Australian jazz fusion group Crossfire began life in Sydney 1974, when guitarist Jim Kelly and percussionist Ian Bloxsom decided to form a band, which also included Tony Buchanan (flutes), Don Reid (sax/flutes), Phil Scorgie (bass), Greg Lyon (bass), Doug Gallagher (drums), and Steve Hopes (drums/percussion). Most of the members had learned their chops playing in various R&B outfits as well as jazz venues along the east coast, improving their skill and trade the old fashioned way, i.e. through hard work. So proficient had Crossfire become that by the late 1970’s they were touring across Europe, performing at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club in London, the Newport Festival in America, and even The Montreaux Jazz Festival.
Let it be said that “direct-to-disc” records were in the ‘70s what SACDs are today, a far more pure way of transferring sound to the listener, and Crossfire were the first in Australia to utilise the technology.
Before I even begin to describe the album’s contents, we are dealing with some first rate musicians, that much is obvious. The cheekily titled “It Coitainly Was” is a fun and sophisticated piece of cerebrally exciting several minutes, where our protagonists entertain the listener’s neurons and increase the brain’s plasticity. The same applies with “On the Wings of Albatrocity”, a composition no doubt inspired by early ‘70’s Miles Davis. “Fahannokookin’” has plenty of vibes and enough intricate guitar playing to resemble Lee Ritenour during his Captain Fingers period. “Oddball” could be a complicated remake of the soundtrack to some ‘70s middle of the road drama-comedy. Still it has its moments, especially Don Reid’s exquisite saxophone which truly takes the listener on a journey.
The LP concludes with “Satie-ated”, an intelligent piece of jazz fusion if there ever was. Reid plays the sax like an angel taking wing, while the rest of the group do their best to explain the orbits of the outer planets.
Crossfire released several albums during their tenure although Direct To Disc is perhaps the most sought after by audiophiles, due to the quality of sound, which is indeed impressive. Only a limited number of copies were pressed, as the technology required was so expensive, and since its release, to my knowledge, hasn’t been available, at least commercially on CD. YouTube will fix that I’m sure, but nothing beats listening to the original vinyl, the way that nature intended.