David Crosby, on harmonies | Humanity

Indeed, Californians had a dream. Far from GAFAM, transhumanism and fake corpses, the land promised to the gold diggers, we are in a hurry to build a civilization free of Indians and hunters. Nor the rhinestones and sequins of Hollywood, this “rippled idyll” condemned by the German composer Hanns Eisler in his tormented exile. This dream is ocean waves crashing against the rocks, colorful sunsets, broken social norms, new doors of perception, universal peace and the American dolce vita. It was called the Hippie Dream, and David Crosby, who died on Thursday in his eighty-first year, was one of its finest.

In search of strange harmonies not heard in popular music

However, he was born in the summer of 1941 in the heart of Hollywood, in the family of a director. But David was not serious, running away from drama classes, he started to try his hand with the guitar, and in several places with the devil’s music. blues dance. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where he met future actors of the hippie scene (Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, Greatfull Dead). He made his first recordings there before meeting Chris Hillman and Gene Clark, the two thieves who would form the Byrds. Too lazy, Byrds. A pioneering group that will bring together all the popular music to experiment on ambitious albums: Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Everly Brothers, bluegrass and folk in new arrangements. Crosby’s contribution is huge. Joining the jazz of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, he weaves strange harmonies unheard of in popular music and will also look for them in Indian ragas (Everybody’s Been Burn, Renaissance Far, Mind Gardens). He will be well inspired to bring up his friend George Harrison, who will tell his Beatles friends about it. We call it psychedelia.

It employs an acid and colorful guitar sound, dissonant, open chords that herald a happy marriage of rock and jazz. The rising musician commits some betrayals to his group, which will not forgive him: on the cover of his fifth album, The infamous Byrd Brothers in which he took an active part (1968), he was replaced by a horse. It’s time for him to look elsewhere and his walks will help him.

Newcomer, Neil Young

His moments with Joni Mitchell convinced him to continue in the folk-rock vein that suited him. It is he who gathers around him the two brilliant musicians he rubs shoulders with on stage, Steven Stills, stolen from Buffalo Springfield and Holly, respectively, and Graham Nash, from Britain. No more abstruse denominations: their simple surnames will be used to name the band soon to be joined by newcomer Neil Young after a stunningly beautiful first album. David Crosby gives the full measure of his talent here, multiplying bold compositions. Let’s Stop at Guinevere, inspired by medieval folklore, will bring happiness to be adopted by the dashing Miles Davis. A masterpiece of writing. Their vocal harmonies, which were intended for vespers, owe much to him. In 1969, the trio performed a memorable concert at the Woodstock festival named after a Joni Mitchell song. Their second album, Déjà vu, expanded to include Neil Young, would be a huge success. Here too, in addition to overseeing the production, he co-wrote two great songs, the title track and the manifesto. It will almost take my breath away.

For Dylan, Crosby is “an architect in harmony”

David Crosby is becoming one of the most sought after and respected artists of his generation. Bob Dylan, though stingy with compliments, hails a character “colorful and unexpected” and “Architect in harmony”. In 1971, he released his first solo album. “Everyone should listen in their life”, If I Could Only Remember Your Name, dedicated to his friend Christine Gay, who died in a car accident. We find there the gratin of rock, the west coast slant, the essence of Jefferson Airplane (Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Paul Kantner, Grace Slick) and the Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart). these include Graham Nash, Neil Young, Carlos Santana and Joni Mitchell. All gathered around Apostle Crosby for a fiery album, one of the finest expressions of California music.

He was pursued by the FBI

By the mid-1970s we find him in a number of signature-enhanced projects, notably with his lifelong friend Graham Nash. Then it will rot, fast and brutal. If David Crosby was the epitome of the hippie dream, he will be the symbol of its downfall. Maybe there must be a meaning? When money takes over and begins to standardize rock music, it sinks into a spectacular abyss: alcohol and drugs of all kinds consumed in significant and legendary proportions. As if it means that this world is not for him. These years are walking years. He will be prosecuted by the FBI and imprisoned for heavy consumption of psychotropic drugs, has a liver transplant, is near death, triples in volume, but continues to fantasize divine chords. How not to tremble while listening to perfect harmonies HeroRecorded on an album with Phil Collins in 1993 A Thousand Roads ? In the past five years, he’s released three albums, and we’re hoping for more ( Sky Trails, It’s Free If You Listen), as very late renaissance. He ran a Twitter account that restored trust in the social network. With a highly intelligent, subversive sense of humor, he firmly took the side of progressive America, mocking the Trump administration and its supporters without fail. Like loyalty to youthful dreams.

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