“Loved Boy” – Taken from his 2001 self-titled album. This track is the closing song on this album and is dedicated to his deceased son Terry.
On Saturday 5th February, Los Angeles-born David Axelrod passed away at the age of 83, his life in music colourful, creative and vibrant and for this he is greatly revered.
Beginning his career as a boxer, it was his love, exploration and passion for music that would help carve out his creative working life; his composing, arranging and producing remains an inspiration to so many.
In the early days Axelrod found studio work in the film and television industry and was soon in demand as a session musician, utilising his drumming, production and arranging skills. He produced his first album in 1959 for saxophonist Harold Land’s The Fox and then worked as a staff producer for record companies specialising in jazz. By the mid-1960’s he was generating interest in soul and jazz circles for his recording skills, and in 1968 he embarked on a solo career releasing several eccentric albums during the 1970’s. These albums showcased his unique and defining sound: songs heavily based on rhythm, microphoned drums and elaborate orchestration, incorporating avant-garde themes ranging from the environment to heightened mental awareness. These solo projects were pioneering and Axelrod was one of the first recording artists to fuse elements of jazz, rock and R&B.
“Holy Thursday” – From his 1968 Songs Of Innocence album.
Over the years David Axelrod has worked with numerous artists and musicians, including garage rockers the Electric Prunes, soul legend Lou Rawls and renowned jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. In the mid-Sixties, Axelrod piloted four jazz-funk LP,s by The Man From U.N.C.L.E. actor and musician, David McCallum. (Check out the fantastic House of Mirrors track I featured a short while back that has been sampled by DJ Shadow)
More recently his music has inspired, shaped-the-sound-of and been sampled by generations of hip-hop artists including, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s The Next Episode, De La Soul’s I Am I Be, UNKLE’s Rabbit in Your Headlights and Ghostface Killah’s Stay True, as well as productions by DJ Premier, DJ Shadow, Madlib, Swizz Beatz and hundreds more..
David Axelrod was a pioneering musical explorer, his sound is timeless, his rhythm-driven arrangements as much at home in this day as they were when they were created decades ago. I love his dynamic originality and will always appreciate his music..RIP David Axelrod. I couldn’t pick one song for today so have included three, enjoy!
“Songs Of Innocence” – From his 1968 Songs Of Innocence album.