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Greaves, John / Peter Blegvad / Lisa Herman : Kew Rhone (Recommended Records)

Taking Rock In Opposition into difficult territory, Peter Blegvad and John Greave's song cycle is a perplexing and rewarding album blending literature with rock and jazz forms, performed in an ensemble including Carla Bley and Michael Mantler; an intricate masterwork.

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product information:

Includes a 20 page booklet of lyrics and illustrations

UPC: 752725034623

Label: Recommended Records
Catalog ID: ReR QR1
Squidco Product Code: 20802

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Grog Kill Studio, in Woodstock, New York, in October 1976 by Mike Mantler.


John Greaves-piano, organ, bass, vocals

Peter Blegvad-guitar, vocals

Lisa Herman-vocals

Carla Bley-vocals

Vito Rendace-alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute

Andrew Cyrille-drums, percussion

Mike Mantler-trumpet, trombone

Michael Levine-violin, viola

Highlight an artist name or instrument above
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track listing:

1. Good Evening 0:34

2. Twenty Two Proverbs 4:08

3. Seven Scenes From The Painting "Exhuming The First American Mastodon" By C.W. Peale 3:34

4. Kew. Rhone. 3:05

5. Pipeline 3:42

6. Catalogue Of Fifteen Objects And Their Titles 3:36

7. One Footnote (To Kew. Rhone.) 1:29

8. Three Tenses Onanism 4:07

9. Nine Mineral Emblems 5:52

10. Apricot 3:05

11. Gegenstand 3:49
Related Categories of Interest:

Rock and Related
Progressive Rock
RIO (Rock in Opposition)
Song Based Music
Blegvad, Peter
Recommended Records
New in Rock Forms
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Instant Rewards

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The songs are accessible, but difficult, the music - recorded at Carla Bley and Mike Mantler's studio back in the JCOA days - is eccentric, extremely complex, but still catchy. Bley, Mantler and the legendary Andrew Cyrille all appear on it in arrangements that are pretty off the wall. It's rock, it's jazz, it's a song cycle, it's a one-off hybrid with some traces of Henry Cow and Escalator Over the Hill, it's deep or indulgent, or both - but whichever line of approach you adopt, it's Art.

After the Henry Cow/Slaphappy merger, Peter Blegvad left that band, and John Greaves followed him a year or so later. The two of them then concocted this highly ambitious project - a marriage of high literary ambition full of Ouliposeque anagrams, palindromes, missing letters and wordgames, and meticulous musical complexity rooted in show music, jazz and the fringes of experimental rock. The album design, text and musical content together embody a continuous, integrated, work: so the texts refer to the artwork (both are by Peter Blegvad) and vice versa; neither quite makes sense without the other."

"The classic restored. No extra tracks, just this legendary release as it was originally conceived. Kew Rhone was made soon after Peter and John left Henry Cow, at Carla Bley and Mike Mantler's Grog Kill studio in New York (they both appear on the CD). Fellow conspirators included singer Lisa Herman and drummer Andrew Cyrille. It's one of those records which sums up a moment; a creative moment in which ideas have come into clear focus, and just need to be got down; an historical moment at which an innovative, collaborative run of cultural luck is about to run out. It couldn't have been made earlier or later, we're just lucky it got made at all."-Recommended Records

Includes a 20 page booklet of lyrics and illustrations

Artist Biographies:

"John Greaves (born 23 February 1950) is a British bass guitarist and composer, best known as a member of Henry Cow and his collaborative albums with Peter Blegvad. He was also a member of National Health and Soft Heap, and has recorded several solo albums, including Accident (1982), Parrot Fashions (1984), The Caretaker (2001) and Greaves Verlaine (2008).

John Greaves was born in Prestatyn, North Wales, but grew up in Wrexham in north-east Wales. At the age of 12, he was given a bass guitar by his father, a Welsh dancehall bandleader, and within six months, he was playing in his father's orchestra. He continued playing in the orchestra for four years, during which time its varied musical styles gave Greaves valuable musician and arranger skills. He was educated at Grove Park Grammar School in Wrexham from 1961 to 1968.

In 1968, Greaves entered Pembroke College, Cambridge to study English, and at Cambridge he met members of the burgeoning English avant-rock group Henry Cow in 1969. The band had been established the previous year by fellow Cambridge students Fred Frith and Tim Hodgkinson and had undergone numerous personnel changes up to that point. They were looking for a bassist and after several months of persuading, Greaves joined the band in October 1969. After juggling his time with the band and his studies, Greaves completed his Master of Arts degree in 1971. By the end of 1971, Henry Cow settled into a permanent core of Frith, Hodgkinson, Greaves and Chris Cutler. Greaves remained with the band until March 1976, toured Europe extensively with them (with his wife Sarah doing the sound-mix at many of their concerts), and appeared on five of their albums (including two with Slapp Happy). Greaves also contributed several compositions to the band's repertoire, including "Half Asleep; Half Awake", recorded on their second album, Unrest (1974).

