Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

National Health: Playtime

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Once upon a time in the mid-1970s there was a British progressive rock band called National Health. A sprawling, ponderous seven-piece outfit, they eventually scaled down to four pieces and released two albums-their self-titled 1978 debut and its follow-up, Of Queues and Cures. This live recording captures the band on tour in late 1979, shortly before its first breakup in March of 1980.

A more stretched-out, jam-oriented affair than the original studio recordings, Playtime picks up on some of the furious, frenetic energy of the early fusion movement, when bands like Tony Williams Lifetime and the original lineups of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever were going straight for the jugular with raw burn, tempered with intelligent writing, strict ensemble playing and audacious, chops-oriented soloing.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.