By Sean Aaron Cruz
The Free Spirits were the first jazz-rock fusion band in the history of music, the cutting edge of jazz groups experimenting in rock music and rock bands experimenting in jazz in 1966-67. Their LP, “Out of Sight and Sound”, pre-dated Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, and the formation of Blood, Sweat and Tears, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and other similar fusion bands by several years.
The quintet consisted of:
Larry Coryell, guitar and vocals
Jim Pepper, tenor saxophone, flute and vocals
Columbus Chip Baker, guitar and vocals
Bob Moses, drums
Primarily jazz musicians, The Free Spirits formed in
York City with a commitment to take the music in new
directions and performed on bills with Jimi Hendrix, Cream, the Doors and Andy
Warhol’s Velvet Underground.
Rakalam Bob Moses recently had this to say about Jim Pepper:
The Free Spirits Live at The Scene, February 22, 1967, has been recently released. Two tracks include Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker and the late Joe Beck sitting in on the band’s second set.
For those of you who read down this far, we are working on a historic reunion concert of The Free Spirits to kick off the first annual Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival in late summer 2013.