Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity: Fillmore East, New York NY

BRITISH VISITORS PLAY JAZZY ROCK

JULIE DRISCOLL, Brian Auger and the Trinity, a British group, brought their slick jazz-influenced rock to the Fillmore East, 105 Second Avenue, Friday and Saturday.

Brian Auger is a very inventive organist. He has played much jazz and brings a lot of it to the Trinity’s technically polished, smoothly flowing rock. Backed by Clive Thacker on drums and Dave Ambrose on bass, he creates a moving web of gentle sound and wraps it around a rock beat. The word gentle is important. Brian Auger and the Trinity play easy-listening rock; controlled and fine, often very original, but seldom anything of great excitement.

Singer Also a Model

Julie Driscoll is the group’s lead singer, and occasional high fashion model. Where Mr. Auger’s music is simple and easy, her singing is coarse and painful. Many good singers have coarse voices, particularly in rock and jazz. But Miss Driscoll sings like an all-night waitress in a Queens diner. She seems to have little range, and while her voice seems under control she shows no great knowledge of what to do with it. Mostly she screams, floats around stage like a Vogue model in full flight, and in general seems more concerned with image and chic than with music. One dance step she performed twice during the first set Saturday was identical to a routine done by Arthur Brown, another British singer, in a Fillmore East appearance several months ago. Only Mr. Brown did it better.

Saturday evening the group played ‘Season of the Witch’, a Donovan song; ‘Definitely What’, written by Mr. Auger and Mr. Ambrose, and ‘Take Me to the Water’, a Nina Simone song. They played a version of ‘Light My Fire’, which, forgetting about Miss Driscoll’s vocal, was a much better interpretation of that song than the Doors, who wrote it, have done.

Organist a Standout

Brian Auger is definitely one of the best organists playing rock music. With all the rock musicians relying on sound distortions and gimmicks, it is good to hear someone who is a real, original musician. But being a real musician he should find himself a real singer. Or else do the singing himself. Where he has done this on his two Atlantic albums, Open and Definitely What!, he has done very well.

The Trinity shared the bill at the Fillmore East with John Hammond, a great blues guitarist and vocalist, and Steppenwolf, a hard-rock band that has become very popular in the last year.

© Mike JahnThe New York Times, 31 March 1969

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