A previously unissued 1972 concert by the original version of Iskra 1903 - Paul Rutherford (trombone), Derek Bailey (guitar) and Barry Guy (double bass) - extraordinary performances, plus 2 short extracts from another concert.
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Catalog ID: 5013
Squidco Product Code: 15215
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold Foldover
Recorded in concert by Bob Woolford on March 9th, 1972 at Goldsmiths College in London.
Derek Bailey-amplified guitar
Barry Guy-amplified doublebass
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1. Cohesion 1A 29:52
2. Cohesion 1B 8:09
3. Cohesion 2A 16:21
4. Cohesion 2B 12:53
5. Unknown 1 4:32
6. Unknown 2 3:30
Related Categories of Interest:
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
EMANEM & psi
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sample the album:
"Iskra 1903 was one of my favourite groups. I cannot remember hearing a performance that I did not enjoy, although inevitably some were better than others. The previously unissued concert on this CD was arguably one of their best.
I first heard this recording about ten years ago, when Paul Rutherford gave me his reel-to-reel copy. I made listening copies for the three musicians, all of whom wanted it to be issued complete. The trouble was the original tapes were last heard of in California. Rutherford's copy tape was pretty good, but I hoped that the originals would have a bit less distortion.
Ten years later, two of the members of the trio are no longer with us, and I still await two of the tapes. One original tape did turn up just as I sent this CD off for release earlier this year. So everything was put on hold hoping that the other two would surface. Nothing has happened six months later, so I have decided to issue this concert using the one available original tape as the source for the first section and the copy tape for the rest. Something else that did turn up was a badly balanced recording of another gig from that period, which yielded two usable sections.
The bulk of this CD is arguably the most typical extended concert performance of the original trio to have survived. The occasion was just a local gig in the Cohesion series at Goldsmiths College in south-east London in front of a small audience. The trio playing on home territory, as it were, and sounding very relaxed.
Paul Rutherford formed the first edition of Iskra 1903 in 1970 with Derek Bailey and Barry Guy. All three musicians had worked together in larger groups, starting off with the 1966/7 edition of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble that can be heard on WITHDRAWAL (Emanem 4020). However, they had a strong desire to work without percussion. It's not that they were anti-percussion - each of them subsequently worked in various settings with numerous percussionists - it's just that they felt a need for this sort of instrumentation as well.
Rutherford named the group after 'Iskra' (the Russian word for spark) which was the paper that Lenin edited before the Russian Revolution. The '19' indicates 20th century music, and the '03' is the number of performers.
This first version of Iskra 1903 lasted about four years, during which time they were rightly considered to be one of the very finest groups around. Other examples of their 1970-2 work can be heard on the 3-CD set CHAPTER ONE (Emanem 4301). Also, somewhat untypical music designed for a film can be heard on BUZZ SOUNDTRACK (Emanem 4066). Iskra 1903 was, perhaps, the last long-term fixed-personnel group that Bailey worked in.
When Rutherford reformed the trio in about 1977, it was with Philipp Wachsmann and Barry Guy - a trio that performed sporadically for about 15 years (hear CHAPTER TWO on Emanem 4303, FRANKFURT 1991 on Emanem 4051 and their eponymous 1992 CD on Maya 9502). Like the original trio, it was a group that always seemed to produce great music."-Martin Davidson, from the liner notes
At The Squid's Ear!
• Show Bio for Paul Rutherford
"Paul William Rutherford (29 February 1940 - 5 August 2007) was an English free improvising trombonist. Born in Greenwich, South East London, Rutherford initially played saxophone but switched to trombone. During the 1960s, he taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In 1970, Rutherford, guitarist Derek Bailey and bassist Barry Guy formed the improvising group Iskra 1903, which lasted until 1973. The formation was documented on a double album from Incus, later reissued with much bonus material on the 3-CD set Chapter One (Emanem, 2000). A film soundtrack was separately released as Buzz Soundtrack. Iskra 1903 was one of the earliest free improvising groups to omit a drummer/percussionist, permitting the players to explore a range of textures and dynamics which set it apart from such other contemporary improvising ensembles as SME and AMM. The group's unusual name is the Russian word for "spark"; it was the title of the Iskra revolutionary newspaper edited by Lenin. The "1903" designation means "20th century music for trio"; occasionally Evan Parker played with the group (Iskra 1904) and Rutherford also at one point assembled a 12-piece ensemble called, inevitably, Iskra 1912. The group was later revived with Philipp Wachsmann replacing Bailey, a phase of the group's life that lasted from roughly 1977 to 1995; its earlier work is documented on Chapter Two (Emanem, 2006) and its final recordings were issued on Maya (Iskra 1903) and Emanem (Frankfurt 1991).
