When a record is touted to you as a »masterpiece of jazz-funk live albums,« skepticism is initially in order. On the other hand, the fact that one of the tracks, »In the Rain,« was later to be adapted by none other than Madlib for his own purposes does not speak against it. And then one of the protagonists of this recording, vibraphonist Billy Wooten, is not just anyone either. In the early 1970s he played in the band of guitarist Grant Green, he can be heard on the latter’s album »Visions«, among others. With his bandmates at the time, drummer Harold Cardwell and organist Emmanuel Riggins, he then got together, augmented by guitarist William Roach, in Indianapolis as The Wooden Glass. And their first record, a 1972 live recording from The 19th Hole club where they played regularly, is the bomb, to say the least. With them, the fusion is motorized by the soul of the sixties, especially Harold Cardwell makes so heavy pressure on his instrument that the gladly clanging sound is almost not noticeable anymore, it does not disturb anyway. This dirty sound, amplified by the distorted Hammond organ – sometimes there’s extra steam from a whistle, although it’s not clear whether it’s coming from the band or from the audience – forms a nice contrast to Billy Wooten’s gently metallic pearling melodies. And this combination is also responsible for making the energy seem so unique. The movement goes in the direction of full on the twelve, at the same time you can dream to the vibraphone. And the audience goes along with concentrated forces. Fantastic car driving music, oh no, you’re not allowed to anymore, so perfect freak-out music. Listen loud!
Live With Billy Wooten