I don’t know too many millennials who call themselves Jethro Tull fans, so I feel the need to explain my interest in 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.
- My mother is my role model, and so I picked up the flute and began formal training at the age of eight (simultaneously with piano lessons). I am classically-trained but was too restless to stay there, so in later years I studied flute and piano in the context of jazz music.
- I love the fuck out of Martin Barre—his attack, his tone, his incredible feel for always playing just what a song needs.
You may have noticed I didn’t mention Ian Anderson, who for most people is Tull. 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 my 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.
I haven’t reviewed two of the albums noted above, but here are the Tull albums I have reviewed: