It all started on “Brothers And Sisters”. Actually, the process began prior to that, with my discovering the Blues through John Mayall’s records, but that’s a different story…Seeing the picture of that “super-extended family” on the inside cover with musicians, roadies, friends, women and kids, and listening to the Bluesy flavor of Gregg Allman’s voice and Dicky Betts’ guitar just hit me really deep, and in my dreams I wished I could have been there, stopping the clock to stay….in some sort of a Blues-like oblivion, one that would last forever. Looking back, shortly after I bought “Fillmore East” I discovered a different band (with Duane and Berry Oakley) and The Allman Brothers Band entered my world — to stay, forever. I’ve been listening to their music for almost forty-five years now and following their many changes over many decades… and they continue to surprise me. Their music was ahead of their time, a “lethal” mix of a magnificent Southern sounds and New Orleans cross-rhythms — it incorporated many more influences than one could imagine at first listen.
All in all, theirs was a high quality music in a time of ultra-fertile creativity, one in which many different elements in music, sometimes even opposed to each other, were peacefully co-existing to form some of the most extraordinary syntheses in recent history. It was Duane’s Blues background, with his hard-to-forget, signature slide work that filled me with joy on “Statesboro Blues” and his killer phrasing on Boz Scagg’s “Loan Me A Dime”… It was Betts’ Country (and Blues) sound, those melodies digging into the neck of his Goldtop for a “Liz Reed” that, in time, became someway a part o me, mine Further, it was Gregg’s ability in song writing, his voice towering over the textures of his Hammond organ on “It’s Not My Cross To Bear”; it was the Coltrane of “A Love Supreme” and the music of Miles’ “second quintet” that Jaimoe exposed Duane to and inflated the Brothers’ music with; it was the Soul and the funkyness of Berry’s bass and Butch’s drums…Those are “my” Allman Brothers, a multi-racial, freaky band in a deep South still filled with social tensions, intolerance and segregation. There they created their little/big musical miracle, against everybody and everything. They represent a special, one-of-a-kind style and sound that resembled an ancient magical ritual, an ancestral African rite officiated in the swamps of Georgia. You can see the “Saints” of the Blues, this time joined by the High Priests of jazz: Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Sun Ra, Coltrane, Ornette and Don Cherry, Mingus and The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Chicago!….a name, a symbol, as always from the Blues to the Blues….but that’s a different story. Long live the legend of The Allman Brothers Band! The road goes on forever doesn’t it? Tiziano Tononi, TizTheWiz.