Herbie Mann, 'Live at the Whisky 1969: The Unreleased Masters'
In the Sixties, a commercial heyday for jazz at Atlantic Records, the flutist Herbie Mann was one of the label's biggest stars – and a committed patron of the emerging avant-garde. For his June 1969 gigs at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, recorded for a live album, Mann arrived with a fighting-trim band of younger spirits including the young Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous – soon in Weather Report – and a thrilling, provocative voice on guitar, Sonny Sharrock. This two-CD set drawn from the Whisky shows – trimmed to two quarter-hour tracks of clattering funk on the original '69 LP – is a generous immersion in that group's firepower and integrated improvising, especially Sharrock's virile sax-like attack and harmonic transgression. Mann even hands the spotlight to Sharrock and his singer-wife Linda in two pieces that preview the couple's torrid free-jazz debut, 1970's Black Woman – a record produced by Mann, a true believer, three weeks before the Whisky engagement.