Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spinning Wheel

  “What goes up, must come down
Spinning wheel, got to go round…”

I love this song.  It’s a fusion of rock and jazz like a lot of groups in the 70’s were experimenting with; Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Earth Wind and Fire to name a few.

The bass and drums in this song have such strong syncopation that it just makes my soul move when I hear it.  I had my iPod playing through my sound system in my SUV today while I was waiting for clients to arrive at a house I was showing, and "Spinning Wheel" came on.  Oh, so good!!!

The recording is very organic; you can really hear the hits of the drum sticks on the drum heads, the imperfections in the horns (this imperfections being perfect of course), the slight timing differences in the way the keys are hitting the stings on the piano. It's like you can hear the whole of the musical apparatus right in front of you.

The song starts in it’s straight forward timing as the verses and chorus cycle, but then the timing expands to a deliberate triplet feel readying for a wild trumpet solo, giving the piece at this time an authentic acoustic jazz groove, then returning to the straighter timing as the singer comes back in.

That solo is such a good moment!

I remember when I was enrolled in a summer performance program at a music school, and I had just finished playing piano in one of the practice rooms.  I happened upon a group of music students engaged in a conversation.  There were two guys and a girl. 

They had just turned their attention onto the topic of “Spinning Wheel,” which the girl had never heard before.  The guys were in complete disbelief.  “What the hell?  You’ve never heard ‘Spinning Wheel’ before?  It’s one of the greatest songs ever recorded!” 

I, as the passer-by, could not disagree with the very knowledgeable and respectable guys’ assessment, and I remarked to this girl who I didn’t know, “You just need to get out of here, go to the music store, and buy that song now.  It’s that good!”