Greaves left Henry Cow to work on a project, Kew. Rhone. with Slapp Happy's Peter Blegvad in New York City. Greaves had met and worked with Blegvad during the brief merger of Henry Cow and Slapp Happy between November 1974 and April 1975, their first collaboration, "Bad Alchemy", appearing on the two bands' joint album Desperate Straights. Kew. Rhone. was a song cycle with all the music composed by Greaves and the lyrics written by Blegvad. In addition to bass guitar, Greaves also played keyboards and sang. The album was released in 1977 and credited to Greaves, Blegvad and Lisa Herman, the lead vocalist. It was well received by critics: AllMusic described it as "An unfortunately neglected masterpiece of '70s progressive rock ..."; and Robert Wyatt reportedly liked it so much he bought two copies "just in case the first got worn out!"

After Kew. Rhone. Greaves returned to England to work in theatre as a composer, arranger and actor. In early 1978 he joined National Health and remained with them until the band split up in 1980. He toured with the band, appearing on the album Of Queues and Cures, for which he wrote the instrumental tour-de-force "Squarer for Maud", the later reunion effort DS Al Coda (1982) and the archive release Play Time. During this time (1979-88) he also performed with a free-improvising group, Soft Heap with Elton Dean from Soft Machine, Pip Pyle from National Health, and maverick guitarist Mark Hewins.

In the early 1980s Greaves began a series of solo projects and collaborations. Having secured a deal with independent French-American label Europa Records, he recorded his first solo album, Accident in Paris in 1981-82. He moved to France permanently in 1984, and formed a touring band with François Ovide (guitar and trombone), Denis van Hecke from Aksak Maboul (cello), Mireille Bauer (formerly of Gong) (stand-up drums and percussion) and Blegvad's brother, Kristoffer Blegvad (backing vocals). This line-up also featured on Greaves's second solo album, Parrot Fashions (1984). During this time he also recorded and/or toured with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and the Michael Nyman Band. He reunited with Peter Blegvad again on The Lodge project (alongside Kristoffer Blegvad, Jakko Jakszyk and Anton Fier) which produced an album, Smell of a Friend in 1987 (but only ever made a couple of attempts at performing live).

For his next album, 1991's La Petite Bouteille de Linge (Little Bottle of Laundry), Greaves retained the services of Ovide on guitar, adding his old mate Pip Pyle on drums and the latter's then-partner, Sophia Domancich on piano. Over the next few years his music took on a more acoustic flavour and Greaves eventually settled on a drum-less line-up comprising Domancich, Ovide (now on acoustic guitar exclusively) and double bass player Paul Rogers. This resulted in the 1995 album Songs, which consisted largely of acoustic arrangements of songs from his previous efforts, going back to Kew.Rhone. Greaves himself only handled lead vocals on one track, "The Green Fuse" (based on a Dylan Thomas poem), leaving the spotlight to Robert Wyatt, opera singer Susan Belling, Kristoffer Blegvad and French variety singer Caroline Loeb. During the 1990s, Greaves also embarked on one-off collaborations with David Cunningham from The Flying Lizards, on 1991's greaves, cunningham album, and Peter Blegvad on 1995's Unearthed. He also played bass in Blegvad's own trio alongside Chris Cutler on drums, which recorded two studio albums.

In the early 2000s Greaves chose to divide his time between two contrasting bands, an electric trio named Roxongs with François Ovide on guitar (later replaced by Patrice Meyer then Jef Morin) and Manu Denizet on drums, heard on 2001's The Caretaker, and an acoustic trio named Jazzsongs, with Sophia Domancich on piano and Vincent Courtois on cello, heard on 2003's The Trouble With Happiness, once again a mixture of old and new songs, but this time with Greaves himself singing all the way through.

Originally intended as a follow-up of sorts to the acclaimed Songs, 2004's Chansons saw Greaves team up with lyricist Christophe Glockner and vocalist Elise Caron for a collection of all-new songs with predominantly acoustic instrumentation, including guest spots by Robert Wyatt and Louis Sclavis.

