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Birds of Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk, and the Creation of Fusion (Refiguring American Music) Paperback – August 8, 2011
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About the Author
Kevin Fellezs is Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia University.
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Top Customer Reviews
With Birds of Fire, Kevin Fellezs has provided a well researched analysis of the time when jazz began to reflect the influences of rock, funk, and world musics. He also honors the spirit and passion of the musicians that created the new directions in music during this era.
Fellezs focuses his analysis on Tony Williams, John McLaughlin, Joni Mitchell, and Herbie Hancock as representatives of distinctive threads of development during this time. No quibbles with this focus, though Joe Zawinul and Weather Report are conspicuously absent. Zawinul's investigation of world music traditions is one of his most important contributions to jazz [and Zawinul's contributions to Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderly were essential infrastructure for the further development of "fusion"]. The contribution of Miles Davis is often noted in the book, but it is also well covered in other books. All in all, Fellezs recognizes the major contributors [Gary Burton, Chick Corea, etc.] to the music even if they are not the focal points of the book.
The inclusion of Joni Mitchell is also important - and welcome - as the changes in the music were not limited to high octane guitar pyrotechnics and rapid fire drumming. Her inclusion highlights the broader changes taking place in music as the wider availability of recorded music began to be felt in jazz, rock, pop, etc.
Fellezs has done his homework and lays out the societal, economic, and artistic forces that impacted musicians at this time. He also tracks the changing racial forces that were at play - particularly those driving the marketing of the music.Read more ›
"I could put together the greatest rock 'n' roll band you ever heard". Miles Davis.
"We're not a rock band". Miles Davis.
"Well, jazz is such a bad word, and rock is such a bad word". Tony Williams.
"It's not classifiable as either jazz or rock, it's just music that is as good as the people doing it". Larry Coryell.
"...it ain't jazz and it ain't rock". Jeff Beck.
"I'm not a jazz musician but I need that creative freedom". Joni Mitchell.
"I just want the freedom to do any of it I want to whenever I want to". Herbie Hancock.
This book (one of few) focuses on so-called "fusion music", "jazz-rock", or whatever you might label the coming together of jazz sensibilities with the back-beat of rock, with a bit of funk mixed in. This type of music was fairly popular in the very late 60's/early 70's.Read more ›