"Several years after his great success with the huge ensemble Centipede and its Septober Energy release, pianist Keith Tippett returned to the large-group format with his newly formed Ark. This band, a mere 22 strong, was less rock-infl...
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Catalog ID: OGCD 010/011
Squidco Product Code: 24202
Format: 2 CDs
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Wessex Sound Studios, In London, England, on May 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 1978, by Gary Edwards.
Mark Charig-tenor horn, piano, piccolo trumpet, trumpet
Elton Dean-alto saxophone, saxophone
Peter Kowald-bass, tuba
Larry Stabbins-flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Keith Tippett-harmonium, keyboards, piano, composer
Phillip Wachsmann-violin, electric violin
Trevor Watts-alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
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1. Frames Pt 1 20:16
2. Frames Pt 2 19:12
1. Frames Pt 3 23:58
2. Frames Pt 4 20:34
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
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"Several years after his great success with the huge ensemble Centipede and its Septober Energy release, pianist Keith Tippett returned to the large-group format with his newly formed Ark. This band, a mere 22 strong, was less rock-influenced and arguably more "mature" musically, that is, quite capable of handling the diverse demands placed on it, which covered ground from richly arranged written portions to incisive free improvisation. One of the motifs tying this work (which is a single composition spread over four sides of the original LP) is the dual presence of vocalists Maggie Nicols and Julie Tippetts (the latter possessing one of the truly beautiful voices in avant-garde jazz), their twinned vocal lines serving as fine structures around which to erect woollier passages. Also as before, Tippett deploys small groups within the larger ensemble, for example a percussion duet that's soon joined by violin and soprano saxophone. These little "nuggets" within the orchestra providea healthy degree of differentiation as well as connecting nodes between more fully massed sections. As such, "Frames" is essentially suite-like, with anthemic melodies like the one that begins side three abutting jagged, free lines that dissolve into group interplay standing alongside pulsing minimalist patterns. It's not really so much about the soloists, although there is much fine individual playing to be found, notably the leader's piano (and that of Stan Tracey), the alto work of Trevor Watts, and the bass playing of the late, great Harry Miller. Listeners who have enjoyed Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra or Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath will find themselves right at home here. Recommended."- Brian Olewnick, All Music
Get additional information at All Music
• Show Bio for Mark Charig
"Mark Charig (born 22 February 1944 in London) is a British trumpeter and cornetist.
He was particularly active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when he played in settings as diverse as Long John Baldry's group, Bluesology, Soft Machine, and Keith Tippett's group and his Centipede big band. Charig also featured on several King Crimson albums, being particularly prominent in a long solo on the title track of Islands, on the title track of Lizard and on the track 'Fallen Angel' on the 'Red' album.
In the mid-1970s he also toured with the group Red Brass, which featured singer Annie Lennox. He also appeared with the Brotherhood of Breath and recorded with Mike Osborne, as well as releasing his own Pipedream LP on Ogun Records.
He is also a member of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra. He now lives in Germany and is a member of the Wuppertal-based Conduction Orchestra.
More recently, he has recorded KJU: a CD of quartet improvisations with the group "Quatuohr""-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Charig)
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• Show Bio for Elton Dean
"Elton Dean (28 October 1945 Ð 8 February 2006) was an English jazz musician who performed on alto saxophone, saxello (a variant of the soprano saxophone) and occasionally keyboards.
Dean was born Nottingham, England, moving to Tooting, London, soon after his birth. From 1966 to 1967, Dean was a member of the band Bluesology, led by Long John Baldry. The band's pianist, Reginald Dwight, afterward combined Dean's and Baldry's first names for his own stage name, Elton John.
Dean established his reputation as a member of the Keith Tippett Sextet from 1968 to 1970, and in the band Soft Machine from 1969 to 1972. Shortly before leaving Soft Machine he started his own group, Just Us.
