Dear Editor,

Jazz has had a huge influence on rock music, esp. the more adventurous rock groups.

Recently I found a DVD at our library called, The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret which is about a group of LA studio musicians who backed up dozens of rock stars in the 60s with most of the Wrecking Crew’s members having a formal background in jazz.

In the 60s the Wrecking Crew was used on ablums by Nancy Sinatra, Bobby Vee, the Partridge Family, David Cassidy, Jan and Dean, the Mamas and the Papas, the 5th Dimension, the Association, the Carpenters, Glen Campbell, Sonny and Cher, John Denver, the Beach Boys, Leonard Cohen, Simon and Garfunkel, the Grass Roots and the Byrds (who have acknowledged that their song “Eight Miles High” was influenced by jazz pioneer John Coltrane’s saxophone playing and, in particular, the song “India” from his Impressions album).

Wrecking Crew members were not given credit on any of the albums made with those listed above. In fact, those members of the Wrecking Crew who considered themselves jazz musicians did not want their names associated with rock music.

It comes out in the film that the primary reason record producers such as Phil Spector, Brian Wilson and others used the Wrecking Crew is they could do in 3 hours what would take the actual rock musicians of these groups 3 or 4 days to do.

In the recent film Love & Mercy the Wrecking Crew was portrayed in a studio recording session playing some of Brian Wilson’s music.

You rockers may want to take note that in the film Frankie and Alice, the true story of a woman with multiple personalities staring Halle Berry, there is a scene where we are introduced to the psychiatrist (listening to jazz on headphones) who will soon interview Halle Berry’s character. He states he was listening to jazz because a colleague had told him that jazz allows total access to the subconscious without the use of drugs. NO DRUGS NEEDED.

It is worth noting that Frank Zappa, who did not like jazz, had to hire jazz musicians as his music had gotten too complicated for rock musicians and just before his death, Jimi Hendrix was in talks with one of my favorites, jazz sax great Sam Rivers, about doing an album together. If only it had happened!

Lee Santa

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