- Released: May 29, 2000
- Label: EMI Europe Generic
- 1.Urizen - (studio)
- 2.Holy Thursday - (studio)
- 3.Smile - (studio)
- 4.Dream - (studio)
- 5.Song Of Innocence - (studio)
- 6.Merlin's Prophecy - (studio)
- 7.Mental Traveler - (studio)
An expermentation in fusing jazz and rock sounds, David Axelrod's 1968 album SONGS OF INNOCENCE is a very early example of the sound that would come to be known as jazz fusion.
Personnel: David Axelrod (vocals); Howard Roberts (guitar); Freddie Hill, Ollie Mitchell (trumpet); Richard Leith (trombone); Arthur Maebe, Vincent DeRosa, Lew McCreary (horns); Earl Palmer (drums); Gene Estes (percussion); Henry Sigismonti (wind); Gary Coleman (background vocals).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Ben Barrett; Myron Sandler; Bill Hinshaw; Harry Hyams; Pete Wyant; Harold Schneier; Allen DiRienzo; Marshall Sosson; Arnold Belnick; Nathan Ross; Tony Terran.
Arranger: David Axelrod .
In 1968, jazz producer and arranger David Axelrod--best known at that point for his hits with Lou Rawls and Cannonball Adderley--was on the staff at Capitol Records' home base in Hollywood. In his spare time, Axelrod teamed up with his friend Dave Hassinger across town at Reprise Records and recorded two bizarrely wonderful classical-rock mash-ups, MASS IN F MINOR and RELEASE OF AN OATH, under the band name the Electric Prunes. (The original Prunes, garage-rock one-hit wonders, had essentially split up, but Hassinger and Reprise still owned the band name.) In response, Capitol signed Axelrod as a performer, and his masterpiece SONG OF INNOCENCE was the first result. An instrumental concerto based on the works of William Blake, SONG OF INNOCENCE is entirely unique: neither rock, jazz, classical, nor easy listening, the album conflates elements of all four into a richly layered whole. Distorted guitars, funky bass lines and drums that were shockingly loud for 1968 (all of which brought this album to the ears of adventurous hip-hop turntablists and producers decades later) blend with churchy organ and symphony-size orchestras on songs like "Holy Thursday" and the epic closer "The Mental Traveler." Imagine if Brian Wilson had suddenly decided to turn SMILE into a prototype for Isaac Hayes's soundtrack to SHAFT, and you're halfway there.