Monday, October 11, 2010
Gary McFarland: I Don't Need the Rain
McFarland released two "concept" albums within the space of about a year, this astrological one in 1968 & the serious, environmental-themed “America The Beautiful: An Account Of Its Disappearance” in 1969. I haven't heard the entire "America." The latter won a Grammy for cover design, may been been nominated in another jazz category, but by then McFarland was like a man without a musical nation to call home. Repudiated several years earlier by most jazz critics & fans for going "soft" & "pop" - jazz itself was becoming more racialized, radicalized, amplified, & funkified, McFarland probably didn't know who the audience was for this stuff. But he recorded it anyway. Much of his music was lightweight but it was always quality. McFarland was killed in 1971 in a New York bar by a drink someone had laced with methadone. His music disappeared. He was completely off my musical radar, unusual because he was an arranger & producer of stature in the early Sixties. "Scorpio and Other Signs," released on Verve, a major jazz label, is not available as CD or download. With a few more uploads by fans of the LP it'll all be on You Tube.