From 1975 to 1978 he led a nine-piece band called Ninesense, performing at the Bracknell Jazz Festival and similar events. His own groups since then, usually quartets or quintets, have most often worked in the free jazz mode, with little or no pre-composed material such as Soft Heap with Mark Hewins. At the same time, he continued to work with other groups that are very composition-based, such as guitarist Phil Miller's In Cahoots, drummer Pip Pyle's Equipe Out, and various projects with former Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper.
In 2002, Dean and three other former Soft Machine members (Hugh Hopper, drummer John Marshall, and guitarist Allan Holdsworth) toured and recorded under the name Soft Works. With another former Soft Machine member, guitarist John Etheridge, replacing Holdsworth, they subsequently toured and recorded as Soft Machine Legacy, playing some pieces from the original Soft Machine repertoire as well as new works. Featuring Dean, three albums of the Legacy have been released: Live in Zaandam (CD, rec. 2005/05/10), New Morning - The Paris Concert (DVD, rec. 2005/12/12) and the studio album Soft Machine Legacy (CD, 2006, rec. 2005).
Dean's last musical collaborations also included those with Soft Bounds, a quartet composed of Dean, Hugh Hopper, Sophia Domancich and Simon Goubert, and also with Alex Maguire's project Psychic Warrior.
Dean died on 8 February 2006 after more than a year of "heart and liver problems," on the day before he was to join a reunion of Soft Machine."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elton_Dean)
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• Show Bio for Nick Evans
"Nicholas "Nick" Evans (born January 1947 in Newport, Monmouthshire, South Wales) is a Welsh jazz and progressive rock trombonist.
Evans worked in the Graham Collier Sextet (1968-69), Keith Tippett Group (1968-70), Soft Machine (1969), Brotherhood of Breath (1970-74), Centipede (1970-71), Just Us (1972-73), Ambush (1972), Ninesense (1975-80), Intercontinental Express (1976), Ark (1976, 1978), Nicra (1977), Dudu Pukwana's Diamond Express (1977), Spirits Rejoice (1978-79), and Dreamtime (1983).
He started playing the trombone at age 11 and by 1966 he had joined the New Welsh Jazz Orchestra. In that period he first joined the Graham Collier Sextet. In 1968 at the Barry school he worked with Keith Tippett and became a founding member of his sextet. He later worked with South African band Brotherhood of Breath and also Soft Machine. He is an important figure in the Canterbury Scene.
Evans also appeared on the album Lizard by the progressive rock band, King Crimson, in 1970."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Evans_(trombonist))
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• Show Bio for Peter Kowald
"Born 1944 in Germany, died 21 September 2002 New York City; double bass, voice, tuba.
Peter Brötzmann (Corbett, 1994) recounted that 'there was this young guy trying to play the bass, who was Mr Kowald, at that time seventeen years old. Peter lived with his parents. I had my little studio, so he was always hanging out at my place. But he had to be at home at 10.00, he was drinking milk. But we changed that, very soon. His parents were always very angry with me, because he never showed up at home anymore, he dropped studies of ancient languages, Greek and all that.' By this time (1962) Peter Kowald had been playing bass for two years and, with different drummers the two Peters were playing Mingus, Ornette, and Miles Davis things as well as listening to Coltrane, Stockhausen, Cage et al. Kowald was part of the European tour undertaken by the Carla Bley/Michael Mantler band in 1966 (also featuring Brötzmann) and then came work with other German musicians, membership of the Globe Unity Orchestra and the first recordings: Globe Unity, For Adolphe Sax and Summer 1967, recorded during a brief vacation in London. In particular, Evan Parker credits this visit to London for his invitation to play in the Pierre Favre/Irene Schweizer quartet and his subsequent longstanding involvement with German (and other European) musicians. Kowald's work with Brötzmann continued - on and off - on record at least, to the time of Kowald's death and included the Cooperative Trio with Andrew Cyrille, a duo on the Duos project and a recent mix of free jazz, hip-hop and rap.
