Sweet Smoke – From Darkness to Light (1973)

  • Michael Paris – sax, flute, vocals
  • Marvin Kaminowitz – guitar, vocals
  • Steve Rosenstein – guitar, vocals
  • Rochus Kuhn – violincello
  • Jeffrey Dershin – piano, percussion, vocals
  • Andrew Dershin – bass
  • Jay Dorfman – drums
  • Marty Rosenberg – percussion on “Kundalini” and “Believe Me My Friends”
  • Puppa Kuhn – flute on “Darkness to Light”
  • Peter von de Locht – alto saxophone on “Darkness to Light”

The underrated “Darkness To Light” is SWEET SMOKE’s last studio album. This one has some shorter tracks but I think it’s closer to progressive rock genre than their first. The music is more diverse, complex and thoughtfully composed. However, in some parts it still ratains the jazz-rock elemnts from their first album. Their typical sudden changes in mood and rhythm are also presented. I welcome the addition of piano and string instruments. I also like the singing and occasional beatlesque choir parts. The hippie imagery in the music and on the coverart is even more prominent than before. This is also notable in the epic track “Kundalini” which begins in Indo-fusion style: a crowd singing a mantra (a few people are out of tune but I think it was intentional), ethnic percussion, instrumental improvisations, scat singing… It’s slowly proceeding in more “conventional” jazz-rock. The ending is a crazy jazz counterpoint between guitar, piano, sax, bas and drums. Trully stunning! “Show Me the War” is thoughtfully arranged and spiced with some dissonance. The title track has some awesome trippy and jazzy things going on. In the end they freak out… Other tracks are nice and simple songs with folky flute and a few intelligent twists. I’m not a “flower power” follower but there is something magical about this album that makes it one of my favorites.

 

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