There was a lot of that going on. There was an awful lot of good music from that camp that we happened to be exposed to very strongly. After Gary's band had formed we often played the Bay area so we were hearing a lot of what was new in that idiom on the radio stations out there, and also ended up playing the Fillmore. Initially Bill Graham often had a jazz band as one of the three bands on the Fillmore's program. And Charles Lloyd's band did it quite a bit and we did too and others as well. And another unforgettable experience was opening for Cream and Electric Flag. And they were both at the top of their form and they were just so, so, so — an accumulation of these kinds of experiences where it was just impossible for me to deny that I was listening to music of real value and music that had real meaning for its time. And I'd begun to question that the jazz music I'd grown up admiring so much was still congruent with those days—was as germane in the late 1960s as it had been in the late 1950s.
And you know, Gary and I talked about that and thought that our fondness, our fascination for these other musics we were discovering should somehow be reflected in the music that the band was playing. And I think we were right. And I do think that in retrospect we didn't cease being jazz musicians at all by absorbing some of the influences that we did. Even as we were raising that question constantly within the band, you know, "Is this cool? Are we really okay?"
But one of the guys who also I think was terribly important in all of this was Roy Haynes because he was going along with this inclination to broaden the definitions of the music we were playing and I saw him as the kind of personification of the bebop tradition of the music that he had been playing since the '30s. And that he was kind of punching our ticket on all of this stuff was good enough for me. Especially when I switched to electric bass at one point I felt I had to address doing so with Roy, so I did one night, saying, "Roy, I hope this is okay for you, this electric thing." And he immediately responded that there was no problem whatsoever. Absolutely none. And I felt immensely relieved and validated. I felt, "Okay. Fine. If Roy says it's okay, it's okay."
TWO THINGS OCCUR TO ME. ONE IS I'VE NEVER HEARD ANYONE TALK ABOUT THE SHEA STADIUM CONCERT AS A MUSICAL EVENT. IT'S ALWAYS BEEN DISCUSSED AS PANDEMONIUM, EVERYONE SCREAMING SO LOUD THAT NO ONE COULD HEAR ANYTHING AND THE BAND COULDN'T HEAR THEMSELVES. BUT, FROM WHAT YOU'RE SAYING THAT WASN'T TRUE. YOU WERE ABLE TO HEAR THE MUSIC. Yeah. Absolutely. In fact we were really impressed at the amplification system — the blends that the band was getting and the blend that the sound engineer was getting. We were hearing just fine. We had sprung for some real good expensive seats just behind third base, if I'm not mistaken. So I guess we were in better sonic range than a lot of other people were. But for us it was overwhelmingly the music that was the event, it just knocked us out.
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