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Classic British Modern & Free Jazz Recommendations

Discussion in 'music' started by poco a poco, Jun 27, 2019.

  1. poco a poco

    poco a poco pfm Member

    This thread sort of arose by its self from the Don Rendall, Ian Carr Reissues thread where other excellent recommendations for good British Jazz of this type have started to appear. These might be more difficult to find within that thread so here is one for people to chip in with some of their favourites and wish lists for reissues if not readily available at a reasonable price.

    I'll kick off with three that have not so far been mentioned in the above thread:

    Tony Oxley - 4 Compositions for Sextet. With Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Rutherford & Jeff Clyne. I have the 1970 CBS original UK Vinyl, but there is a a 1999 CD.

    Jeff Clyne / Ian Carr Quartet - Spring Board. With Trevor Watts and John Stevens. Their only record as this Quartet as far as I know, but it pretty much an offshoot of SME from that period. I have a 1969 Polydor vinyl original, but there is a 2017 vinyl reissue.

    Henry Lowther Band - Child Song. With Trevor Roberts, Mike McNaaught, Darrell Runswick & Mike Travis. Again their only album with this line up as far as I know. Henry Lowther has of course cropped up on many great albums. I have an original 1970 UK Deram vinyl, but there were 2013 & 2016 (the 16 Japanese) CD reissues.

    Enough from me to start with. Open to all for their favourites.
    Graham H, Seanm, Theo and 2 others like this.
  2. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    This isn't an area I know a lot about, I'm looking forward to the recommendations.
  3. poco a poco

    poco a poco pfm Member

    I'm looking forward to what hopefully comes up, but I'm thinking it may not be such a great idea as I'm spending too much on the excellent vinyl reissues (Tone Poets, BN80's, etc.) being released at the moment already.
  4. scotty38

    scotty38 pfm Member

    This is such a bad idea, really, really bad......
  5. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

  6. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

  7. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    I’ll start with Michael Garrick’s stunningly beautiful Cold Mountain, a personal favourite. A trio recording with Dave Green and Trevor Tomkins, Garrick has really developed his own voice here and is less under the influence of Paul Bley than on Moonscapes. Cold Mountain will cost you a fortune on vinyl, but the Vocalion CD is an excellent transfer from tape. Moonscapes is also excellent, but as only 90 copies were pressed it is impossible to find. Johnny Trunk found one and transferred it to CD and vinyl, so the Trunk Moonscapes is a quality vinyl rip but well worth the investment, wonderful music.

    The title does say free jazz, so I’ll start with Tony Oxley’s The Baptised Traveller, originally released on CBS and regarded as the sister album to Four Compositions. This is a looser structure with more improvisation than Four compositions, and involves a star studded line up with Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Kenny Wheeler and Jeff Clyne alongside the brilliant Oxley. I’ve chosen it as it represents the interesting crossover of musicians on both the jazz and improv scenes in the late 60s, and it’s also regarded as a classic. An original LP will cost you a bit, but Sony did a decent enough transfer from tape in 1999.I don’t know if there have been any more recent reissues.

    For those really at the beginning of this era in British Jazz, Gilles Peterson did two brilliant comps in the early 00s, on CD and vinyl and nicely mastered and presented, called Impressed and Impressed Volume 2. Both worth seeking out, every track a gem and a great road map.

    Also, Jazz Explosion on Landsdowne crops up frequently enough and is essential. Thing is it’s often hidden in places like Jazz House under Various Artists, which if you’re like me, is a place I’m not in the habit of looking.
  8. Theo

    Theo pfm Member

    Nice idea :)

    From the other thread, Joe Harriott & Amancio D'Silva Quartet's "Hum Dono" is an essential Landsdowne vinyl release:


    Just about anything & everything with Neil Ardley's involvement is - IMHO - essential, but not much you can pick up on decently-priced vinyl. However, this one sounds good, and has Carr/Rendell on the second side:


    Ardley's stuff with the New Jazz Orchestra is seminal. Not many vinyl copies around. I have the original vinyl, but you can buy the cd with confidence, as it's pretty close:


    This Rendell one is good too:


    Early Mike Westbrook is great - especially "Celebration". If you're happy to shell out a bit, look for an original Deram pressing. However, my favourite Wesbrook album is this one:


    I can't vouch for this particular pressing as I have an original Neon copy, but it's a classic album. As is this one, with John Surman:


