Upon first listen of Skin Alley, the self-titled album recorded in 1969, I knew that I would have to listen a few more times before it all sunk in. I find it amazing how that process works with complex music. Upon my first listen, I knew I liked it but I was not too sure what I would say about it, then after a subsequent listening session, I heard everything that was going on. Only then was I able to get some semblance of a thought process together. This is why I am in awe of musicians and what they can accomplish in the studio.
In 1969 there were few bands playing jazz-rock fusion. The musicians that inhabited these out of the ordinary groups played a highly developed style of music well beyond their years. They in fact sounded light-years ahead of their contemporaries. When I think of 1969, the first thought that comes to mind is not jazz-rock fusion. Music like this just does not seem to fit in to that timeframe and that is the very reason why many of you have probably never heard of this band and their music.
With a brilliant combination of keyboard arrangements, a well-timed rhythm section, flawlessly positioned guitar, vocals that grab your attention and a touch of the divine with the flute, Skin Alley defined the term progressive.This was the beginning of the jazz-rock fusion sound, yet it sounds like it is so knew and fresh even today, and not because this is the first time I heard it.
This LP is a glorious blend of rock and jazz with a dollop of classical for taste. Anyone that can appreciate artistry that is beyond exceptional would praise this recording. I do not think there are necessarily any prerequisites for listening to music that is so interesting. If you happen to like rock with just about every other style fused into it you will certainly embrace this great album more than the casual less particular listener would.