Recorded in December 1968 and January 1969, this relatively unheralded 1969 release was made by many of the musicians heard on Erica Pomerance’s album You Used to Think (ESP1098), released the previous year. Reminiscing decades later, ESP-Disk’ owner Bernard Stollman said, “Octopus was fresh and ingenuous, the work of 17- and 18-year-olds.” One member, bassist Lanny Brooks, was in fact 15, and two members of the band had to have a parent sign the contract. Guest saxophonist Trevor Koehler, a member of cult faves Insect Trust, later joined the Gil Evans Orchestra and was a sideman on Lou Reed’s Sally Can’t Dance. There’s a broad range of styles here, from the catchy pop-rock of “Harold Knows” to blues to freaky improvs. That worked against the band finding acclaim, critics seemed to want something more easily categorizable. But the album has aged well; the strong guitar work of Riverdale (The Bronx) prodigy Dion Grody, born into a show-biz family, now works as the focus around which the album coheres.