During the same period, Greaves appeared as featured vocalist on a number of projects. He contributed lyrics and vocals to two songs on saxophonist Julien Lourau's acclaimed Fire & Forget (2005), to much of Sophia Domancich's Snakes & Ladders (2010) sharing the microphone with Himiko Paganotti and Robert Wyatt, and sang all the vocals on Alain Blésing's Songs From The Beginning project, revisiting 1970s progressive rock classics by King Crimson, Soft Machine, Henry Cow and Hatfield and the North among others, Catherine Delaunay's Sois Patient Car Le Loup (2011), the French clarinettist's settings of texts by Malcolm Lowry, and Post-Image's In An English Garden (2012), a special project celebrating the jazz-fusion group's 25th anniversary. Having had two of his songs used by the Daniel Yvinec-led edition of the Orchestre National de Jazz's tribute to Robert Wyatt, Greaves fulfilled a lifelong dream by fronting the ONJ at the legendary Theatre du Chatelet in Paris in January 2011, singing several Billie Holiday songs either solo or alongside Sandra Nkaké.

Since the mid-2000s, Greaves' main focus has been a series of projects centered on French poet Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), beginning with 2008's, Greaves Verlaine, his own settings of Verlaine poems with a decidedly un-retro aesthetic conceived in cooperation with French multimedia collective Les Recycleurs de Bruits. In addition to his Roxongs bandmates the album featured regular collaborators Jeanne Added (vocals) and Scott Taylor (accordion, trumpet), as well as appearances by Karen Mantler and Dominique Pifarély. Concerts promoting this release saw Greaves accompanied by line-ups ranging from just Taylor on accordion to a full electric septet. A second volume saw the light of day in 2011 but received very little media attention due to nonexistent promotion. Instead, Greaves embarked on yet another Verlaine project, this time composing to an original libretto by Emmanuel Tugny. "Verlaine, Les Airs" saw Greaves team up with a trio of French vocalists, Elise Caron, Jeanne Added and Thomas de Pourquery. The work was premiered in December 2012 at Le Triton following a residency at the venue, has since been performed at the Orléans Jazz Festival and at Les Sables-d'Olonnes, and a studio album was released in April 2015 on Bruno Letort's Signature label."

-Wikipedia (

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"Peter Blegvad (born August 14, 1951) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, writer, and cartoonist. He was a founding member of German/English avant-pop band Slapp Happy, which later merged briefly with Henry Cow, and has released many solo and collaborative albums. He is the son of Lenore and Erik Blegvad, who were respectively, a children's book author and illustrator.

Peter Blegvad's life began in America – he was born in New York City and originally raised in Connecticut. When he was 14, the Blegvad family moved to England in 1965, unhappy with the social climate of America following the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the threat posed by the Vietnam draft to Peter and his younger brother Kristoffer. Blegvad was educated at St Christopher School, Letchworth, a boarding school where he met his musical collaborator Anthony Moore. Moore and Blegvad played in various bands during their schooldays, alongside fellow musicians such as Neil Murray (then a drummer, later a well-known hard rock bass guitarist).

In 1972, Blegvad followed the itinerant Moore to Hamburg, Germany, where the two formed the avant-pop trio Slapp Happy with Dagmar Krause, Slapp Happy recorded two albums for Polydor Germany with krautrock group Faust as their backing band. Polydor released the first, Sort Of in 1972, but rejected the second, Casablanca Moon. This rejection prompted Slapp Happy to relocate to London where they signed up with Virgin Records and re-recorded Casablanca Moon, released in 1974 by Virgin as Slapp Happy. (The original Casablanca Moon was later released by Recommended Records as Acnalbasac Noom in 1980.) In 1974 Slapp Happy merged briefly with avant-rock group Henry Cow, recording two albums in 1975, Desperate Straights and In Praise of Learning.

Shortly after recording In Praise of Learning, first Moore and then Blegvad left Henry Cow due of incompatibilities with the other musicians in the group. Blegvad has confessed that the technical demands of Henry Cow's music were beyond him ("It was discovered – not to my surprise – that I actually couldn't play Henry Cow music. The chords and the time signatures were too complicated. And... just generally, Anthony and I felt kinda lost...") but it was also clear that there were crucial differences in artistic approach. Blegvad would later reveal (in an interview for the Hearsay fanzine) that "the piece that got me kicked out was "Living in the Heart of the Beast". I was assigned the task for the collective to come up with suitable verbals, and I wrote two verses about a woman throwing raisins at a pile of bones. Tim Hodgkinson just said, I'm sorry, this is not at all what we want. And he wrote reams of this political tirade. I admired his passion and application but it left me cold. I am to my bones a flippant individual, I don't know why I was created thus or what I'm trying to deny, but it clashed with the extreme seriousness. People who take themselves very seriously make me giggle, unless they're pointing a weapon at me or my loved ones". Due to Krause's decision to remain with Henry Cow, Slapp Happy dissolved and the three members went their separate ways (although the group would periodically reunite in 1982, 1991, 1997, 2000 and 2016–17).

