I have mixed feelings about this LP.  The best track here Snowboy ‘Snowboy’s House of Latin’ is the whirling kind of cross-bred tri-cultural Latino, hip-hop, jazz perfecta that is probably playing right now somewhere in a bar that I’m not hip enough to ever dare go into, frequented by tight-trousered off-duty barmen and immaculate honeys of indeterminate nationality crammed into clinging red dresses, drinking cocktails that have yet to be invented.  Sounds great as I sit here typing this in novelty slippers and mismatched pyjamas, sipping on a cup-a-soup, pausing only to scratch my impressive credentials rhythmically.

Freedom Principle 02

Actually maybe that’s more about my social anxieties rather than any inherent qualities of Freedom Principle: Acid Jazz & Other Illicit Grooves Vol.2*.  I don’t own Vol.1, and I suspect I never will unless someone gives it to me, which is how Vol.2 wound its way into my clutches.  Now I like me some jazz, I was bought up on it, to a point and I am currently wrestling with my latest LP purchase Ornette Coleman Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation**, so the late 80’s Acid Jazz scene did make it onto my radar, just.  I may have mentioned previously that it didn’t rock my wibblies very hard, but I was given this LP amongst a few that were being thrown out by someone and was curious enough to hold on to it.

Freedom Principle 07 (2)

It should be noted that in the hands of an eminent rockologist such as myself the Freedom Principle has yielded the answer that has been vexing rock fans for almost 30 years now – what is the link between Victor Hugo, the Communards and Black Sabbath? but I won’t tell you that yet.

Freedom Principle 04

The opening track of Freedom Principle is credited to noted critic and egghead David Toop^ and I’m sure that whilst it aims at cutting edge sophistication and mystique, the overall effect despite some sterling work on vibes from Orphy Robinson, is minor 60’s spy movie.  As such I really like it on those terms, although I was struggling to hear Mr Toop’s guitar, some borderline sizzling jazz flute spirals lift this track into the realm of keeper.  Mind you I am afraid that Cleveland Watkiss ‘Spend Some Time’ did something to me that I thought was impossible – made me nostalgic for Bobby McFerrin^^, this vocal and beats track is, let us be charitable, very much of its’ time.

Freedom Principle 01 (2)

On the plus side ‘The Shrimp’ by The Jason Rebello Trio is a great ‘proper’ jazz piece that doesn’t overstay its’ welcome, led by some excellent piano from Mr Rebello himself.  James Taylor Quartet ‘Down By The River’ is a good fun time, lots of swing and more Hammond than it is strictly advisable to consume in one day and at the risk of sounding like some louche reviewer from the 50’s I rather enjoyed this toe-tapper.  I also have some time for the eponymous ‘Slow Fuse’ by, umm what does eponymous mean again?, Slow Fuse, which is another enjoyable cinematic slice of relentless jazz fluff with some great discordant sax and piano – although the constant up-front beats, do deny the music space to breathe and tell^*.

Freedom Principle 05

Okay, okay you want some Freedom Principle links? Victor Hugo, presumably not the 19th century French Romantic dramatist and renowned free-thinker, sings on the Snowboy cut; Ex-Communards singer Sarah Jane Morris sings, flat I thought, on Jazz Renegades ‘Mother Of the Future’;  the bassist on both that track and the one by James Taylor Quartet is none other than Lawrence Cottle*^, a fellow Welshman who played that very same year on Black Sabbath Headless Cross.  I do hope the sessions were immediately after each other …

LC: Okay Tonio my man! I’m here, I’m hip to go and lay down some crazy jazz stylings.  You dig?

TI: (Icy Silence)

LC: Mmm, a chilled vibe; I dig it to the max.  Let’s just jam a little, light up some jazzcence and take it to the bridge.

TI: (The Icy Silence Of Insufferable, Eternal, Damnation)

LC: Come on, I’m wearing my expensive ethnic tunic to get me in the mood and to totally flavourize my bass runs in a 9:4 time signature.  Hey you can try my beaded cap on if you like?