Peter Kowald was a member of Globe Unity Orchestra for 12 years (1966 to 1978) and for much of this time played less of a side-man role and more of an equal partner - for example, conducting the band - with the person to whom the group has become most associated, Alex von Schlippenbach. His influence is particularly noticeable on Jahrmarkt/Local fair where the two sides of composition are by Kowald (as is the second side of Live in Wuppertal and he is also credited, along with Paul Lovens as 'producing' the record, presumably sorting out the sprawling theatricality and poor sound into two 'meaningful' fragments. In his notes to 20th anniversary, Schlippenbach emphasises the importance of Kowald in creating a programme that became a lot more 'colourful'; while further pointing out that he and Kowald gradually drifted further apart 'until one fine evening after lengthy discussions which resulted in a fight in a pub in Wuppertal, this chapter also closed'. However, before this ending, from 1973 to 1978, Kowald also worked with the Schlippenbach trio (Schlippenbach/ Parker/Paul Lovens), turning it for much of this time into a regular quartet.
Throughout his career, Peter Kowald worked with a wide variety of improvising musicians worldwide and in many considered and unusual situations. He recorded bass duets with Barry Guy, Barre Phillips, Peter Jacquemyn, Maarten Altena, Damon Smith and William Parker, released two solo bass recordings, and had regular groups with Leo Smith and Günter Sommer; with Joëlle Léandre and dancer Anne Martin (Trio Tartini); with dancers Cheryl Banks and Arnette de Mille and cellist Muneer Abdul Fataah (Music and Movement Improvisation); a trio with pianist Curtis Clark; a trio with Canadian alto saxophonist Yves Charuest and Louis Moholo; and Principle Life with Jeanne Lee, Klaus Hovman, and Marilyn Mazur. During the period 1980 to 1985 he was a member of the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra. He has spent periods in the US and in Japan and recorded three duo LPs (two CDs) with US, European and Japanese musicians. He also lived in Greece and similarly played and recorded with the Greek musicians Floros Floridis and Ilias Papadopoulos. By contrast, the 12 months May 1994 to May 1995 was designated Kowald's 'Year at home' project which comprised a mixture of solo works - out of which, to some extent, the last solo CD grew (Was da ist) - and group performances.
In addition, Peter Kowald collaborated extensively with poets and artists and with the dancers Gerlinde Lambeck, Anne Martin, Tadashi Endo, Patsy Parker, Maria Mitchell, Sally Silvers, Cherly Banks, Arnette de Mille, Sayonara Pereira, and Kazuo Ohno. Specific works included Die klage der kaiserin (1989) with Pina Bausch, Short pieces (since 1989) with Jean Sasportes, The spirit of adventure (1990) with Anastasia Lyra, Wasser in der hand (1990/91) with Christine Brunel, and Futan no sentaku/The burden of choice (1990/91) with Min Tanaka and Butch Morris."-European Free Improv (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/mkowald.html)
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• Show Bio for Harry Miller
"Harold Simon "Harry" Miller (25 April 1941 - 16 December 1983) was a South African jazz bass player, who settled in Europe, becoming one of the UK jazz scene's "most vibrant and dynamic talents".
Miller was born in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. He began his career as a bassist with Manfred Mann, and went to settle in London, England. He was a central figure in the mixture of South-African township music and free-jazz that dynamised the scene in London at the end of the 1960s and into the '70s. Miller recorded frequently with musicians such as Mike Westbrook, Chris McGregor, John Surman, Mike Cooper, Louis Moholo, Keith Tippett and Elton Dean.
At the end of the 1970s he moved to the Netherlands for economic reasons, where he worked with musicians of Willem Breuker's circle. Miller also appeared on the album Islands by the progressive rock band King Crimson, in 1971 as session musician.
Miller died in a car crash in the Netherlands in 1983.
The record label Ogun Records, which he founded with his wife Hazel Miller, was vital for documenting that period, and is still active today."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Miller_(jazz_bassist))
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• Show Bio for Louis Moholo-Moholo
"Louis Tebogo Moholo (born 10 March 1940), is a South African jazz drummer.
