High Treason

Top Songs & Albums High Treason

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... read morePsychedelic jazz fusion band High Treason had its seeds at Philadelphia's Temple University in 1967. Keyboard virtuoso Edgar Koshatka was a classical music major at the university, but more of a jazzbo at heart, with an equally abiding interest in the newest strains of psychedelia and rock -...

Key songs

Leo
High Treason
4:35
Circadian Rhythm
High Treason
1:59
Maybe, Maybe
High Treason
8:55
Subterranean Homesick Blues
High Treason
5:11
Saturday Night Special
High Treason
3:51

Biography

Active: 1960s-1970s
Country Of origin: United States of America

Psychedelic jazz fusion band High Treason had its seeds at Philadelphia's Temple University in 1967. Keyboard virtuoso Edgar Koshatka was a classical music major at the university, but more of a jazzbo at heart, with an equally abiding interest in the newest strains of psychedelia and rock -- particularly the Jefferson Airplane -- that served as a soundtrack to the period. He began jamming with an assortment of experimental players steeped in the same eclectic variety of sounds and by the middle of the next year had met and clicked musically with vocalist Marcie Rauer and guitar player Saul Goodman. With Koshatka's songwriting -- a wellspring of jazz, classical, blues, rock, and even funk ideas -- developing in idiosyncratic ways, the band formed High Treason and emerged with a trademark sound. They brought Joe Cleary, previously a successful Top 40 type, in to spar vocally with Rauer and complete the nucleus of the band and went through a revolving list of drummers and bass players.

By late 1968, High Treason had turned into a full-time pursuit, including a manager, roadies, and a communal house. They became much in demand regionally, traveling not only through Pennsylvania but also to New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. With the increase in exposure and constant playing came a rash of record company inquiries as well. The band finally signed a record deal in 1969 on Abbot, a label that had previously been best known for recordings of children books. High Treason spent a large portion of the year in New York recording its self-titled album and it was released in a sleeve featuring the curious novelty of usable American Flag rolling papers on its cover. While not a huge financial or commercial success -- the label quite obviously had little idea how to market the band -- it was an intriguing musical blend that found them at the forefront of progressive rock. They continued as a big draw through the early 1970s, particularly in New York, earning scores of dates at the Electric Factory, Café Au Go Go, the Electric Circus, and the Fillmore East. The lack of a big break, however, when coupled with the inability to find the perfect rhythm section, took its toll on the band. Goodman began drifting further into the Sri Chinmoy cult, leaving less and less time for gigs and rehearsals. Koshatka returned to school to polish off the last few credits for his degree and Rauer returned to school as well.

Koshatka and Rauer then reconvened the band. The last High Treason incarnation, a hot little four-piece made up of Koshatka, Rauer, bassist Terry Morrissey, and drummer Richard Ormsbee, operated from 1971 to 1973 and, in contrast to the prevailing rock & roll winds of the day, bypassed the guitar altogether. The music turned funky, melodic, and more accessible and they continued to get a large number of local Philly gigs. Echoing the post-Watergate hangover, however, most of the band's equipment was burglarized in the spring of 1973, effectively putting an end to their career. ~ Stanton Swihart~ Rovi

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