Jazz: Liberated Spirits

They come onstage like three hippies and an undertaker's assistant: a blond-mustached leader who looks like a young General Custer in buckskin and beads, a guitarist wrapped in a double-breasted blue jacket and a pageboy haircut, a woolly thatched drummer who appears to be wearing an entire rummage sale—and a gaunt, somber bassist in black mufti. What is more, their music is as motley as their garb. The blues jostle with Bartok. Country and western blurs into flamenco. Rock blares through misty impressionism.

It adds up to strange jazz, and the strangest thing of all is that...