TI: (The Icy Silence Of A Million Doomed Souls)

And so on.

Freedom Principle 06

Freedom Principle has, just as I would expect from any compilation cut from a specific scene, some decidedly dodgy moments on it, some okay-but-average ones and a couple of very good tracks indeed.  It’ll do. Is it just me though or do the two fingers on the cover look a bit like a bottom with a firework sticking out of it?


645 Down.

*or just Freedom Principle from here on in, otherwise I’ll wear out my cut and paste fingers.

**the verdict so far is that it sounds like two separate jazz octets falling down two separate stairwells, simultaneously – but I’m working on it, in case its an acquired taste.

^a very good chronicler of electronic music, amongst other things.

^^as Public Enemy VERY rightly put it:

        Don’t worry be happy
        Was a number one jam
        Damn if I say it, you can slap me right here

^*that’s sort of a cover version of Mr Bruce Connection’s thoughts on my last Acid Jazz post.

*^spelt differently here to his normal ‘Laurence’.

27 thoughts on “My Rhythmic Credentials

  1. Lawrence Cottle!!! The most under-appreciate Sabbath member in their history. Fretless bass on a Sabbath album? Hell yeah. He played on Mr. Bad Guy by Freddie Mercury too. I like playing 6 Degrees of Larwence Cottle.

    1. The only ever Welsh member of Sabbath too?

      Fretless bass – wow, how 80’s! I had no idea he was on ‘Mr Bad Guy’ too – I haven’t heard that for about 30 years, easy!

      6 Degrees of Lawrence Cottle, has to be better than 50 shades of Lawrence Cottle!

      1. EWWW!

        Only Welsh member? It’s possible. I would have to do more research to be sure. Sabbath have had a lot of members that few people know about. Terry Chimes from the Clash replaced Eric Singer on drums….

      2. Ernie C. produced Forbidden. Talented guy, crap album. There were rumours that Ice T was going to be joining the band as new lead vocalist. As it stands, Ice T does rap one verse on the album and even appears in the cover art.

      3. I’ve read about it, but never even seen a real copy of it.

        They were a talented bunch of musicians, I saw them early on and they were scary dudes.

  2. Fingers? That’s an ass. I was already mentally typing a comment about ‘hey that’s an ass on the cover’ when you said it yourself in the last line.

    Ah, the sub-genres of jazz. It’s like pizza. Even when it’s really bad, it’s still kinda good.

    1. Haha! Great minds, man, great minds!

      To use your pizza analogy, Acid Jazz can be a bit like a Meat Feast pizza with extra spinach and Oreos on top and I’m a vegetarian.

  3. WHAT’S WRONG WITH 60s SPY MOVIES, he bellowed into his creme de menthe cocktail. Didn’t Corduroy build an entire career around this sub-genre? And furthermore, what’s new pussycat?

    (Have you read ‘Ocean of Sound’? I have it but – like so many other interesting books purchased late at night from UK Book Dep – it sits unsullied on the shelf.)

    1. I find Toop very interesting but a bit too keen to show off his learning at you, like Jon Savage does sometimes. I dipped into OoS when a chum lent it to me.

      ’60s spy movies are great’, he mumbled into his smoking jacket at the chateau. But I don’t want to watch ’em very often.

    1. Sounds like him don’t it? If I hear some Acid Jazz I tend to think ‘Oh good, I like this’ for about three minutes and then I get bored – competence over excitement, for me.

  4. After the beaded cap comment, Tony would stare icily and then comment.

    “Here Lawrence. You stand on this trap door thing. Never mind the words ‘Gateway to Hell.'”

    “Now ask me again about your cap.”

  5. I always get a little fidgety when I hear the term “acid jazz”. I’m not sure it’s quite for me. I prefer my jazz to be of the black coffee and unfiltered Lucky Strikes variety. Maybe throw some heroin in when the coffee runs out.

Leave a Reply