Where do purists come from? How does one become a purist? How does a person become so conservative, so pure, that, if they had their way, there would be little innovation in any of the genres they have canonized or any new genres emerging from old? And what gives them the right or authority to tell us, for example, what “real” jazz is? Of course, in the cases of Boney James and Kenny G, jazz purists may very well be right and, if they’re right about the music that came out of Coltrane producer Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman label, then I’ll be more than happy to burn on the stake along with my fellow heretic funk/jazz fans.
Yes, a lot of evil has been spawned by fusion, and there are tons of artists that can/should burn in hell because of it. A lot of these artists do burn, all right. They are incendiary. These two discs don’t only represent the best of the Flying Dutchman label, but also the best in early fusion (when it was still funky, when it still made people dance). Nina Simone, Gil Scott-Heron, Lonnie Liston Smith, the Jimmy Castor Bunch, Weldon Irvine, the Gil Evans Orchestra, Tom Scott, Gato Barbieri and David Axelrod all recorded for the Dutchman label. They made the music that was loved by the funksters, maligned by the purists, sampled by the hip-hoppers and can still be heard on the dance floors around the world. Maybe the canonizers were right. Maybe this soulful stuff was not jazz. I can’t say. I’m not in a position to know. All I do know is that my music library has been enriched by Flying Groove and Flying Funk, and so will yours.
Bluebird Jazz: http://www.bluebirdjazz.com/