Jethro Tull's first LP-length epic is a masterpiece in the annals of progressive rock, and one of the few works of its kind that still holds up decades later. Mixing hard rock and English folk music with classical influences, set to stream-of-consciousness lyrics so dense with imagery that one might spend weeks pondering their meaning – assuming one feels the need to do so – the group created a dazzling tour de force, at once playful, profound, and challenging, without overwhelming the listener…
From the opening four notes of Michael Henderson's hypnotically minimal bass that open the unedited master of "On the Corner," answered a few seconds later by the swirl of color, texture, and above all rhythm, it becomes a immediately apparent that Miles Davis had left the jazz world he helped to invent – forever. The 19-minute-and-25-second track has never been issued in full until now. It is one of the 31 tracks in The Complete On the Corner Sessions, a six-disc box recorded between 1972 and 1975 that centers on the albums On the Corner, Get Up with It, and the hodgepodge leftovers collection Big Fun. It is also the final of eight boxes in the series of Columbia's studio sessions with Davis from the 1950s through 1975, when he retired from music before his return in the 1980s. Previously issued have been Davis' historic sessions with John Coltrane in the first quintet, the Gil Evans collaborations, the Seven Steps to Heaven recordings, the complete second quintet recordings, and the complete In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and Jack Johnson sessions. There have been a number of live sets as well; the most closely related one to this is the live Cellar Door Sessions 1970, issued in 2005.
Sweet organ lines, heavy drums, and a great little groove throughout – a tight batch of groovers from the mighty Charles Kynard! The keyboardist is in fine 70s form here – stepping away from the sparer sound of his albums for Prestige with a fuller style for Mainstream Records – in a groove that's almost part blacksploitation funk, thanks to some sharp backings from arranger Richard Fritz! The mighty Paul Humphrey is at the bottom of the set on nicely funky drums – and other players include Arthur Adams on guitar, Chuck Rainey on bass, and some great additional horns, which give the record a larger jazzy finish, but never get in the way of Kynard's lean, mean organ lines. There's a great version of "Rock Steady" on the album, one that has a great funky intro – plus the cuts "Shout", "Lime Twig", "Slop Jar", "Name The Missing Word", "Little Ghetto Boy", and "Hot Sauce".
A somewhat less ambitious record than Mudlark, from a recording standpoint, Greenhouse is a true solo record that offers several surprises. Over a third of it is made up of vocal numbers, including two that are absolutely superb. "Tiny Island" may be the best track here, a song by Al Gaylor, inspired by the death of Jimi Hendrix, that offer one of Kottke's best vocal performances of his whole career.