12 O'Clock Track: The psychedelic drone-jazz of Eddie Harris's "Silver Cycles"

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Eddie Harriss Silver Cycles
  • Eddie Harris's Silver Cycles
Wednesdays are typically the day that my colleague Peter Margasak contributes a 12 O'Clock Track, and in his honor I'm going to post a number that I think he might like: the title cut off deceased saxophonist (and Chicagoan) Eddie Harris's 1968 album Silver Cycles. To get a sense of what a lot of Silver Cycles sounds like, all you have to do is note that one track is called "1974 Blues"—even though the album was released six years before the year in that title. While some of the cuts feature Latin jazz and postbop, an equal number boast heavily treated electronic processing. On the title track, there's some pretty standard melodic playing by Harris (though with some shrieking soloing on top, slightly muted), but it's augmented by what sounds like either reverbed guitar or bass (the credits on the Wikipedia page devoted to the album list only bass, so I'll go with that, even though it sounds like guitar). Anyway, it's somehow both trippy and moving, and a great number from a time when jazz was using new studio and instrumental technology to push the genre's sonic terrain further. For today's 12 O'Clock Track, here's the only number from Silver Cycles that I can find on YouTube.

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