Just before I joined Cocteau Twins I had a transformative experience with jazz.
Prior to 1983 I knew a few names and titles but was wholly unfamiliar with anything jazz related. Following the closure of Beggars Banquet record shop, where I had worked for two years, I got a job at Our Price, who had shops everywhere. The manager at the Charing Cross Road branch took a shine to me and would do lock-ins after closing time, light a big fat spliff and educate me in the magic of the greats in the jazz world.
Bitches Brew became a favourite of mine over the next few years, but it is not an entry point record that’s for sure! It’s dense and complex, at times almost unapproachable. I’m not saying you have to be mashed to understand it, but I’ll admit it did help me. On the surface it is a glorious noise, with seemingly no structure. But if you really listen, even if it seems difficult, a breakthrough is imminent, I promise.
Inside this impenetrable shell lies a world so colourful and rich, it’s almost unbelievable. The deep funk of the bass parts struck me first. They’re that good you’ll want to learn them! (Good luck with that!) The music then takes shape and your brain and body can connect with it. It is like awakening from a Technicolor dream and reliving it in the waking world. It’s quite something. Almost ‘key to the universe’ good.