Born in Cape Town, Moholo formed The Blue Notes with Chris McGregor, Johnny Dyani, Nikele Moyake, Mongezi Feza and Dudu Pukwana, and emigrated to Europe with them in 1964, eventually settling in London, where he formed part of a South African exile community that made an important contribution to British jazz. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Breath, a big band comprising several South African exiles and leading musicians of the British free jazz scene in the 1970s and is the founder of Viva la Black and The Dedication Orchestra. His first album under his own name, Spirits Rejoice on Ogun Records, is considered a classic example of the combination of British and South African players. In the early 1970s, Moholo was also a member of the afro-rock band Assagai.
He has played with many musicians, including Derek Bailey, Steve Lacy, Evan Parker, Enrico Rava, Roswell Rudd, Irène Schweizer, Cecil Taylor, John Tchicai, Archie Shepp, Peter Brötzmann, Mike Osborne, Keith Tippett, Elton Dean and Harry Miller.
Moholo returned to South Africa in September 2005, performing with George Lewis at the UNYAZI Festival of Electronic Music in Johannesburg. He now goes under the name Louis Moholo-Moholo because the name is more ethnically authentic. South African promoter Slow Life in March 2017 at the Olympia Bakery in Kalk Bay, Cape Town produced a show where Louis performed along with Mark Fransman, Reza Khota, Keenan Ahrends and Brydon Bolton."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Moholo)
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• Show Bio for Maggie Nicols
"Maggie Nicols (or Nichols, as she originally spelled her name as a performer) (born 24 February 1948), is a Scottish free-jazz and improvising vocalist, dancer, and performer.
Nicols was born in Edinburgh as Margaret Nicholson. Her father was from the Isle of Lewis, and her mother is half-French, half-Berber from North Africa. At the age of fifteen she left school and started to work as a dancer at the Windmill Theatre. Her first singing engagement was in a strip club in Manchester at the age of sixteen. At about that time she became obsessed with jazz, and sang with bebop pianist Dennis Rose. From then on she sang in pubs, clubs, hotels, and in dance bands with some of the finest jazz musicians around. In the midst of all this she worked abroad for a year as a dancer (including a six-month stint at the Moulin Rouge in Paris).
In 1968, she went to London and joined (as Maggie Nichols) an early improvisational group, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, with John Stevens, Trevor Watts, and Johnny Dyani, and the group performed that year at Berlin's then new avant-garde festival, Total Music Meeting. In the early 1970s she began running voice workshops at the Oval House Theatre (one of the most important centres for pioneer fringe theatre groups). She both acted in some of the productions and rehearsed regularly with a local rock band. Shortly afterwards she became part of Keith Tippett's fifty-piece British jazz/progressive rock big band Centipede, which included Julie Tippetts, Phil Minton, Robert Wyatt, Dudu Pukwana, and Alan Skidmore. Tippetts, Minton, and Nicols also joined Brian Eley to form the vocal group Voice. Around the same time Nicols began collaborating with the Scottish percussionist Ken Hyder (who had recently moved to London) and his band Talisker.
Maggie Nicols recorded an album with the vocalist Julie Tippetts called Sweet and S'Ours which was an FMP]] import.
By the late 1970s, Nicols had become an active feminist, and co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group, which performed across Europe, with Lindsay Cooper. She also organised Contradictions, a women's workshop performance group that began in 1980 and dealt with improvisation and other modes of performance in a variety of media including music and dance. Over the years, Nicols has collaborated with other women's groups, such as the Changing Women Theatre Group, and even wrote music for a prime-time television series, Women in Sport.
Nicols has also collaborated regularly over the years with Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer and French bassist Joelle Leandre, including tours and three recordings as the trio "Les Diaboliques". Her collaboration with Ken Hyder also continues; the duo incorporate elements of the traditional tunes of their shared Scottish background into jazz improvisations in their most recent project, Hoots and Roots Duo. She has worked with pianists Pete Nu and Steve Lodder, with her own daughter, Aura Marina, with avant-gardists Caroline Kraabel and Charlotte Hug, and with lighting designer Sue Neal in Light and Shade. She performed internationally for several decades, including the Zürich and the Frankfurt "Canaille" festivals, the Victoriaville Festival. She gave solo performances at the Moers Music Festival, the Cologne Triennale, and a number of other creative and improvised music festivals."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_Nicols)
^ Hide Bio for Maggie Nicols
• Show Bio for Larry Stabbins
"Larry Stabbins: Born Bristol, England, 1949; saxophones.
