Double CD reissue of Bobby Bradford with John Steven's SME including Trevor Watts and Julie Tippetts in 4 extended pieces of swinging and challenging improvisation.
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Catalog ID: NES 17/18
Squidco Product Code: 11852
Format: 2 CDs
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded at Polydor Studios, London on July 9, 1971 by Carlos Olms.
Trevor Watts-alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Julie Tippetts-voice, guitar
John Stevens-drums, percussion, voice
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1. His Majesty Louis 11:16
2. Bridget's Mother 7:01
3. Room 408 7:35
4. Tolerance/To Bob 18:15
1. Trane Ride/Ornette-ment/Doo Dee 13:33
2. Norway 7:42
3. Rhythm Piece 19:01
4. Fragment 1:55
Related Categories of Interest:
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Unusual Vocal Forms
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
sample the album:
"In the first of two [CDs], trumpeter Bobby Bradford fits right into drummer John Stevens's Spontaneous Music Ensemble, a quintet with leader-drummer Trevor Watts on alto and soprano, trombonist Bob Norden, bassist Ron Herman and (on two of the four selections) the haunting voice of Julie Tippetts. Tippetts's wordless vocals give an otherworldly quality to her appearances, while the two instrumentals (including a tribute to Louis Armstrong titled "His Majesty Louis") look more toward the free bop of Ornette Coleman. Stimulating and adventurous music."-Scott Yanow, All Music
At The Squid's Ear!
• Show Bio for Trevor Watts
"Trevor Charles Watts (born 26 February 1939 in York) is an English jazz and free-improvising alto and soprano saxophonist. He is largely self-taught, having taken up the cornet at age 12 then switched to saxophone at 18. While stationed in Germany with the RAF (1958-63), he encountered the drummer John Stevens and trombonist Paul Rutherford. After being demobbed he returned to London. In 1965 he and Stevens formed the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, which became one of the crucibles of British free improvisation. Watts left the band to form his own group Amalgam in 1967, then returned to SME for another stretch that lasted until the mid-1970s. Another key association was with the bassist Barry Guy and his London Jazz Composers' Orchestra, an association that lasted from the band's inception in the 1970s up to its (permanent?) disbandment in the mid-1990s.
Though he was initially strongly identified with the avant-garde, Watts is a versatile musician who has worked in everything from straight jazz contexts to rock and blues. His own projects have come increasingly to focus on blending jazz and African music, notably the Moiré Music ensemble which he has led since 1982 in configurations ranging from large ensembles featuring multiple drummers to more intimate trios. He has only occasionally recorded in freer modes in recent years, notably the CD 6 Dialogues, a duet album with Veryan Weston (the pianist in earlier editions of Moiré Music). A solo album, World Sonic, appeared on Hi4Head Records in 2005.
Watts has toured the world over numerous times, run workshops, received grants and commissions, and he has collaborated with some of the great jazz musicians including Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Don Cherry and Jayne Cortez. As of 2011, he continues to travel and toured North American with Veryan Weston."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Watts)
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• Show Bio for Julie Tippetts
"Julie Tippetts (born Julie Driscoll, 8 June 1947) is an English singer and actress, known for her 1960s versions of Bob Dylan and Rick Danko's "This Wheel's on Fire", and Donovan's "Season of the Witch", both with Brian Auger and The Trinity. Along with The Trinity, she was featured prominently in the 1969 television special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, singing "I'm a Believer" in a soul style with Micky Dolenz. She and Auger had previously worked in Steampacket, with Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart.
"This Wheel's on Fire" reached number five in the United Kingdom in June 1968. With distortion, the imagery of the title and the group's dress and performance, this version came to represent the psychedelic era in British rock music. Driscoll recorded the song again in the early 1990s with Adrian Edmondson as the theme to the BBC comedy series Absolutely Fabulous, the main characters of which are throwbacks to that era.
