San Antonio, Texas
Recorded with Sonobeat in 1970 and 1973
One commercial album release on Sonobeat Records (1976)
It's summer 1970, and Austin, Texas-based Sonobeat Recording Company begins studio sessions with San Antonio native David Flack, whose trio performs as The David Flack Quorum. The resulting album, Mindbender, is recorded piecemeal over more than three years but isn't released until 1976. The first few tracks of the album are recorded at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio in northwest Austin in August 1970. The album – which fuses jazz, rock, and classical genres – is completed in May 1973, delayed in part because of the disruptive move of Sonobeat's studio from Western Hills Drive to the KVET Building on North Lamar in Austin, David's departure for military service in 1971, and, when David returns two years later, an extended search for a vocalist who, as David recalls, can "sing against the 'soundtrack' already in the can." Austin jazz and blues singer Marva Jackson eventually is cast as that vocalist and ably fills the roll.
Sonobeat co-founder Rim Kelley (Bill Josey Jr.) engineers the Western Hills Drive sessions – consisting of most of the tracks for side I of the album – before moving to Houston in fall 1970, at which time co-founder Bill Josey Sr. takes over engineering as well as producing duties, finishing up the side I tracks. When David returns in '73 from a two-year tour of duty in the Army, he and Bill Sr. reconnect, the rest of the tracks are recorded, and the album is sequenced and mixed at Sonobeat's KVET Building studio. Bill Sr. immediately begins offering the album to national labels. Eventually, Liberty/UA Records in Hollywood, with which Sonobeat has an established relationship through the Johnny Winter and Afro-Caravan albums, expresses interest in Mindbender for its UA and Blue Note labels, but Bill Sr.'s battle with cancer, first diagnosed in 1975, interferes with putting a deal together before Liberty/UA loses interest. Eventually, David designs the album jacket and finances the album's regional release. Mindbender is released in February 1976, after a long and oft-interrupted journey. Notably, this is Sonobeat's first of only two commercial releases on which its stylized logo (in the ribbon-like Calypso font) does not appear (the other is Helmer Dahl's album).
Side I of Mindbender, initially themed under the subtitle Scatter Power, features six diverse pieces, including Marva's terrific scat (which influences the subtitle that eventually is scrapped) on Chas'er and David's moody piano on So-Lo. Side II features the Mindbender Suite, consisting of seven interlinked movements presented without breaks. David composes all songs on the album.
Bill Sr.'s liner notes aptly summarize the album's appeal: "Conceptual in approach and communicative by design, Mindbender has that rare quality of freshness and timelessness ... DFQ has sterling improvisational ability with clever interplay techniques: The music is engaging, demanding, and fun!"
Emory Alford: pecussion
David Flack: electric and acoustic keyboards
Marva Jackson: vocals
Hugh Sparks: acoustic bass
Purge (David Flack) • 1:57
Once I Dreamed (David Flack) • 5:37
Chas'er (David Flack) • 2:11
So-Lo (David Flack) • 2:06
So What?! (David Flack) • 2:57
Taste of Time (David Flack) • 3:15
Side II (Mindbender Suite):
Free - Part 1 (David Flack) • 3:03
Glimpses (David Flack) • 1:09
Light (David Flack) • 4:31
Heavy (David Flack) • 1:41
Blue (David Flack) • 3:00
Free - Part 2 (David Flack) • 1:32
Flashback (David Flack) • 4:54
Producers (uncredited): Bill Josey Sr. and David Flack
Engineers: Bill Josey Sr. and Bill Josey Jr.
Front and back jacket photographs: Roy Harlow Jr. and John Cross Jr.
Liner notes: Bill Josey Sr.
Recorded at Sonobeat Studios, Austin, Texas, August 17-18, 1970, and
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice Slimair 636 microphones, Sony ECM22 electret condenser microphones, Scully 280 half-inch 4-track recorder, Stemco half-inch 4-track recorder, Ampex AG350 quarter-inch 2-track recorder, custom 16-channel 4-bus mixing console, Fairchild Lumiten 663ST optical compressor, Blonder-Tongue Audio Baton 9-band stereo graphic equalizer, custom steel plate stereo reverb, Scotch 206 and Ampex 681 tape stock
Unknown number of copies pressed
Lacquers mastered and vinyl copies manufactured by unknown pressing plant believed to be Wakefield Manufacturing in Phoenix, Arizona
Black and white jacket (front and back)
Labels and jackets printed by unknown pressing plant believed to be Wakefield Manufacturing in Phoenix, Arizona
In the dead wax:
Side I: DFQS-A, DFQS-100-A, and WMEMI-S
Side II: DFQS-B, DFQS-100-B, and WMEMI-S
There are no unreleased songs by the David Flack Quorum in the Sonobeat archives
Conceptual in approach and communicative by design, Mindbender has that rare quality of freshness and timelessness. The lush chords of Once I Dreamed, the ethereal So-Lo, the funky So What?!, the Brubeck-ish Taste of Time only whet the senses for the incredible suite to follow.
Although there are no breaks between movements, the Mindbender Suite has stunning transitions as the music defines the Universal Character's emotional peaks and valleys. The remarkable effect on the listener is evergreen – indeed, your satisfaction repeatedly grows – and the multi-levels of interpretation offer a distinct aural and mental experience with each playback.
Reflection and excitement, hard times and humor, classical, jazz, and pop-rock are all served up in a successful attempt to reach your consciousness and lead you to a new experience in recorded entertainment.
The talent is evident. The writing is on a wide canvas of colors and styles, and will surely be covered by major artists. DFQ has sterling improvisational ability with clever interplay techniques: The music is engaging, demanding, and fun!