Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
After the initial experiments in crossing jazz and rock by such '60s innovators as the Electric Flag and the original Al Kooper, Blood, Sweat and Tears, it was inevitable that jazz would follow rock and popular modes in their increasing diversification.What that all means in 1978 is that just as there is soft rock, country rock, MOB (middle-of-road) rock and at east the remnants of hard-edge heavy metal rock, so has there evolved a range of jazz style fanning from the most mathematical "purist" [WORD ILLEGIBLE]to the soft pseudo-jazz [WORD ILLEGIBLE]a la Chicago or the (later David Clayton-Thomas) BS&T.
Perhaps the most obvious movement in jazz in the last couple of years has been the burgeoning MOJ - middle of jazz - epitomized by the popular cross-over successes of Chuck Mangione and Chick Corea. Saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, who opened a six-night stand at Blues Alley Tuesday night, falls squarely into this category.
In MOJ, rhythms and instrumental solos, once the mainstays of improvisation, are increasingly limited by a verse-bridge-break-verse pattern held over from pop/rock. The material tends to be drawn from a more accessible "popular" pool: Turrentine's quartet would up with a rather attractive version of "Love Hangover," formerly a disco hit for Diana Ross.
To some extent, the marriage of pop and jazz has been encourage by the increasing prominence of "rock" instruments - electric bass, electric piano and synthesizer keyboards - in jazz groups (including Turrentine's).It can be a pleasant, soothing mating, as is Turrentine's, but it is not a demanding experience for the audience.