About thirty years ago there was a extraordinary little jazz club in Ft. Lauderdale called Bubba's. On almost any night you could sit within a few feet of some of finest jazz musicians in the history of the music. Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers were just a few of the legends that played there. For someone like myself who was in his twenties, it was an opportunity to watch and listen to innovators, masters of swing and improvasation ply their trade in intimate circumstances. I sat no more than a few feet from Sonny Stitt in what was one of his last gigs. He was playing with a pick up band of seasoned vets, with Eddie Higgins on piano and Duffy Jackson on drums. For two sets he played some of the finest music I have ever heard, performing with a combination of serious virtuosity and deep blues feeling. The old master best known for his "Bird" like chops, boldly closed his second set with the old ballad Stardust. Like everyone else in the audience I was blown away by his artistry, as was Stan Getz who sat only a few feet away. One legend admiring the work of another
Rock and roll, unlike jazz is essentially a pop culture phenomenon with a short shelf life, although it can be, and certainly has been much more than that. Most aging former stars are relegated to the nostalgia circuit, enabling them to make a living. I am absolutely sympathetic. But it also quickly becomes a trap, with an audience that is essentially saying "shut up and play your hits". Making it clear that anything more than a pleasant reminiscence is unwelcome.
In the end, that is the real problem. Like politics and politicians, the people get what they deserve. They vote for the music that they like with their hard earned dollars--and the musicians in an effort to keep playing one more gig, give them what they want. The very definition of the status quo.
Rory Gallagher and Taste pushing the boundaries of rock, live 1970! This kind of adventurous playing was common once upon a time, before record companies found out what their audiences wanted and then closed the doors to anything that didn't fit their template.
The music doesn't always work, that should be expected when musicians are naturally trying to expand their borders.. Rory and the boys dive in for all their worth, pushing themselves and the music in the process.