Released: Mar 1969
Label: Verve Records
When it comes to the development of fusion, Emergency!, released in 1969, ranks right up there with Miles Davis' Bitches Brew in terms of sheer brilliant innovation. The ensemble, featuring fellow pioneers Larry Young (organ) and John McLaughlin (guitar), swings hard while harnessing a dirty, grungy sound full of squall, feedback and distortion. Moments emerge when its playing is so intense and so furious that whiplash feels like the only possible result. Fusion eventually evolved into cool pop jazz, but at its birth, as Emergency! clearly demonstrates, it was pure hellish fire.