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Hinting at what was to come, this reissues the first SME LP from 1966 with one additional '67 track, more free jazz than free improv from the quintet of John Stevens (drums), Kenny Wheller (flugelhorn), Paul Rutherford (trombone), Trevor Watts (sax) and Bruce Cale (bass).

Spontaneous Music Ensemble
Challenge (1966-7)

Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Challenge (1966-7) (Emanem)
Label: Emanem    
Released in: Great Britain    

"Pure pleasure is the way one might react to this glorious recording, which lays the foundation for Spontaneous Music Ensemble's more radical works to come. In part a product of its time, these tracks are much more in the vein of free jazz than the abstract free improvisational style that came to characterize the group. On Challenge, the lineage can easily be traced directly to the innovations of George Russell and Ornette Coleman, as the horns focus on short, catchy riffs that segue to tight, focused solos. Kenny Wheeler's playing is a big surprise, with thrilling, crisp spurts that point in a different direction than the some of the more staid roads he later pursued. Paul Rutherford articulates cleanly, seemingly indebted to a somewhat conservative post-bop aesthetic which he generally abandoned in later years, at least with SME. Trevor Watts' footprints are all over, as he not only appears on each of the ten tracks, but he also is credited with three tunes and he solos vigorously and highly effectively throughout. The final "Distant Little Soul" was recorded more than a year after the others, and it features a quartet with a young Evan Parker and Watts on saxes. Parker is surprisingly (at least in retrospect) tentative, playing second fiddle to his more confident colleague, who performs impressively on both piccolo and alto sax. These seminal recordings stand the test of time; they are of considerable historical value, to be sure, but just as importantly, they sound fresh and exhilarating decades later."-Steve Loewy, All Music

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EMANEM & psi

Improvised Music
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Free Improvisation
Parker, Evan
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Jazz Reissues
Octet Recordings

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Price: $13.20
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 3.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 5030243502929

Label: Emanem
Catalog ID: 5029
Squidco Product Code: 17834

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2013
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock gatefold foldover
Recorded in London by Eddie Kramer on March 1st-9th, 1966 and April 22nd, 1967. Tracks 1-9 originally released on LP on the Eyemark label in 1966 as EMPL 1002. Emanem reissued that LP with additional track on CD as Emanem 4053 in 2001.


Kenny Wheeler-flugelhorn

Paul Rutherford-trombone

Trevor Watts-alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, piccolo

Bruce Cale-double bass

Jeff Clyne-double bass

John Stevens-drum set

Evan Parker-soprano saxophone

Chris Cambridge-double bass

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Track Listing:

1. E.D.'s Message 4:12

2. 2.B. Ornette 2:12

3. Club 66 8:41

4. Day Of Reckoning 8:38

5. End To A Beginning 2:46

6. Travelling Together 9:14

7. Little Red Head 3:56

8. After Listening 8:15

9. End To A Beginning 4:24

10. Distant Little Soul 15:14