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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Back in the Day: A Look at the Rock Trios of 1967

It is only natural that as part of the overall experimentation going on in pop, attempts at using new combinations of instruments would be tried. The earlier pop groups of the new wave, starting with the Beatles, the Animals, the Stones, and the Beach Boys, were all four-instrument groups, and tended to influence others in that direction. But from the beginning some American groups have attempted to enlarge this concept.
Over two years ago Paul Butterfield was touring with six instrumentalists, and soon after that the Blues Project emerged with five.
The result has been a certain denseness in the music of these expanded ensembles, with the West Coast in particular developing an ornamental sound, emphasizing lots of embellishment, and lots of interaction among soloists.
Oddly, in England the trend has been in the other direction. The Who, the current Yardbirds, the Cream, and Jimi Hendrix are all three-instrument groups. They represent attempts to tighten the music, to eliminate the superfluous, and to get closer to the mythical nitty-gritty. In some cases they are going so far as to eliminate the distinction between background and foreground sounds.
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