Musical Landscapes

featured image, the Copenhagen tapes, album cover reminiscent of a CoBrA landscape painting, 1964 live concert recording 

Some music invites travel through the heart of landscapes as yet undiscovered. A lot of the free transcendental jazz work of Alice Coltrane or Carlos Santana were able to do just this. While some may be more familiar with Sun Ra’s visual universe, there were so many more and other visual experiments. The album cover art work in the 1970s of such labels as Impulse, Verve, Columbia were visual supports for this inner voyage.

The recent passing away of drummer Sunny Murray a few days before my birthdate took me on a strange voyage of re-memoration through the landscapes that cluttered my young existence as my percussionist father listened to layer after layer of bebop, electric jazz, free jazz, acid jazz, funk, latin, african drummers, pygmy song, poetic chant, hep talk…as if to say that before “world music” there was simply music and many worlds.

The album cover art was my young minds point of entry to the music as I would lay on the ground with strewn album sleeves, tracing lines and colours with my fingers while I kicked my feet through the air to whatever time or no-time (as bassist Mr Grimes might say) was declaring itself in the recordings.

Here are a few more album covers with an invitation to travel. And don’t forget to listen to the music.

(Album covers from left to right. Taylor-1973, Santana-1971, Santana-1974, Santana-1970, Jordan-1973, Sanders-1971, Sanders-1977, J. Coltrane& A. Coltrane-1968, Sanders-1999, A.Coltrane& Santana-1974, Sanders-2014, Alice Coltrane-1970)


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RIP Sunny. Or rather, keep beating those drums in the celestial arkestra.