An improvised concert at Les Instantes Chavires near Paris in 2011, the last outing of the duo of saxophonist Lol Coxhill and trumpter Michel Doneda, two fine improvisers at the top of their respective abilities.
Coxhill, Lol & Michel Doneda
Sitting On Your Stairs
Released in: Great Britain
"[...] Coxhill and Doneda had met at various Chantenay-Villedieu festivals (then the private kingdom of the nato company). They played a duet in London in 2008 and met again in 2011 in London, in Toulouse and on February 3, on the stage of Les Instants Chavirés in Montreuil (a suburb of Paris). Coxhill also performed there the day before with John Edwards and Steve Noble.
Lol's great singularity is that he crossed genres while maintaining his unique sound. He was an outstanding and uncompromising improviser who was not against looking for tricky situations, skimming abysses and margins, venturing beyond habits and comfort. His debut album EAR OF BEHOLDER (Dandelion), published in 1971, would more or less constitute the modus operandi of his musical career: playing solos (recorded at home, on a bridge, at Piccadilly, at the zoo, etc.), reinterpretations of Lover Man and I am the Walrus, collective improvisations, sweet duets, etc. As for the self-taught Michel Doneda, who plays only the soprano saxophone - he has been involved totally and completely in free improvisation. 'I'm basically an improviser' he says. I'm basically involved with sound. More than playing a style of music, I improvise'.
The music here is presented complete in the order of performance. Right away we feel that the two musicians wanted to give themselves space enough to let their conversation flourish in a musical area which is often soft and uncluttered - to successfully find a cohesive light without ever abandoning their own prerogatives and sensibilities. By no means is it about one playing against the other - they are light years away from historic free jazz invented in the sixties. Lol's solo leads onto a melodic and rhythmic ostinato inciting Michel to enter through a criss-cross of bright, fresh lines. clear as crystal. In the maze of tones and colours that illuminate the music of this CD, we easily recognise the Briton through his sinuous phrasing, his micro-tonal inflections, his bitter-sweet lyricism and his particular manner of releasing small, elastic melodic structures within his tonal distortions. Down to the smallest detail, Lol Coxhill's inventiveness and expressiveness are here at their peak. Doneda has a more organic approach to the instrument - he's not phrasing but scratching inside his pipe, bringing out a jungle of micro-sounds, puffs and murmurs, growls and other unconventional effects. Although often graceful and delicate, their conversation can also be as keen and sharp as steel. Two musicians at the top of their art. [...]"-Gérard Rouy, from the liner notes
• Show Bio for Lol Coxhill
"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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lol_Coxhill)
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Catalog ID: 5028
Squidco Product Code: 17743
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock gatefold foldover
Recorded by Benjamin Pagier at Les Instants Chavires, Montreal on February 3rd, 2011.
Lol Coxhill-soprano saxophone
Michel Doneda-soprano saxophone
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1. Last Duet 1 18:55
2. MD Solo 5:10
3. LC solo 3:36
4. Last Duet 2 2:17
5. Last Duet 3 16:24
6. Last Duet 4 10:33