Note to visitors: Now that I have no plans to write new reviews, the home page will feature a different artist, era, genre or special series each week. The old home page can be accessed through the About button on the menu bar.
I don’t know too many millennials who call themselves Jethro Tull fans, so I feel the need to explain how I developed a passion for Tull:
- My mother plays the flute. Serious flute. Had she chosen to continue her education and pursue a career in music, she would have made first chair in a world-class symphony orchestra. She gave it all up because she couldn’t bear the thought of such a cloistered life.
- Following in my mother’s delicate footsteps, I began formal training on the flute at the age of eight (simultaneously with piano lessons). While classical training has its value, I eventually got restless and (with my mother’s assistance), started exploring jazz flute, especially Hubert Laws, Charles Lloyd and Yusef Lateef.
- Because both parents are raving Tull fans, their music often appeared on the home stereo. Oddly enough, it wasn’t Ian Anderson’s flute that made me a Tull fan—it was a combination of their excellent use of syncopation and Martin Barre’s guitar. I love the fuck out of Martin Barre.
As for Ian Anderson, I think he’s one-third genius, one-third control freak and one-third butterfly. Tull went through a series of radical transformations, all driven by Ian Anderson’s insatiable restlessness. Listen to these five albums consecutively and you’ll see what I mean: This Was, Aqualung, A Passion Play, Songs from the Wood and Crest of a Knave. Five different albums, five different genres . . . unless you count Tull as its own genre, which is probably the best way to classify a band led by Ian Anderson.
Here are my Tull reviews in release date order: