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The duo of Lol Coxhill on soprano saxophone and Roger Turner on drums & percussion, performing at Brest & London in 2003 and 2010; unusual conversation from two long-standing improvising colleagues.

Coxhill, Lol & Roger Turner
Success With Your Dog

Coxhill, Lol & Roger Turner: Success With Your Dog (Emanem)
Label: Emanem    
Released in: Great Britain    

"Excerpts from sleeve notes:

Elsie Artie (Lol and Roger) probably first met at the Bath Last Resort festival in England in the very early 1970's. They've played in a lot of different combinations since - in marching bands in Welwyn Garden City, in a short-lived incarnation of the Johnny Rondo Trio, in Lol's new orleans-flavoured "Before my Time" band, in lots of ad hoc combinations, and since 1982 most often in the Recedents with Mike Cooper around Britain, Europe and Canada.

The recordings here are from a tour they had as a duo in France, during which they played in the wonderful Espace Vauban theatre in Brest - an old building that has the hotel on the upper floors where the musicians stay, a restaurant on the ground floor where they can eat, and the theatre below where they work. A nice little spot indeed.

The Shoreditch recording reflects something of the church acoustics, and was the first of two sets played there. The building dates from 1740, and its bells are mentioned in the famous nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons", a startling fact that not a lot of people might know, as it happens."-Emanem

Excerpts from reviews:

"You can hear them tumbling deeper into the wonderland, generating sounds and structures so touchy-feely sculptural you could walk inside them if they weren't on a CD. The frustration is, of course, that Coxhill isn't driven to make more records. Whenever he plays, a whole narrative about the history of the soprano saxophone, from Sidney Bechet and Johnny Hodges to Steve Lacy, via Bruce Turner, sparks into life. But calculating those historical joins clearly isn't the point - during the 58 minutes it takes to play this disc Coxhill remains as poker-faced as a Sphinx.

Even when, four minutes into the second track, Turner lays down a crazy-fast swing groove, Coxhill leaves any concrete statements to some imaginary, non-specific future. Instead, he mines all the gaps, filleting the rhythmic flow and kaleidoscoping the groove into atomised inner grooves. And his melodic concept throws up another carefully considered, conceptual meta-syncopation. The journey between notes is more intriguing than the notes themselves: all those many-headed glissandi, those subtone soliloquies, those chordal rasps reconfiguring done-to-death melodic contours and dramatic arcs.

Turner yanks open space in the first few minutes. Then he slows the regularity of his push, and his cymbal attacks become more resonant and countable. His sensitivity to Coxhill's requirements regularly boils over into outbursts of off-the-leash cartoon violence and, after 13 minutes, his high-velocity tapdancing cowbells move faster than we can listen, impressive like Fred Astaire dancing up the walls. And how to resonate in sympathy with Coxhill's twisting melodic rubble on a drum kit? Turner invokes Duke Ellington's great 1960s drummer Sam Woodyard as skins are needed - and kneaded - to sing like a great soprano."-Philip Clark, The Wire 2010

"George Lowen Coxhill (19 September 1932 - 10 July 2012), generally known as Lol Coxhill, was an English free improvising saxophonist and raconteur. He played the soprano or sopranino saxophone. Coxhill was born to George Compton Coxhill and Mabel Margaret Coxhill (née Motton) at Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK. He grew up in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and bought his first saxophone in 1947. After national service he became a busy semi-professional musician, touring US airbases with Denzil Bailey's Afro-Cubists and the Graham Fleming Combo. In the 1960s he played with visiting American blues, soul and jazz musicians including Rufus Thomas, Mose Allison, Otis Spann, and Champion Jack Dupree. He also developed his practice of playing unaccompanied solo saxophone, often busking in informal performance situations. Other than his solo playing, he performed mostly as a sideman or as an equal collaborator, rather than a conventional leader - there was no regular Lol Coxhill Trio or Quartet as would normally be expected of a saxophonist. Instead he had many intermittent but long-lasting collaborations with like-minded musicians.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was a member of Canterbury scene bands Carol Grimes and Delivery and then Kevin Ayers and the Whole World. He became known for his solo playing and for work in duets with pianist Steve Miller and guitarist G. F. Fitzgerald. He was thought to have largely inspired Joni Mitchell's song "For Free", while busking solo on the old footbridge which formed part of the Hungerford Bridge between Waterloo and Charing Cross. Coxhill collaborated with other musicians including Mike Oldfield, Morgan Fisher (of Mott the Hoople), Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath and its musical descendant The Dedication Orchestra, Django Bates, the Damned, Hugh Metcalfe, Derek Bailey and performance art group Welfare State.

He often worked in small collaborative groups with semi-humorous names such as the Johnny Rondo Duo or Trio (with pianist Dave Holland - not the bassist of the same name), the Melody Four (characteristically a trio, with Tony Coe and Steve Beresford), and The Recedents (with guitarist Mike Cooper and percussionist Roger Turner), known as such because the members were (in Coxhill's words) "all bald", though the name may additionally be a play on the American band the Residents. Typically these bands performed a mix of free improvisation interspersed with ballroom dance tunes and popular songs. There was humour throughout his music but he sometimes felt it necessary to tell audiences that the free playing was not intended as a joke. Coxhill was compere and occasional performer at the Bracknell Jazz Festival, and a raconteur as well as a musician; he often would introduce his music by saying the words, "what I am about to play you may not understand". It was following a performance at Bracknell that he recorded the melodramatic monologue Murder in the Air."

-Wikipedia (

See all items in the EMANEM & psi category

Related Categories of Interest:

EMANEM & psi

Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Duo Recordings

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Product Information:

UPC: 5030243501021

Label: Emanem
Catalog ID: 5010
Squidco Product Code: 13823

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
Tracks 1-3 were organized during the 5th edition of the Festival Luisances Sonores, recorded by Benjamin Maumus and Cedric Megaulk. Track 4 was recorded in concert on August 12th, 2010 by Martin Davidson.


Lol Coxhill-soprano saxophone

Roger Turner-drum set and percussion

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Track Listing:

1. Paying Through The Nose 25:02

2. A Collar Counts 7:05

3. Tails That Wag 8:33

4. Groomed For The Job 17:30