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Crate Digger’s Gold: Joe Farrell – Canned Funk (1975)

December 21, 2014


I bought this album because of the cover art, because it was on the CTI label and I was familiar with Joe Farrell (saxes and flutes) from his time in the classic fusion band Return to Forever. Every once in a while you get reward for this kind of decision. Canned Funk is a killer album.

The album opens with the titular track which is a nice heavy blast of jazz rock funk. It includes a nice face melting solo from Joe Beck.

“Animal” is a very sophisticated piece of jazz funk where Farrell opens with a great baritone sax riff and then glides into an extended tenor solo. Again Joe Beck provides a great solo. Followed by cool bass solo that is totally melodic (Herb Bushler). Over all “Animal” is 10 minute tour de force.

Side two starts with “Suite Martinique” which focuses on Farrell’s flute and soprano sax. This is the most challenging track on the album – how I imagine Coltrane might have sounded if he lived long enough to try his hand at fusion. If you are in the right mood this is some pretty cool stuff.

The LP ends with “Spoken Silence” the most commercial song on the album. It would not sound out-of-place on George Benson album. It foreshadows the light jazz that would become a successful genre within the next few years.

Over a pretty great album that lives up to its very cool cover art.

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