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Graham Bond Graham Bond

While this may be news to Agent 007 lovers, there's more than one Brit named Bond. While that fictional film character with the first name of James may garner the bigger audience, it is another Bond-Graham Bond-who has left a long-lasting impression with his influential music. Although many consider Alexis Korner as the father of the British blues/R&B movement, Graham Bond also deserves credit for its development. “Loud, hypnotic and neurotic” is how Melody Maker reporter Chris Welch once described Bond's music. “It wails, screams and tears at the senses for minutes on end, demanding either complete attention or complete rejection.”

Bond was not afraid to experiment, introducing the Mellotron to British audiences as well as being one of the first on the scene to use the Hammond organ. His approach to music was also unconventional, as he boldly mixed elements of jazz into his brand of R&B, a feat unheard of at the time. “It doesn't have to be a 12-bar. Blues can be 9 1/2 bars, or 14 bars, and in any time,” he once explained to Melody Maker. “You can play so many different sequences, or no sequences at all. Talk about 'Free Form'-there is a tremendous parallel with the blues, because it's so free. We are playing the blues of today and I can get away with playing practically anything. There is no reason at all why you can't take the blues and put the technique of modern jazz on it.”

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