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Larry Young - Mother Ship CD (album) cover


Larry Young


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 5 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Recorded in 1969, Mother Ship would be Larry Young's last 'jazz' record, and his last recording for the Blue Note label. The cover of the album shows him in a traditionally dark jazz club wearing a black tie and coat, in a few months he would be wearing a dashiki and playing psychedelic jazz rock with Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix and Jon McLaughlin. For those interested in Larry's transition from jazzist to fusion rocker, this LP has a lot of music that shows Young clearly in between the two worlds, and obviously moving further away from jazz. A lot of the styles present on here will show up in a slightly harder form on Young's first solo fusion recording, Lawrence of Newark, and also on Tony William's original Lifetime recordings.

Three of the songs on here are in the semi-free swing based post hard-bop style that was made popular by the Miles Davis Quintet and Ornette Coleman. Drummer Eddie Gladden displays a lot of similarities to Tony Williams as he stretches the time and provides creative fills that add to the phrasing of the soloists. On these songs Young starts his solos with mysterious passages that swell out of the background and finally builds into furious assaults that recall avant saxophonists such as Coltrane and Pharoh Sanders.

Two other songs are in a quasi-rock style that has Young providing a steady pulse on the B3 pedals leaving Gladden to do his usual poly-rhythmic drum fills. Larry's solos on these two songs show the cross-influence that was beginning to happen between himself and early British progressive and/or psychedelic rock bands such as Trinity and the Nice. Although Mother Ship came out after Brian Auger and Keith Emerson were well established, there is no doubt that Young's early recordings had an effect on them, as their use of electronic effects and synthesizers would have an effect on Young. Emerson in particular seems to have picked up a lot listening to Larry's solos and chord voicings. Listen to Trip Merchant on this album for a good example.

If you have ever wondered what bands like the 60s version of Ornette Coleman's group or The Miles Davis Quintet would sound like with a quasi-psychedelic Hammond B3 player on board, or what the Nice would have sounded like with a jazz drummer, this is the album for you. Larry Young is brilliant throughout this album providing creative organ sounds that may remind some of Sun Ra, Nina Rota, Bo Hanson, the young Keith Emerson and sometimes even those quirky 60's exotica lounge records. All of the compositions and musicians on here are excellent!

Easy Money | 4/5 |


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