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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hoochie Coochie Man - The Graham Bond Organization


The Graham Bond Organization (Graham Bond - Ginger Baker - Jack Bruce - Dick Heckstall-Smith) at The 1965 National Jazz and Blues Festival held at the Richmond Athletic Grounds, Richmond, Surrey, UK on August 7th, 1965
Graham John Clifton Bond (28 October 1937 – 8 May 1974) was an English musician, considered a founding father of the English rhythm and blues boom of the 1960s.

Bond was an innovator, described as "an important, under-appreciated figure of early British R&B", along with Cyril Davies and Alexis Korner. Jack Bruce, John McLaughlin and Ginger Baker first achieved prominence in his group, the Graham Bond Organisation. Bond was voted Britain's New Jazz Star in 1961. He was an early user of the Hammond organ/Leslie speaker combination in British rhythm and blues - he "split" the Hammond for portability - and was the first British artist to record using a mellotron, on his "The Sound of '65" and "There's A Bond Between Us" LPs. As such he was a major influence upon later rock keyboardists: Deep Purple's Jon Lord said "He taught me, hands on, most of what I know about the Hammond organ"
Bond was born in Romford, Essex. Adopted from a Dr. Barnardo's home, he was educated at the Royal Liberty School in Gidea Park, East London, where he learned music. His first jazz gig was in 1960 with the Goudie Charles Quintet, staying for a year. He first gained national attention as a jazz saxophonist as a member of the Don Rendell Quintet, then briefly joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated before forming the Graham Bond Quartet with musicians he met in the Korner group, Ginger Baker on drums and Jack Bruce on double bass, together with John McLaughlin on guitar; and adopting the Hammond organ as his main instrument. The group then became the Graham Bond Organization (GBO), while John McLaughlin was later replaced by Dick Heckstall-Smith on saxophones.

Lack of commercial success, plus internal struggles, brought an end to the group in 1967 as Bond's mental and physical health deteriorated. Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker had already left, to form Cream with Eric Clapton. Baker's replacement, Jon Hiseman, and Dick Heckstall-Smith went on to form Colosseum.

After the break-up of the Organization, Bond continued to exhibit mental disorders, with manic episodes and periods of intense depression, exacerbated by heavy drug use. Moving to America, he recorded two albums and performed session work for Harvey Mandel and Dr. John among others, but he returned to England in 1969. He then formed Graham Bond Initiation with his new wife Diane Stewart, who shared his interest in magick, and in 1970 Holy Magick, which recorded a self-titled album and We Put Our Magick On You. He was also re-united with old band members while playing saxophone in Ginger Baker's Air Force and spending a short time in the Jack Bruce Band. Solid Bond, a double-album compiling live tracks recorded in 1963 by the Graham Bond Quartet (Bond, McLaughlin, Bruce and Baker) and a studio session from 1966 by the Graham Bond Organisation (Bond, Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman) was released that same year.

In 1972 he teamed up with Pete Brown to record Two Heads are Better Than One. He also recorded an album with the John Dummer Band in 1973, although this was not released until 2008. After the near-simultaneous collapse of his band and his marriage, Bond then formed Magus with British folk-singer Carolanne Pegg and American bassist Marc Mazz, which disbanded around Christmas 1973 without recording. During that same period, he discovered American singer-songwriter-guitarist Mick Lee, and they played together live but never recorded. Plans to include Chris Wood of Traffic never materialized due to Bond's death.

Bond's financial affairs were in chaos, and the years of lack of commercial success and the recent demise of Magus had badly hurt his pride. Throughout his career he had been hampered with severe bouts of drug addiction, and spent January 1973 in hospital after a nervous breakdown.[citation needed] On May 8, 1974, Bond died under the wheels of a train at Finsbury Park station, London, at the age of 36. Most sources list the death as a suicide. Friends agree that he was off drugs, although becoming increasingly obsessed with the occult (he believed he was Aleister Crowley's son).
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1 comment:

  1. His death was listed as an 'open verdict', no mention of suicide!

    ReplyDelete