The Late Bronze Age

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Cosmic improv unit the Late Bronze Age was one of the many projects spearheaded by Atlanta-based Col. Bruce Hampton, the jam band guru whose previous group, the Hampton Grease Band, recorded the 1971…
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Cosmic improv unit the Late Bronze Age was one of the many projects spearheaded by Atlanta-based Col. Bruce Hampton, the jam band guru whose previous group, the Hampton Grease Band, recorded the 1971 cult classic Music to Eat (which, upon its release, proved the second-worst-selling album in the storied history of Columbia Records). After dissolving his namesake band in 1974, Hampton formed the New Ice Age (soon re-christened the Late Bronze Age) as a showcase for his taste for anarchic, extemporaneous live performance; founded with the mission statement "Anything Can Happen," the group often improvised new material on the spot, and Hampton once estimated they'd played upwards of 10,000 different songs. His mercurial approach guaranteed that the Late Bronze Age's lineup shifted regularly, with only bassist Lincoln Metcalf (a.k.a. Ricky Keller) signing on for the long haul; multi-instrumentalist Ben "Pops" Thornton was also a major contributor to the Late Bronze Age's two studio LPs, 1980's Outside Looking Out and 1982'sIsles of Langerham. The group finally sputtered to a halt around the time of Hampton's 1987 solo effort Arkansas; his subsequent projects include the Aquarium Rescue Unit, the Fiji Mariners, and the Code Talkers.