Rutherford also played with Globe Unity Orchestra, London Jazz Composer's Orchestra, Centipede, the Mike Westbrook Orchestra, and the Orckestra, a merger of avant-rock group Henry Cow, the Mike Westbrook Brass Band and folk singer Frankie Armstrong. He also played a very small number of gigs with Soft Machine. He is perhaps most famous for solo trombone improvisations. His album The Gentle Harm of the Bourgeoisie is a landmark recording in solo trombone and his 1983 Trio album Gheim, recorded at the Bracknell Jazz Festival is another acclaimed work.
Rutherford died of cirrhosis of the liver and a ruptured aorta on 5 August 2007, aged 67."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Rutherford_(trombonist))
^ Hide Bio for Paul Rutherford
• Show Bio for Derek Bailey
"Derek Bailey (29 January 1930 - 25 December 2005) was an English avant-garde guitarist and leading figure in the free improvisation movement.
Bailey was born in Sheffield, England. A third-generation musician, he began playing the guitar at the age of ten, initially studying music with his teacher and Sheffield City organist C. H. C. Biltcliffe, an experience that he did not enjoy, and guitar with his uncle George Wing and John Duarte. As an adult he worked as a guitarist and session musician in clubs, radio, dance hall bands, and so on, playing with many performers including Morecambe and Wise, Gracie Fields, Bob Monkhouse and Kathy Kirby, and on television programs such as Opportunity Knocks. Bailey's earliest foray into 'what could be called free improvised music' was in 1953 with two other guitarists in their shared flat in Glasgow. He was also part of a Sheffield-based trio founded in 1963 with Tony Oxley and Gavin Bryars called "Joseph Holbrooke" (named after the composer, whose work they never actually played). Although originally performing relatively "conventional" modal, harmonic jazz this group became increasingly free in direction.
Bailey moved to London in 1966, frequenting the Little Theatre Club run by drummer John Stevens. Here he met many other like-minded musicians, such as saxophonist Evan Parker, trumpet player Kenny Wheeler and double bass player Dave Holland. These players often collaborated under the umbrella name of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, recording the seminal album Karyobin for Island Records in 1968. In this year Bailey also formed the Music Improvisation Company with Parker, percussionist Jamie Muir and Hugh Davies on homemade electronics, a project that continued until 1971. He was also a member of the Jazz Composer's Orchestra and Iskra 1903, a trio with double-bass player Barry Guy and tromboneist Paul Rutherford that was named after a newspaper published by the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.
In 1970, Bailey founded the record label Incus with Tony Oxley, Evan Parker and Michael Walters. It proved influential as the first musician-owned independent label in the UK. Oxley and Walters left early on; Parker and Bailey continued as co-directors until the mid-1980s, when friction between the men led to Parker's departure. Bailey continued the label with his partner Karen Brookman until his death in 2005.
Along with a number of other musicians, Bailey was a co-founder of Musics magazine in 1975. This was described as "an impromental experivisation arts magazine" and circulated through a network of like-minded record shops, arguably becoming one of the most significant jazz publications of the second half of the 1970s, and instrumental in the foundation of the London Musicians Collective.
1976 saw Bailey instigate Company, an ever-changing collection of like-minded improvisors, which at various times has included Anthony Braxton, Tristan Honsinger, Misha Mengelberg, Lol Coxhill, Fred Frith, Steve Beresford, Steve Lacy, Johnny Dyani, Leo Smith, Han Bennink, Eugene Chadbourne, Henry Kaiser, John Zorn, Buckethead and many others. Company Week, an annual week-long free improvisational festival organised by Bailey, ran until 1994.
