Discovering Lloyd McNeill
The internet is most noteworthy as a place for amateur archeology. Part of my leisure time is always consumed by discovering something (book, artist, architect, musician, game designer, the list is endless) and then scouring the public domain for information about said person or topic. While much of the search inevitably leads back to the market place - after all, advertising revenue runs the world wide web, regardless of what anybody says to the contrary - there is always hope for enlightenment regain'd.
The vinyl-thrift blog Waxidermy
does a great service to music lovers on the internet. The editors find incredibly obscure albums from all sorts of genres and remind the world of their existence. Their efforts increase our capacity to collect and provide a whole new avenue into obscure music.
Their jazz section contains much of note. However, I was drawn to these two (1
) records released through the Baobob label. Long out of print and almost virtually inaccessible (save through McNeill's own website, below), these two records show a sophisticated meeting of spirtual, funk, fusion, and straight-ahead that has elsewhere rarely been reached. After a bit more searching, McNeill's
credentials came to my attention. He is a true Renaissance man. A practicing gallery artist who makes drawings, paintings, and digital images, he also has an impressive portfolio of photographs, has published collections of poems, and has been a respected underground flautist since the late 1960s. His work, across the board, fuses radical avant-garde sensibilities with accessible moments of insight. He was a friend to Pablo Picasso, studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Howard University, New York University, and Morehouse College, and now mixes his artistic life with work as a teacher and adviser. After surveying it all, the real shame seems to be that his work - especially his music - is not more well known and widely available. Thanks to the internet, his ideas can be digitally disseminated for all.
It is refreshing to see an artist who is engaged in almost every contemporary art form. At the very least, give his music a listen and look at some of his works. An inspiration to us all!