Blegvad returned to New York to work as a cartoonist, but maintained his interest in music. In 1977 he reunited with Henry Cow bass player John Greaves to collaborate on the album Kew. Rhone. – an unusual cross-genre release combining elements of minimalism, avant-garde jazz and progressive rock. The album was also notable for its personnel, which included celebrated New York jazz musicians Carla Bley, Michael Mantler, and Andrew Cyrille among the performers. As a musical document Kew. Rhone. remains both ambitious and unclassifiable; Blegvad's literate and playful lyrics are well-matched by Greaves' complex song structures. Blegvad would later continue his collaboration with Greaves in 1995 on Unearthed, a collection of spoken word pieces set to Greaves' music.

In the 1980s, Blegvad released a number of commercially unsuccessful albums on the Virgin Records label, including The Naked Shakespeare and Knights Like This, both of which show the influence of external producers. By contrast, Downtime, an independent release in the late 1980s features mainly very simple demos, often recorded cheaply in professional studios' "downtime". King Strut and Other Stories (Silvertone, 1990) is a collection of short stories set to simply arranged, professionally produced music played in many cases by noted session musicians. The album features XTC's Andy Partridge while Orpheus – The Lowdown (2003) is a whole album in collaboration with Partridge. Many of Blegvad's albums feature former members of Slapp Happy and Henry Cow.

Blegvad is a deft and literate lyricist whose lyrics frequently feature word games, literary references and complex and extended rhyme schemes.

From 1992 to 1999, The Independent ran Blegvad's strangely surreal comic strip, Leviathan, which received much critical praise for blending some of the most interesting elements of Krazy Kat with a coming-of-age-esque story akin to Calvin and Hobbes.[citation needed] Some of the strips have been collected in the 2001 volume The Book of Leviathan. In 2013 the book was published as Le livre de Leviathan in French and received the "Prix Révélation" at the 41st Angoulźme International Comics Festival in 2014. Other comics and illustrations by Blegvad have appeared in The Ganzfeld and Ben Katchor's Picture Story 2.

He has also conducted two- and three-week writing courses at Warwick University, England, in association with the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY), and the new University of Warwick venture for gifted and creative children, International Gateway for Gifted Youth (IGGY).

In 2011, Atlas Publishing (trading as "The London Institute of 'Pataphysics") published Blegvad's The Bleaching Stream, described as an "interview format biography."

Blegvad's work for BBC Radio 3 includes numerous "eartoons" for the weekly poetry strand The Verb, and a number of radiophonic dramas with Langham Research Centre and with Iain Chambers. These include guest+host=ghost, featuring Nick Cave; Use It Or Lose It which won a Radio Academy Award in 2012; Chinoiserie; Eschatology, starring Harriet Walter and Guy Paul; and The Impossible Book (2016).

His 2015 drama with Iain Chambers for Radio Australia, The Eternal Moment starring John Ramm and Emma Powell, was shortlisted for the 2015 Prix Europa.

Krause, Moore and Blegvad reformed Slapp Happy in November 2016 to perform with Faust at the Week-End festival in Cologne, Germany. The two groups also played together on 10–11 February 2017 at Cafe Oto in London. On 24 February 2017 Slapp Happy, without Faust, performed at Mt. Rainer Hall, Shibuya in Tokyo."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Andrew Charles Cyrille (born November 10, 1939) is an American avant-garde jazz drummer. Throughout his career, he has performed both as a leader and a sideman in the bands of Walt Dickerson and Cecil Taylor, among others.

Cyrille was born on November 10, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York into a Haitian family. He began studying science at St. John's University, but was already playing jazz in the evenings and switched his studies to the Juilliard School. His first drum teachers were fellow Brooklyn-based drummers Willie Jones and Lenny McBrowne; through them, Cyrille met Max Roach. Nonetheless, Cyrille became a disciple of Philly Joe Jones, who in some performances such as Time Waits used Cyrille's drum kit.

His first professional engagement was as an accompanist of singer Nellie Lutcher, and he had an early recording session with Coleman Hawkins. Trumpeter Ted Curson introduced him to pianist Cecil Taylor when Cyrille was 18.

He joined the Cecil Taylor unit in 1964, and stayed for about 10 years, eventually performing drum duos with Milford Graves. In addition to recording as a bandleader, he has recorded and/or performed with musicians such as David Murray, Irène Schweizer, Marilyn Crispell, Carla Bley, Butch Morris and Reggie Workman among others. Cyrille is currently a member of the group, Trio 3, with Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman."

-Wikipedia (

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