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Artist’s Choice: Paul Wertico on Pioneers of Jazz/Rock

Paul Wertico recommends 10 tracks that first broke down barriers between jazz and rock

Soft Machine

Although it’s now become commonplace for different musical styles to be blended at will, without fear or prejudice, there was a time not so long ago when jazz musicians, rock musicians and blues musicians broke through their respective musical dividing lines to form sounds that were not only new but often revolutionary. Here are a few of my favorite examples of musicians breaking new ground, not only as players themselves but also for the music scene as a whole.

New genres, such as jazz-rock, progressive rock and fusion, combined the advanced techniques and musical sophistication of jazz with the grooves, attitude and volume of rock and the earthiness, rawness and guts of the blues. So many recordings from the period between the mid-’60s to the mid-’70s sounded unique, and each band seemed to have a new sound and point of view. It was the heyday when horn players, string players, keyboard players (using new types of synthesizers) and sometimes vocalists combined with rhythm sections that seemed to be inventing new types of grooves on a seemingly daily basis.

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