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Tippett, Keith

The Unlonely Raindancer

Tippett, Keith: The Unlonely Raindancer (Discus)

Mujician pianist Keith Tippetts embarked on his first solo tour in 1979, capturing these concert recordings that were originally released in 1980 on vinyl on the Universe Label; long out of print, Discus has revived these extraordinary recordings, showing the incredible technical abilities, endurance, and quick-witted creative powers of this legendary improviser.

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product information:

UPC: 5051078967929

Label: Discus
Catalog ID: 81CD
Squidco Product Code: 27412

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded in the Netherlands in April, 1979 at various theatres and jazz clubs. Originally released in 1980 on vinyl as a 2-LP set on the Universe Productions label with catalog code of 2 LS 48.


Keith Tippett-piano, prepared piano, zither

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.
"A re-issue of Keith's first solo piano double LP from 1980, originally released on the Universal Productions label.The Unlonely Raindancer is undoubtedly a beginning, it is also an enigma. More than its means. The seminal first solo album by Keith Tippett released by Universal Productions in 1980 is a live recording from the previous year's short tour of the Netherlands. The audience applause was edited out, leaving the listener with the intensity of one lone musician literally improvising into composition.The word 'unlonely' could be described as uneven grammatically, but given nuance by juxtaposing the reality of a man 'on the road' vs no family or friends to accompany him (except producer, engineer and driver Rob Sötemann). The title of track 3, Thank God For My Wife And Children bears witness to the yin and yang of loneliness turned under, celebrating being 'unlonely'. Forty years on, it returns as a circle dance of choreography; in 2016 Discus Music released Keith Tippett Octet's The Nine Dances Of Patrick O'Gonogon.Mr Tippett recently told me he believes Raindancer "set the template" for all his later solo performances. The two Tortworth Oak performances are probably the most explicit evidence. The 1980's trilogy of lone Mujician performances are classics within his portfolio. They were followed by three other key solo sessions, The Dartington Concert (1990), Une Croix Dans L'Ocean (1994) and the 'jazz art' wonder that is Friday the 13th (1997). Then came 2012's poignant, Mujician Solo IV Live In Piacenza.Aspects of all these recordings have their roots in what took place on that 'unlonely' Netherlands tour in 1979. No money to pay for his usual sidekicks, instead a road trip into Europe where Keith Tippett connected with the solo strength of his own psyche (or if you prefer - soul). For any artist/musician who takes that journey it's a distance longer than any list of one nite-stands. Ride the speed of The Muted Melody; discovery is dizzy.Thinking back I must have bought my double vinyl copy of The Unlonely Raindancer around the end of 1980. Trying to recapture that first earful forty years on is not easy. In the preceding decades I've travelled to many concerts, hung in on the recordings, watched as well as listened to the Dancer. Now I steer the ears to a unique miniature, The Pool. Under five minutes, it was the first track on the final side of the double LP. I distinctly remember every time the track completed taking up the hi-fi arm and placing it back on the edge of black vinyl. I couldn't let it pass, something to do with the lyrical repetition being periodically bombed at that deep bottom end. Listening again, it still holds a terrible beauty for me and why I believe it is important that Martin Archer has now produced Raindancer in a digital format. The Unlonely Raindancer is not being re-released to complete a piece of the past. Tomorrow will forever be our history and dance is our beyond."-Discus

Artist Biographies

"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 (

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

Track Listing:

1. Tortworth Oak (first version) 11:18

2. The Unlonely Raindancer 10:47

3. Thank You God for My Wife and Children 8:06

4. The Muted Melody 8:50

5. Steel Yourself / The Bell, the Gong, the Voice 19:17

6. Dear Ireland 2:27

7. The Pool 3:20

8. Tortworth Oak (second version) 13:34

9. Midnight Snow Walk 1:16

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Rock and Related
Improvised Rock
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Piano & Keyboards
Solo Artist Recordings
Instruments with Preparations
Jazz Reissues
Staff Picks & Recommended Items

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