to the exciting, innovative movement that was ‘70s jazz fusion, with its links to the heavier side of music – John McLaughlin’s machine gun guitar, The Brecker Brothers’ Heavy Metal Be Bop and Jeff Beck’s Wired.So the influences are many, the lineage can be traced back to some of the key works in the pantheon and the album provides an eclectic mix of songs. It’s part acoustic, part electric: Fontanelle don’t tie themselves down to a particular style, or burden themselves with a musical template that must be used at all times. They are so much more than that. While there are moments of quiet, acoustic sound, there are also passages of fuzzed up keyboards, guitar and space rock-like electronica.Opener ‘Watermelon Hands’ needs no expansion of its influences – they’re hidden in plain sight – although the sound is in many ways just as close to an album like Future 2 Future as it is to Head Hunters. It has a steady tempo that introduces the album very well and features a host of sounds and instruments within its five minute duration. ‘The Adjacent Possible’ continues in a similar stylistic vein, although I like to think I can hear something of Ray Manzarek in there too. And understand that these comparisons are used purely to provide some context: the music is very much Fontanelle’s own sound and not something that is just derivative. It would do the band a huge disservice to fail to acknowledge the level of originality on display throughout Vitamin F. The band plays with sounds on ‘When The Fire Hits The Forest’ as effects-laden guitar and keyboard add a cosmic element to the song, its hypnotic rhythm the backbone upon which is hung the complexities of the composition. This is jazz for the new millennium, in spite of any ‘70s influences, the band really letting loose with wave after wave of musical themes and ideas.‘Ataxia’ utilises brass melody with a heavy accompaniment, perhaps as close to rock as you can get while still maintaining a jazz demeanour; while ‘Reassimilated’ is quieter but no less interesting as it brings the album to a gentle and satisfying close.If you like jazz or jazz fusion you will like this album, of that I have no doubt. If you’re not familiar with those musical genres, then Vitamin F could be the ideal place for you to start. It’s a great album and well worth checking out. " - Ghost Cult
    $14.00
  • First time on CD for this hot kosmigroov band from Germany. Released on the BASF label in 1971, it was the first of two albums by the ensemble.Sunbirds was put together by Drummer Klaus Weiss and keyboardist Fritz Pauer. The rest of band wasn't so bad either! Philip Catherine on electric guitar, Ferdinand Povel on flute, Jimmy Woods on bass, and Juan Romero on percussion. Pauer squeezes some great distortion out of his electric piano - must be sending it through a ring modulator. Definite kosmigroov goodness through out - the flute based parts remind a bit of Moon Germs and the percussion heaviness adds a bit of latin tinged flair. Features two nice long bonus cuts. Comes with a looong bio - typical for Garden Of Delights. Great great album.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • The Japanese jazz scene is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Long written off as just a scene filled with copycats of American and European artists, jazz fans around the world are now discovering that there was some amazing music being created there.  Some of the musicians like Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi crossed over into the world jazz scene but for the most part many of the musicians there only gained popularity in Japan.  One of the most important Japanese jazz labels from the 70s was Three Blind Mice.  It was started in 1970 by producer Takeshi "Tee" Fuji.  The label adhered to strict audiophile standards and all of the releases on the label featured exemplary sonics.  The music of Three Blind Mice tended to fall into three facets of jazz (they would crossover from time to time).  Some of the artists play very traditional straight ahead jazz.  Frankly while this stuff appeals to audiophiles its not that appealing beyond the sonics.  There was also an experimental side to the label featuring a lot of free jazz blowing.  The third aspect, which to my ears is the most interesting, is the area where the label explored modal jazz, often with an electric element.  Very little of it would be hard card fusion, but a rock element would sometimes be present.  This falls into the realm that has been broadly tagged as "kosmigroov".The label only existed in the 70s and the rights to the catalog has now passed over to Sony Music.  Think Records in Japan has started a limited ediiton reissue campaign of the Three Blind Mice label.  They arrive in mini-LP sleeves and are manufactured using Sony's proprietary Blu-Spec process.  We are cherry picking titles we think should have your attention.  More will follow in the near future.This is the first of a trilogy of albums coordinated by label founder Tee Fuji.  Its a bit of an all-star jam with members of the TBM roster.  Its a fully electric set that features serious blowing.  Some of it gets pretty freaky but in a good way."Sounds beyond compare – one of those really special 70s sessions from the Japanese Three Blind Mice label – put together in a way that almost seems to be a genre unto itself! The group here have a keen understanding of advances in free jazz and fusion, but work with a deeper spiritual undercurrent and a great sense of sound (shaped by producer Takashi "Tee" Fujii) – so that their individual instrumental elements flow together in rich new ways that are sometimes subtle, sometimes quite righteous! The lineup shifts a bit from track to track – and the set features xcellent work on flute and bass clarinet from Kenji Mori, electric piano from Masaru Imada, tenor from Takao Uematsu, and bass and cello from Nobuyoshi Ino. Titles include "End Of November", "Mort", "Our Foolish", and "Dragon Garden"."
    $29.00
  • 5CD budget priced set collects 5 of Joe Farrell's best work for CTI and is a nice complement to the Moon Germs release.  During his time with CTI Farrell explored electric jazz and early jazz rock sounds.  At the very least this is necessary for Upon This Rock and Penny Arcade which finds Joe Beck tearing it up on guitar. Overall though this is a fine collection.The set contains:Joe Farrell QuaretOutbackPenny ArcadeUpon This RockCanned Funk
    $23.00