Wednesday, March 17, 2010
David Axelrod - Song of Innocence 
What started out as a jazz/rock experiment throw-away, decades later reveals itself as a lost classic. Along with Miles' work at the time, this was a very early example of the sound that would later become Jazz Fusion. Producer, arranger, and engineer David Axelrod made his mark with Cannonball Adderley, Lou Rawls, and the Electric Prunes. Song of Innocence made critics turn their heads in its day, regarding it as a visionary curiosity piece; today it's simply a great, timeless work of pop art that continues to inspire over four decades after its initial release.
After forming a band with a couple of yer typical garage-rockers of the time, Axelrod signed with Capitol and this masterpiece was his very first release. An instrumental concerto based on the works of William Blake, 'Song of Innocence' is entirely unique: neither Rock, Jazz, Classical, nor Easy Listening, the album blends elements of all four into a richly layered whole. While this may sound like a potentially pretentious train-wreck waiting to happen, nothing could be further from the truth. This is simply one of the most unique musical efforts of the last several decades. Distorted guitars, funky bass lines and drums that were shockingly loud for 1968, blend with churchy organ and symphony-size orchestras on songs like 'Holy Thursday' and the epic closer 'The Mental Traveler.'
"Imagine if Brian Wilson had suddenly decided to turn SMILE into a prototype for Isaac Hayes's soundtrack to SHAFT, and you're halfway there."