Kaleidoscope (US band)

Kaleidoscope (US band)

Kaleidoscope was an American psychedelic folk and ethnic band who recorded 4 albums and several singles for Epic between 1966 and 1970. They are not to be confused with the British psychedelic group Kaleidoscope.


The original line-up featured Solomon Feldthouse, David Lindley, Chris Darrow, Chester Crill (a.k.a. Max Budda, Max Buda, Fenrus Epp, Templeton Parcely) and John Vidican. Between them, they played a huge collection of stringed instruments in such early psychedelic songs as "Egyptian Gardens" and "Pulsating Dream." They played fusions of Middle-Eastern music with rock in longer pieces such as "Taxim," which they performed live at the Berkeley Folk Festival on July 4 1967. They played long progressive instrumentals in unusual time signatures ("Seven-Ate Suite"). They were such adept musicians that they could play in many different styles, including rock, blues, folk, jazz, Middle-Eastern and also were not afraid to feature music by Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington in their repertoire. Kaleidoscope were one of the progenitors of World Music.

Their 1967 piece "Stranger in Your City"/"Beacon from Mars," recorded live in the studio, was also influential, with Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page calling them his "favourite band of all time." [ [http://home.earthlink.net/~chrisdarrow/default.htm Chris Darrow's website] ]

Vidican and Darrow left and were replaced by Paul Lagos and erstwhile Canned Heat bass player Stuart Brotman for their 3rd and 4th albums. The 4th, "Bernice," features more electric guitar work than the earlier albums, and more country influence. At the end of 1969, Kaleidoscope contributed 2 new songs ("Brother Mary" and "Mickey's Tune") to Michaelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point.

In 1976, ex-members Brotman, Crill, Darrow, Feldthouse and Lagos reconvened for the reunion album, "When Scopes Collide", which was released on Michael Nesmith’s Pacific Arts label. Lindley also contributed, but distanced himself from the project by appearing as “De Paris Letante.”

Fourteen years later, Crill and Darrow organized a second reunion session, this time for Gifthorse Records. "Greetings from Kartoonistan (We Ain’t Dead Yet)"again brought together the same lineup, with Brotman contributing the impressive instrumental, "Klezmer Suite". (Though invited, Lindley declined to participate.) While the second reunion album lacked Lindley’s input and, inevitably, the youthful fire of the Epic recordings, it was a mature work, and musically true to the eclectic spirit of the original band.


Kaleidoscope backed Leonard Cohen on "So Long Marianne", "Teachers", and maybe more. Their versatility also enabled members of the band to back Johnny "Guitar" Watson and Larry Williams on their 1967 single "Nobody".


* "Side Trips" (1967)
* "A Beacon From Mars" (1968)
* "Incredible! Kaleidoscope" (1969)
* "Bernice" (1970)
* "When Scopes Collide" (1976)
* "Bacon From Mars" (1983) (compilation)
* "Rampe, Rampe" (1983) (compilation)
* "Egyptian Candy (A Collection)" (1990) (compilation)
* "Greetings From Kartoonistan... (We Ain't Dead Yet)" (1991)
* "Beacon From Mars & Other Psychedelic Side Trips" (2004) (compilation)


External links

* [http://www.davidlindley.com/ David Lindley site]
* [http://www.sirocco-music.com/~elcoyote/solbio.html Solomon Feldthouse site]
* [http://home.earthlink.net/~chrisdarrow/default.htm Chris Darrow site]

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