America the Beautiful/Does the Sun Really Shine on the Moon?

America the Beautiful/Does the Sun Really Shine on the Moon?

by Gary McFarland


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America the Beautiful/Does the Sun Really Shine on the Moon?

In 1968, Gary McFarland issued two brilliantly original albums -- America the Beautiful (An Account of Disappearance) and Does the Sun Really Shine on the Moon were recorded at the bookends of the year, as the United States was being torn apart by the Vietnam War, student protest, and the first real wave of large scale activist environmentalism. The former (recorded in three days in January) stands as an almost forgotten jazz-pop tone poem (with classical and serial overtones!) by a large scale orchestra that includes large brass, reed, and string sections and a jazz-rock band. Its six themes, with titles such as "80 Miles an Hour Through Beer Can Country," and "Suburbia: Two Poodles and a Plastic Jesus," range from elegiac meditations framed by strings to funky, tough soundscapes centered on pure groove, with big popping horns and an electric rhythm section that included Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Chuck Rainey, Warren Bernhardt, and percussionist Warren Smith. Eric Gale's guitar playing has never sounded tougher and more wiry than it does here. Some of the other players include Joe Farrell, Randy Brecker, Snooky Young, and Jerome Richardson. It has a soundtrack feel to it, but the music is so adventurous and risky it would have overwhelmed any celluloid images attached to it. The latter recording, done in October, hosts a smaller band with many of the same members, though bassist Richard Davis is featured as well and organist Grady Tate, who was on-board for the date. Does the Sun Really Shine on the Moon focused more on the pop side of jazz with innovative, subtly textured, and even gorgeous arrangements. On "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," the flugelhorn work by Marvin Stamm in interplay with Richardson's soprano is remarkable. Sam Leigh Brown's guitar provides the base for that soprano on "Lady Jane" before McFarland's vibes come in and slip through the center; they're exotic yet utterly grounded in the melody. This is a light, airy record with enough sheer beauty and innovation to make it worth the purchase price of this two-fer. Combined with America the Beautiful, this is indispensable for any serious '60s music collection.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/12/2005
Label: El Records
UPC: 5013929304123
catalogNumber: 41

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gary McFarland   Primary Artist,Conductor,Vibes
Warren Bernhardt   Organ,Piano
Richard Davis   Bass
Hubert Laws   Reeds
Jerome Richardson   Flute,Reeds,Soprano Saxophone
Marvin Stamm   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Chuck Rainey   Bass
Ernie Royal   Trumpet
Grady Tate   Drums
David Nadien   Violin
Ray Alonge   French Horn
Danny Bank   Reeds
Raymond Beckenstein   Reeds
Randy Brecker   Trumpet
Garnett Brown   Trombone
Wally Caine   Reeds
Earl Chapin   French Horn
Joe Farrell   Reeds
Eric Gale   Guitar
Bernie Glow   Trumpet
Donald MacDonald   Drums
Gene Orloff   Violin
Romeo Penque   Reeds
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie   Drums
George Ricci   Cello
Aaron Rosand   Violin
Snooky Young   Trumpet
Jerry Jemmott   Bass
Sam Leigh Brown   Guitar
Richard Gene Williams   Trumpet
Brown & His Tunetoppers   Viola
Jim Buffington   French Horn
Warren Smith   Percussion
Harvey E. Phillips   Tuba

Technical Credits

Mick Jagger   Composer
John Lennon   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Brian Wilson   Composer
Terry Cashman   Composer
Gary McFarland   Composer,Producer
Ted Grouya   Composer
Norman Schwartz   Executive Producer
Demoraes   Composer
Tony Asher   Composer
Marya Mannes   Liner Notes
Kristian St. Clair   Liner Notes,Photo Courtesy

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