Larry Stabbins started playing saxophone at the age of eleven. He started a long association with pianist Keith Tippett when he was sixteen, at the same time serving his musical apprenticeship in countless soul bands. He later contributed to many of Tippett's projects such as Centipede, Ark, Tapestry and the Septet. In addition to occasional duo performances, in the mid-eighties they also worked as a trio for a time with percussionist Louis Moholo, recording the album Tern for FMP Records in Berlin.
In London in the early 70's after a short spell in the Brotherhood of Breath, he attended John Stevens' Ealing workshops and played with the Spontaneous Music Orchestra, and occasionally with SME and the Dance Orchestra. As a result he met many of the 'second generation' of British improvisors and often played the Little Theatre Club, sometimes solo, often in combinations with people such as Terry Day, Marcio Mattos, Ken Hyder, Paul Burwell, Maggie Nicols and particularly Roy Ashbury with whom he formed a regular duo, recording Fire without bricks for Bead Records in 1976. Back in Bristol in the late seventies he was involved with the then thriving Bristol Musicians Co-op while still performing in London with Peter Cusack and Tony Wren's Mama Lapato.
In 1979 he joined the Tony Oxley Quintet alongside Howard Riley, Barry Guy (later replaced by Hugh Metcalfe) and Phil Wachsmann and played in various permutations of it for many years (including one with Pat Thomas, Manfred Schoof and Sirone in 1992) and also the Celebration Orchestra. At the same time he also joined the London Jazz Composers Orchestra with whom he played until about 1985, and also Peter Brötzmann's Alarm Orchestra and its successor, the Tentet "Marz Combo". The early 80's also saw him play in the Eddie Prévost Quartet, Trevor Watt's Moire Music and Louis Moholo's Spirits Rejoice, as well as touring (the then East) Germany with Heinz Becker's Quintet with Uli Gumpert, Radu Malfatti, Peter Kowald and Stefan Hubner.
Alongside this he played with the seminal pop group Weekend and formed a key writing partnership with its guitarist Simon Booth. This became the basis for Working Week, a project that took a melange of latin, soul and jazz into the world of pop and dance music. The band toured extensively in Europe and Japan, performing at most of Europe's major Jazz Festivals, recording five albums for Virgin Records, in addition to writing for film and TV. The demise of Working Week was followed by QRZ? a fusion of jazz and rap which also recorded for Virgin and the German label Loud Minority.
After a several years away from music - among other things, doing philosophy at Kings College, London - he currently works solo, as a trio with Pat Thomas and Mark Sanders under the name "Game Theory", in a quartet with Howard Riley, Tony Wren and Mark Sanders, with The Dedication Orchestra, with Keith Tippett's Tapestry and with Soupsongs playing the music of Robert Wyatt. Other projects include working with DJ/ programmer and graphic artist Oktal, and a duo with Louis Moholo."-European Free Improv site (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/musician/mstabbins.html)
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• Show Bio for Keith Tippett
"Keith Tippett (born Keith Graham Tippetts; 25 August 1947) is a British jazz pianist and composer.
Tippett was born in Southmead, Bristol. The son of an English father who was a policeman and an Irish mother name of Kitty. Keith wrote music dedicated to her after she died. Keith was the oldest of three siblings and had Clive and Thomas as brothers. Tippett went to Greenway Secondary Modern school in Southmead, Bristol. He formed his first band when he was fourteen with school friends, such as Richard Murch, Mike Milton, Terry Pratt and Bob Chard. They were called the KT Trad Lads performing Traditional jazz. Later Keith formed a modern jazz trio in Bristol and played regularly at the Dugout Club in Park Row, Bristol. He studied Piano and Church Organ, was a chorister and played with the school and Bristol youth brass bands. He moved to London in 1967, to pursue a musical life.
