Herbie Mann Live at the Whisky 1969

Article Contributed by Real Gone Music | Published on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

While jazz flautist Herbie Mann is often remembered as a pop-jazz player, he was actually a pioneer in popularizing world music and even prog-rock with recordings released on his own Embryo imprint (as part of Atlantic Records). And in the late ‘60s, he was fronting one of the most progressive and electrifying bands in the world: guitarist Sonny Sharrock, Miroslav Vitous on electric & upright bass, saxophonist Steve Marcus, drummer Bruno Carr, and vibraphonist Roy Ayers. Together, the sextet cut the dynamic Live at the Whisky A Go Go album in 1969, drawn from a four night run at the legendary nightclub on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. Though the band’s repertoire was quite varied on these dates, just two side-long tracks, “Ooh Baby” and “Philly Dog,” surfaced on the Atlantic Records release.

Now, reissue producer Pat Thomas has unearthed the multi-track tapes for these shows (never before mixed), and has programmed a double-CD set that shows this high-energy jazz-rock outfit stretching out – sometimes, on Sharrock’s solos, way out – with, as an added bonus, the appearance of Linda Sharrock on songs that appeared (in studio versions) on the seminal Sonny Sharrock album Black Woman released around the time of these live shows.

All performances are previously unreleased, including a 23-minute jam of Donovan’s “Tangier” blending into Tim Hardin’s “If I Were A Carpenter” and a newly discovered take of “Ooh Baby” that clocks in at 21 minutes! Sonny Sharrock’s searing lead guitar work is featured on songs first recorded by Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, and Simon & Garfunkel – plus “Black Woman” and Portrait of Linda in Three Colors” with Linda on vocals.  Live at the Whisky 1969—The Unreleased Masters presents two CDs filled to the brim with explosive, yet ethereal innovative jazz-rock at its best. Fans of Bitches Brew, The Inner Mounting Flame, early Weather Report and similar-era titles will quickly realize that Herbie Mann was not just a pop-jazzbo – but a force to be taken more seriously than history has accorded him. File this CD between Soft Machine 3rdand the jazz-funk of The Crusaders.

Packaging includes several previously unpublished live photos of this band in action, with notes by Thomas. A huge jazz find!


Disc One

1. Untitled Jam

2. Tangier/If I Were a Carpenter

3. Memphis Underground

4. Ooh Baby

5. Scarborough Fair

Disc Two

1. Black Woman

2. All Blues

3. If I Were a Carpenter

4. Philly Dog

5. Portrait of Linda in Three Colors, All Black

6. Comin’ Home Baby/Battle Hymn of the Republic/Comin’ Home Baby

7. Chain of Fools