29/10/2018: “Mystic Brew” by Ronnie Foster

The vibes coming of this one are very strong. The blend of Foster’s organ noodling with the funk sensibilities of the rest of the players is enticing.

The vibraphones create a backdrop of dreamy melodic floating, which the rest of the elements build up on top of, leading up to a fully realised funk jam. It must be said, the organ is the star, taking the place of any vocals or sax parts that a jazz song might otherwise place front and centre.

The way the drums gradually increase in intensity is very clever, and pays off greatly, allowing the track to slide into a higher level of energy without sacrificing the nuances of the instruments.

The guitar plays a supporting role here, but it’s definitely there, and adds to the complexity of the track without things getting overcrowded.

In many ways the song is quite poppy for a jazz song; it’s hardly a 15 minute display of virtuosity. Nevertheless, the musicianship on display is undeniably impressive, and the song fits in a lot of progression and themes into the 4 minute runtime.

“Mystic Brew” is off Two Headed Freap, released in 1972. It has been sampled numerous times, most notably by a Tribe Called Quest in ’93, and Madlib in ’03.

I have no idea what a Freap is but the song is great all the same.

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