Chris Squire, Bassist and Co-Founder of Prog Rock Band Yes

Yes–The Lost Broadcasts (1969)

The dawn of the 1970s found me searching for artists on my own, music that would not be hand-me-downs from my older sister. She had impeccable taste, mind you, introducing me to Donovan, The Doors, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix and Joe Cocker, among many others who arrived in our home via The Columbia Record Club.

But by 1970, there was a changing of the guard. Sadly, some greats had died prematurely, while still at their peak. The Beatles were in the process of breaking up. With my sister off at college and no longer a pipeline for new music, I had to discover it on my own.

Enter Yes.

I remember listening to “Roundabout” in my friend Gerry’s VW Beetle, as we cruised the streets in the hope of escaping the tedium of our teenage lives. Yes’s Baroque flights of fancy, Jon Anderson’s choirboy vocals–it all seemed so different from the blues-based rock we’d been raised on.

Concert and Interview Footage (1971)

Chris Squire (March 4, 1948-June 27, 2015) had an early fondness for church music, which he channeled through a psychedelic phase before forming Yes with vocalist Jon Anderson. He remained a constant in Yes, its only bassist for 47 years.

His aggressive style, made crisp through the use of a pick and cleverly fed through two separate amps, allowed for much more melodic bass lines. The video featured below isolates the bass line of “Roundabout.” Another good example is a cover of “Heart of the Sunrise.”

For another tribute to Chris Squire and Yes, read Peter Catapano’s blog post for The New York Times.

“Roundabout” Isolated Bass Track

Jim Ed Brown, Country Crooner

“Three Bells” by The Browns

Jim Ed Brown (March 1, 1934-June 11, 2015) had a series of Top 10 hits over the course of three decades, beginning with No. 1 “Three Bells,” which he recorded with his sisters Maxine and Bonnie as a member of The Browns.

“Pop-A-Top” on “The Marty Stuart Show”

He eventually left the family group to forge a solo career in the mid-1960s. The beer-drinking song “Pop-A-Top” made it to No. 3, but he didn’t chart nearly as high until the early 1970s with “Morning.”

He got back to No. 1 with a 1976 duet with Helen Cornelius, “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You,” an ironic anthem to “free love.”

In between his infrequent hits Brown hosted his own TV show, “The Country Place,” and formed a backing group called the Gems at Sahara Tahoe’s Juniper Lounge.

“I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You” with Helen Cornelius

Ornette Coleman, Pioneer of Free Jazz

Ornette: Made in America (trailer)

Where do you start to learn of the contributions of saxophonist Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930-June 11, 2015). The All Music Guide to Jazz has so many 5-star reviews of his albums that it isn’t much help. “The Adventure” episode in “Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns” spotlights the LP “Free Jazz,” which has a single track that spans over both sides. That seemed intimidating.

So I took the advice of Tom Moon in 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die and settled on “The Shape of Jazz to Come.” Moon suggests that you “Cue this up whenever you want to be transported to a time when radicalism was on the loose in America.”

And something did seem to be in the air in 1959, when the album was released. For more on that momentous year, check out this BBC Four documentary. The whole video’s worth watching, but if you want to jump ahead to Coleman, you’ll find him at about the 28:00 mark.

1959–The Year That Changed Jazz

Coleman pushed past the restrictions that even the fairly unfettered genre of jazz still hung onto: predictable chord changes, fixed time signatures and keys. He developed his own theory, which he called “Harmolodics.” In the liner notes for “Dancing in Your Head,” Coleman explains this as “rhythms, harmonics, and tempos [that] are all equal in relationship and independent melodies at the same time.”

Ornette Coleman Trio Recording Soundtrack to “Who’s Crazy?”, 1966

In “The Shape of Jazz to Come,” Coleman’s quartet was completed by bassist Charlie Haden, trumpeter Don Cherry and drummer Billy Higgins, a cast of musicians he would turn to for many recordings. But he would play with many others and evolve through decades, as only the father of free jazz could.

Ornette Coleman was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

“Lonely Woman” at Jazz at Vienne, 2008