In the late 1960s, Tippett led a sextet featuring Elton Dean on saxophone, Mark Charig on trumpet and Nick Evans on trombone. Tippett married singer Julie Driscoll and wrote scores for TV.
In the early 1970s, his big band Centipede brought together much of a generation of young British jazz and rock musicians. As well as performing some concerts (limited economically by the size of the band), they recorded one double-album, Septober Energy.
He formed, with Harry Miller and Louis Moholo a formidable rhythm section at the centre of some the most exciting combinations in the country, including the Elton Dean quartet, and Elton Dean's Ninesense. Around the same time, he was also in the vicinity of King Crimson, contributing piano to several of their records including "Cat Food" (and even appearing with them on Top of the Pops). His own groups, such as Ovary Lodge tended towards a more contemplative form of European free improvisation. He continues to perform with the improvising ensemble Mujician and more recently (2006) Work in Progress.
Tippett has appeared and recorded in a wide variety of settings, including a duet with Stan Tracey, duets with his wife Julie Tippetts, solo performances, and appeared on three King Crimson albums."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Tippett)
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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)
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• Show Bio for Stan Tracey
"Stanley William Tracey CBE (30 December 1926 - 6 December 2013) was a British jazz pianist and composer, whose most important influences were Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. Tracey's best known recording is the 1965 album Jazz Suite Inspired by Dylan Thomas's "Under Milk Wood", which is based on the BBC radio drama Under Milk Wood, by Dylan Thomas.
The Second World War meant that Tracey had a disrupted formal education, and he became a professional musician at the age of sixteen as a member of an ENSA touring group playing the accordion, his first instrument. He joined Ralph Reader's Gang Shows at the age of nineteen, while in the RAF and formed a brief acquaintance with the comedian Tony Hancock. Later, in the early 1950s, he worked in groups on the transatlantic liners Queen Mary and Caronia and toured the UK in 1951 with Cab Calloway. By the mid-1950s, he had also taken up the vibraphone, but later ceased playing it. At this time he worked widely with leading British modernists, including drummer Tony Crombie, clarinettist Vic Ash, the saxophonist-arranger Kenny Graham and trumpeter Dizzy Reece.
In February 1957, he toured the United States with Ronnie Scott's group, and became the pianist with Ted Heath's Orchestra in September for two years (1958-59), including a US tour with singer Carmen McRae. Although Tracey disliked Heath's music, he gained a regular income and was well featured as a soloist on both piano and vibes, and contributed compositions and arrangements that stayed in the Heath book for many years. The following year he recorded his first album as leader, Showcase, for English Decca (also Heath's label) and Little Klunk in 1959; he had first recorded in 1952 with the trumpeter Kenny Baker. At Decca Records, Tracey met his future wife, Jackie Buckland (3 April 1929 - 13 August 2009 ); the couple had two children Clark and Sarah.
From March 1960 until about 1967 (some sources give 1968), Tracey was the house pianist at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Soho, London, and he had the opportunity to accompany many of the leading musicians from the US who visited the club. Recordings of some of these performances appeared on LP and others have appeared in recent years on the Jazz House and Harkit labels, recorded by the journalist Les Tomkins, but with non-professional sound quality. In this context he gained some high-profile admirers; Sonny Rollins asserted at one concert: "Does anyone here know how good he is?". It is Tracey on piano that film viewers hear behind Rollins on the soundtrack of the Michael Caine version of Alfie (1966).
However, the experience of working in Scott's club affected Tracey's health; the long hours led to him taking various illicit stimulants, and the low wages also meant that he had to take the workman's bus back home to Streatham at 3am.
At the same time he became active in Michael Horovitz's New Departures project, mixing poetry performances with jazz, where the musicians interacted spontaneously with the words. The New Departures group recorded an album in 1964; not only is it the first of Tracey's classic albums, but his first recording with saxophonist Bobby Wellins, a partnership that continued for several decades. Both men contributed original compositions to the album. Wellins' "Culloden Moor" - its composition predates the contemporary Peter Watkins film on the Battle of Culloden - is particularly memorable.
