Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

Jazz/Rock Fusion

The fusion of jazz and rock in the late sixties created an interesting new sound that helped elevate rock's image as serious music. Earlier in the decade Dave Brubeck had a minor but artistically influential hit with "Take 5." It marked a growing interest in offbeat jazz with its 5/4 time signature, an absolute rarity in mainstream music. It was a kind of music in which its artists were perceived as intellectual because of its innovative nature. The beatniks who defined themselves as part of "the beat generation" embraced progressive jazz, and by the late sixties progressive jazz shaped much of the basis of the early freeform radio sound.

The pioneers of jazz/rock included Santana, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tower Of Power and Chicago. Early Chicago recordings were very political and improvisational-sounding epic songs such as "Beginnings" and "Dialogue." Eventually after a string of hit ballads, however, they would fall more into the adult contemporary category. Several jazz/rock artists fell through the cracks in the sixties and seventies but made their mark influencing other musicians. One such band was Electric Flag, whose eight minute jam "Another Country" is a landmark recording that captured the spirit of advanced jazz/rock innovation as well as any other such recording of the era.

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