"They hadn't even rehearsed. But from the beginning it just felt right."
Pianist Les McCann was onstage, and was pulling no punches. The driving groove that "Compared to What" fell into that night was unlikely because Les McCann’s Trio — piano, drummer and bass player — became a quintet with Eddie Harris on saxophone and Benny Bailey on trumpet. They'd never played together before. They hadn’t even rehearsed. But from the beginning it just felt right.
Richard Nixon was in the White House and opposition to the Vietnam War was about to heat up. Eugene McDaniel’s lyrics cover that, but a whole lot more. McCann belted them out in a raspy rant.
The tape that rolled and caught the audio in Montreux that day in June captured an excitement, an electricity, and an unmistakable spirit. It became the hit album: Swiss Movement. The lead track “Compared to What,” lived on, and still lives, in hundreds of jazz and pop versions.
- Meridee Duddleston