Cashed out on the rote, sheet music lounge fare of their casino and/or buffet day jobs, Spirit Free booked seats on a Starship instead, charting their jazz-fusion course deep into Las Vegas’ outer limits. The neon-hotel hedonism of Sin City swallowed whole this trio, as easily as the meager pressing of their expansive 1971 opus sifted into the scorched Mojave. New York transplant musicians Santo Savino and Ron Feuer dug up Wichita native saxman Rick Davis at the Dunes, and Spirit Free was off into excursions unlike anything the Strip had yet sold, “more an exploration of inner space than a sojourn into the cosmos,” as one critic saw it. Captured during 1971’s UNLV Jazz Festival by prominent engineer and recording virtuoso Reice Hamel and his 8-track mobile rig, Spirit Free Plays Starship testifies to one nimble unit’s escape from gaudy glitz and gambling into the musical firmament hanging out in wait above the Stardust.
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