    That'll keep you going for starters...
    Graham H and mikechadwick like this.
  9. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    Just ordered the Impressed & Impressed Volume 2 (a bit harder to find and more expensive than Volume 1). I've only got Heart is A lotus by Michael Garrick so I'll look out for Cold Mountain. Thanks Graham - this could get quite wallet draining! Any chance of pointing out anything really extreme musically - not sure I'm that adventurous :rolleyes:
    Graham H likes this.
  10. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    and just ordered Cold mountain & Hum Dono from Vocalion. Enough for today - I know I've got three more Blue Notes to pick up tomorrow. Happy Days!
  11. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Thanks all, learning a lot here.
  12. Theo

    Theo pfm Member

    The two Impressed titles are what started my madness into collecting 60s/70s British Jazz. It's been a costly ride over the past 15 years :)
  13. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    Possibly relevant (!) - I found Trevor Barre's book on British Free Improvisation 1966-72 really informative regarding the history of groups like SME.

    It's out of print but available on KIndle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Jazz-Plink-Scratch-London/dp/1907308849

    There's a second volume (also out of print and £80+ used!) which sadly seems to have formatting issues in the Kindle edition.
    poco a poco and Graham H like this.
  14. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    Thanks Paul, I'd definitely like to read that; will get the Kindle version. Bit specific though, isn't it; 66-72.
  15. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I think the idea is that it covers the 'first generation' improvisors and the second volume 73-79 covers the 'second generation'. A little arbitrary perhaps.

    Some of the quotes are from the long interview Evan Parker did with Martin Davidson for Opprobrium magazine in 1997 - I'll see if I can get article scanned in and send it over to you as a supplement :)
  16. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    Within the framework of the thread many people find Derek Bailey extreme/challenging. But let’s not forget he was in the BBC house band, went on tour with Morecambe and Wise, played the Desert Island Disc theme tune for a while on solo guitar and I believe was Kathy Kirby’s guitarist (the latter I had a crush on at the age of 5, according to my parents).

    Two favourites I’d recommend by Derek are Dart Drug with Jamie Muir, and Live at Verity’s with Han Bennink. I love Derek with percussion, freedom from another harmonic instrument allowing him more space to move around in and to play with actual sound as well as his renowned angular, pointillistic, harmonically rich style. But before I use too many adjectives and flowery language both these records really rock in their own way. Many know Jamie Muir from his tenure with King Crimson and the LP Lark’s Tongues, probably their most interesting period and line up. Muir’s textures and concrete sounds, brutal and subtle, are brilliant on Dart Drug. I also happen to know, courtesy of DB’s widow Karen Brookman, that this was one of Derek’s favourite sessions. Can’t say enough about Han Bennink except he was a genius, can play with anyone or any style, has a phenomenal history that includes Eric Dolphy, and plays a blinder on Verity’s.

    I have original versions on Incus, but both have been well remastered from original tapes by Honest Jon’s Records with extra material - well worth hearing - and some nice photographs. I think CDs of both titles are also available.

    I’ll counter this with Stan Tracey’s Under Milkwood, the original version with Bobby Wellins on tenor sax. An obvious place to begin, but mentioning it just in case it gets forgotten.
  17. scotty38

    scotty38 pfm Member

    Struggling to find some of these on Qobuz but did find Tony Oxley’s The Baptised Traveller, not the easiest of listens though... Much work to do have I.....
  18. poco a poco

    poco a poco pfm Member

    Thanks Graham I'll get Dart Drug as I'm fan of Jamie Muir as well as Bailey I saw King Crimson a few times, most memorably at the 1969 Rolling Stones Concert in Hyde Park, Muir wasn't with them then of course. Did see him in some small improvisational groups, but I can't remember where and I don't think it was The Music Improvisation Company?

    Muir gave it all up to concentrate on painting.

    Love all of Stan Tracey's work, but if anyone wants a slightly more challenging Stan try Stan Tracey - Alone at Wigmore Hall. 1974 Vinyl on Cadillac Records. I don't think there is a later version, but it can still be found fairly easily and cheaply.

    I knew I shouldn't have started this thread as I already have a growing list and more expense.:(
  19. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Waiting for the streetcar..

    On the freer side:

    And also:

    poco a poco likes this.
  20. Theo

    Theo pfm Member

    Graham H likes this.

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