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Freedom Jazz Dance!

 
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nickJ



Joined: 08 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Freedom Jazz Dance! Reply with quote

…is one of the most well-known tunes by Eddie Harris from 1965 (he had some pop crossover hits, but I don't think this was one) that became popular with other players once Miles Davis recorded his own version a year later. It was covered by many others after that, and, according to thejerrysite, it was also played by Jerry 'n Merl a whopping ten times in 1974-1975. I guess that Martin Fierro brought it to their repertoire, given the very heavy Eddie Harris influence you can hear in his own playing (they also only played it when he was with the band).

If you don't know it, you can hear the original at
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or hear Miles' version
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/yJ11cArknek&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/yJ11cArknek&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

or another popular version by "jazz fusion" (ahem) organist Brian Auger, with lyrics (meh… the playing is hot, at least)
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/e4r9Kl4e6YA&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/e4r9Kl4e6YA&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

There are loads more more recent performances of FJD by various folks on youtube

So the song is a pretty minor piece of the overall puzzle, but that riff seems to pop up with some frequency in Jerry's playing afterwards. I know I've heard it more times than I can recount right now, but I do know it pops up in some strange places. There's a pretty strong tease of it during the one JGB performance of "So What" on 11/3/78. But more surprisingly, I was enjoying a good dose of 9/6/83 the other night and lo and behold, it popped right out at me during Space -- he doesn't play it directly, but listen around 5:20 and 5:50 (and a few times prior to that) and tell me that isn't Freedom Jazz Dance woven into the fabric of whatever path Garcia's wandering down.

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(the tracking is off; it's the 14th track in the player)

I recall that he does something very similar in the 9/26/81 Space as well, and I wouldn't be surprised if that riff doesn't pop up dozens of other times in other Spaces as well. But maybe the most surprising of all is the bonus track at the end of The Pizza Tapes (recorded in 1993), when Jerry and Tony Rice are chatting about Clarence White and then swap guitars with each other. What does Jerry play when he gets his hands on Tony's axe? Freedom Jazz Dance.

I also have to believe that FJD must have had some kind of influence on Slipknot, even though Jerry was already fooling around with Slipknot months before he actually played FJD onstage -- it has the same knotty, stop/start rhythm to it and sounds like it's the same scale.

If I had more than three of the live versions that Jerry & Merl did, I'd make an attempt at comparing different ones. Maybe I'll give it a shot with the few that I have.

Just some food for thought, anyway. Keep your ears open and you'll probably catch it somewhere.
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snow_and_rain
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sometimes think I hear Eddie Harris' influence on Jerry during certain songs. First time I really even thought about it was during the terrific Shakedown played in Chicago on 6/22/91. The tone and the phrasing are vintage EH style soul jazz.
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Ramblin_Joe



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry and Merl played this song the best in 1974. When I heard it for the first time I was immediately blown away. This is the kind of song where these two talented musicians can flat-out show off!
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