In 1980, he wrote the book Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice. This was adapted by UK's Channel 4 into a four-part TV series in the early '90s, edited and narrated by Bailey.
Bailey died in London on Christmas Day, 2005. He had been suffering from motor neurone disease."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Bailey_(guitarist))
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• Show Bio for Barry Guy
"Barry John Guy (born 22 April 1947, in London) is a British composer and double bass player. His range of interests encompasses early music, contemporary composition, jazz and improvisation, and he has worked with a wide variety of orchestras in the UK and Europe. He also taught at Guildhall School of Music.
Born in London, Guy came to the fore as an improvising bassist as a member of a trio with pianist Howard Riley and drummer Tony Oxley (Witherden, 1969). He also became an occasional member of John Stevens' ensembles in the 1960s and 1970s, including the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. In the early 1970s, he was a member of the influential free improvisation group Iskra 1903 with Derek Bailey and trombonist Paul Rutherford (a project revived in the late 1970s, with violinist Philipp Wachsmann replacing Bailey). He also formed a long-standing partnership with saxophonist Evan Parker, which led to a trio with drummer Paul Lytton which became one of the best-known and most widely travelled free-improvising groups of the 1980s and 1990s. He was briefly a member of the Michael Nyman Band in the 1980s, performing on the soundtrack of The Draughtsman's Contract.
Guy's interests in improvisation and formal composition received their grandest form in the London Jazz Composers Orchestra. Originally formed to perform Guy's composition Ode in 1972 (released as a 2-LP set on Incus and later, in expanded form, as a 2-CD set on Intakt), it became one of the great large-scale European improvising ensembles. Early documentation is spotty - the only other recording from its early years is Stringer (FMP, now available on Intakt paired with the later "Study II") - but beginning in the late 1980s the Swiss label Intakt set out to document the band more thoroughly. The result was a series of ambitious, album-length compositions designed to give all the players in the band maximum opportunity for expression while still preserving a rigorous sense of form: Zurich Concerts, Harmos, Double Trouble (originally written for an encounter with Alexander von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra, though the eventual CD was just for the LJCO), Theoria (a concerto for guest pianist Irène Schweizer), Three Pieces, and Double Trouble Two. The group's activities subsided in the mid-1990s, but it was never formally disbanded, and reconvened in 2008 for a one-off concert in Switzerland. In the mid-1990s Guy also created a second, smaller ensemble, the Barry Guy New Orchestra.
Guy has also written for other large improvising ensembles, such as the NOW Orchestra and ROVA (the piece Witch Gong Game inspired by images by the visual artist Alan Davie).
His current improvising activities include piano trios with Marilyn Crispell and Agusti Fernandez. He has also recorded several albums for ECM, which often focus on the interface between improvisers and electronics, including his work in Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble and his own Ceremony.
Guy's session work in the pop field includes playing double bass on the song "Nightporter", from the Japan album Gentlemen Take Polaroids.
He is married to the early music violinist Maya Homburger. After spending some years in Ireland, they now live in Switzerland. They run the small label Maya, which releases a variety of records in the genres of free improvisation, baroque music and contemporary composition.
Guy's jazz work is characterised by free improvisation, using a range of unusual playing methods: bowed and pizzicato sounds beneath the bass's bridge; plucking the strings above the left hand; beating the strings with percussion instrument mallets; and "preparing" the instrument with sticks and other implements inserted between the strings and fingerboard. His improvisations are often percussive and unpredictable, inhabiting no discernible harmonic territory and pushing into unknown regions. However, they can also be melodious and tender with due regard for harmonic integration with other players, and at times he will even play with a straight jazz swing feel.
Similarly, in his concert works, Guy manages to alternate harmonic and rhythmic complexity worthy of 1960s experimentalists such as Penderecki and Stockhausen with joyous, often ecstatic, melody. Works such as "Flagwalk" for string orchestra and "Fallingwater - Concerto for Orchestra" display Guy's compositional skill in handling extended forms and writing for large instrumental groups.
Some of his compositions, such as "Witch Gong Game" for ensemble, use graphic notation in conjunction with cue cards to lead performers into playing and improvising material from numbered sections of the score.
He is also an architect."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Guy)
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