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Jethro Tull

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Heinrich Klaffs, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

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