Since the 1970s, Driscoll has concentrated on experimental vocal music. She married jazz musician Keith Tippett and collaborated with him and now uses the name Julie Tippetts, adopting the original spelling of her husband's surname. She took in Keith Tippett's big band Centipede and in 1974 sang in Robert Wyatt's Theatre Royal Drury Lane concert. She released a solo album, Sunset Glow in 1975; and was lead vocalist on Carla Bley's album Tropic Appetites and also in John Wolf Brennan's "HeXtet".
Later in the 1970s, she toured with her own band and recorded and performed as one of the vocal quartet Voice, with Maggie Nichols, Phil Minton, and Brian Eley.
In the early 1980s, Julie Tippetts was a guest vocalist on an early single by pop-jazz band Working Week, on the song "Storm of Light", which brought them to the attention of a wider audience."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Driscoll)
^ Hide Bio for Julie Tippetts
• Show Bio for John Stevens
"John William Stevens (10 June 1940 in Brentford, Middlesex - 13 September 1994 in Ealing, west London) was an English drummer. He was one of the most significant figures in early free improvisation, and a founding member of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (SME).
Stevens was born in Brentford, the son of a tap dancer. He used to listen to jazz as a child, but was initially more interested in drawing and painting (media through which he also expressed himself throughout his life). He studied at the Ealing Art College and then started work in a design studio, but left at 19 to join the Royal Air Force. He studied the drums at the Royal Air Force School of Music in Uxbridge, and while there met Trevor Watts and Paul Rutherford, two musicians who became close collaborators.
In the mid-1960s Stevens began to play in London jazz groups alongside musicians like Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott, and in 1965 he fronted a septet. Influenced by the free jazz he was hearing coming out of the United States by players like Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, his style began to move away from fairly traditional be-bop to something more experimental.
In 1966 SME was formed with Watts and Rutherford and the group moved into the Little Theatre Club at Garrick Yard, St. Martin's Lane, London to develop their new music. In 1967 their first album, Challenge, was released. Stevens then became interested in the music of Anton Webern, and the SME began to play generally very quiet music. Stevens also became interested in non-Western musics.
The SME went on to make a large number of records with an ever changing line-up and an ever changing number of members, but Stevens was always there, at the centre of the group's activity. He also played in a number of other groups, drumming in Watts' group Amalgam and later forming bands like Freebop and Fast Colour, for example, but the SME remained at the centre of his activities.
In the latter part of 1967 Evan Parker joined the SME and worked closely with Stevens in the group, eventually becoming one of the longest standing members. He later summed up Stevens' approach to improvising in two basic maxims: if you can't hear another musician, then you're too loud; and there is no point in group improvisation if what you are playing doesn't relate to what other members of the group are playing.
Stevens also devised a number of basic starting points for improvisation. These were not "compositions" as such, but rather a means of getting improvisational activity started, which could then go off in any direction. One of these was the so-called "Click Piece" which essentially asked for each player to repeatedly play a note as short as possible.
Stevens played alongside a large number of prominent free improvisors in the SME, including Derek Bailey, Peter Kowald, Julie Tippetts and Robert Calvert, but from the mid-1970s, the make-up of the SME began to settle down to a regular group of Stevens, Nigel Coombes playing violin, and Roger Smith playing guitar. During the mid-1970s Stevens played regularly with guitarist and songwriter John Martyn as part of a trio that included bassist Danny Thompson. This line up can be heard on Martyn's 1976 recording Live at Leeds.
From 1983 Stevens was involved with Community Music (CM), an organisation through which he took his form of music making to youth clubs, mental health institutions and other unusual places. Notes taken during these sessions were later turned into a book for the Open University called Search and Reflect (1985). In the late 70s and early 80s John was a regular performer at the Bracknell Jazz Festival.
Aside from SME, Stevens also ran or helped to organise groups that were more jazz or jazz-rock based, such as Splinters, the John Stevens Dance Orchestra, Away, Freebop, Folkus, Fast Colour, PRS, and the John Stevens Quintet and Quartet. He also contributed significantly to Trevor Watts' group Amalgam and Frode Gjerstad's Detail, as well as collaborating with Bobby Bradford on several occasions.
The SME continued to play, the last time being in 1994 with a group including John Butcher. Stevens died later that year."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stevens_(drummer))
^ Hide Bio for John Stevens
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