Tracey's 1965 album (its full title is Jazz Suite Inspired by Dylan Thomas's "Under Milk Wood") is one of the most celebrated jazz recordings made in the United Kingdom. Tracey was inspired to compose the suite by hearing the original 1953 BBC broadcast on an LP his wife Jackie had acquired. The track "Starless and Bible Black", a quote from the opening monologue, is probably the best demonstration of Wellins' lyricism and the highlight of Tracey's whole career. Such is the affection with which these pieces are held that Tracey has re-recorded them on several occasions, something that is unusual for British jazz musicians to do. Under Milk Wood was followed by Alice in Jazzland, an album for big band, the next year featuring many of his former Ted Heath colleagues. Later in the decade, Tracey made the arrangements for an Acker Bilk record, Blue Acker, and his first album dedicated to Duke Ellington compositions (both recorded in 1968), in this case to commemorate Ellington's 70th birthday the following year.
The early 1970s were a bleak time for Tracey. Around 1970, he almost chose to retrain as a postman under pressure from the Unemployment Benefits' office - "I would have quite a good pension by now" he quips - but his wife, formerly involved in public relations, took a more direct role in the development of Tracey's career.
He began to work with musicians of a later generation, who worked in a free or avant-garde style, including Mike Osborne, Keith Tippett and John Surman. Tracey continued to work in this idiom with Evan Parker at the UK's Appleby Jazz Festival for several years, but this was always more of a sideline for Tracey, who said that he "took more out of free music into the mainstream than I did from mainstream into free". Neil Ferber founder and organiser of the Appleby Jazz Festival built the festival around Stan Tracey and the musicians who worked with him, booking Stan to appear at every festival for the 18 years that it existed.
In the mid-1970s he formed his own record label, Steam, and through it reissued Under Milk Wood (the major label that held the rights to it had allowed it to fall out of print). Over the next decade he also used the outlet to issue recordings of a number of commissioned suites. These included The Salisbury Suite (1978), The Crompton Suite (1981) and The Poets Suite (1984).
He led his own octet from 1976 to 1985 and formed a sextet in 1979 (later called Hexad), touring widely in the Middle East and India. In this context he had a longstanding performance partnership from 1978 with saxophonist (and physician) Art Themen, and his own son, the percussionist Clark Tracey. He was able to share the billing with arranger Gil Evans in a 1978 concert at the Royal Festival Hall, such was Tracey's pre-eminence in the UK. In private, he played Ellington recordings for Evans that the latter had not previously heard. Tracey continued to record with American musicians on occasion as well, with dates taking place with Sal Nistico in 1985 and Monk associate, Charlie Rouse in 1987.
The Steam label ceased trading in the early 1990s, reportedly because of difficulties caused by the retail trade's need for its inventory to carry a barcode. However, in 1992 Tracey benefited from Blue Note's brief interest in UK musicians, leading to the Portraits Plus album and the commercial issue of the BBC's recording of the concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of Tracey's first professional gig, as well as Under Milk Wood′s debut on CD.
In 1995 his new quartet featuring Gerard Presencer recorded the For Heaven's Sake album and also performed gigs together. In 2003 Tracey was the subject of a BBC Television documentary Godfather of British Jazz, a rare accolade nowadays for any jazz musician, let alone one from Britain. Tracey's catalogue from the LP era is being reissued on ReSteamed Records.
Already an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours.
Tracey died of cancer on 6 December 2013; he was survived by his son, Clark Tracey; his daughter died in 2012."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Tracey)
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• Show Bio for Phillip Wachsmann
"Phil Wachsmann (born 5 August 1944) is an African avant-garde jazz/jazz fusion violinist born in Kampala, Uganda, probably better known for having founded his own group Chamberpot. He has worked with many musicians in the free jazz idiom, including Tony Oxley, Fred van Hove, Barry Guy, Derek Bailey and Paul Rutherford, among many others. Wachsmann is especially known for playing within the electronica idiom."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Wachsmann)
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• 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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