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Lemer, Peter

Son of Local Colour: Live at the Pizza Express, Soho

Lemer, Peter: Son of Local Colour: Live at the Pizza Express, Soho (ESP-Disk)

On the 50th anniversary of the recording of UK pianist Peter Lemer's '67 ESP album "Local Colour" he re-assembled the quintet for a reprisal at the London jazz club Pizza Express, replacing Nisar Khan with Alan Skidmore due to illness but retaining John Surman (sax), Tony Reeves (bass) and Jon Hiseman (drums), as they stretch out on the original recordings with a life's experience and insight.

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product information:

UPC: 825481503129

Label: ESP-Disk
Catalog ID: ESPDISK 5031CD
Squidco Product Code: 28082

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Pizza Express, in London, UK, on February 20th, 2018, by Miles Ashton.


John Surman-baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone

Alan Skidmore-tenor saxophone

Peter Lemer-piano

Tony Reeves-double bass

Jon Hiseman-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"John Douglas Surman (born 30 August 1944) is an English jazz saxophone, bass clarinet, and synthesizer player, and composer of free jazz and modal jazz, often using themes from folk music. He has composed and performed music for dance performances and film soundtracks.

Surman was born in Tavistock, Devon. He initially gained recognition playing baritone saxophone in the Mike Westbrook Band in the mid-1960s, and was soon heard regularly playing soprano saxophone and bass clarinet as well. His first playing issued on a record was with the Peter Lemer Quintet in 1966. After further recordings and performances with jazz bandleaders Mike Westbrook and Graham Collier and blues-rock musician Alexis Korner, he made the first record under his own name in 1968.

In 1969 he founded the well-regarded and influential group The Trio along with two expatriate American musicians, bassist Barre Phillips and drummer Stu Martin. In the mid-1970s he founded one of the earliest all-saxophone jazz groups, S.O.S., along with alto saxophonist Mike Osborne and tenor saxophonist Alan Skidmore. During this early period he also recorded with (among others) saxophonist Ronnie Scott, guitarist John McLaughlin, bandleader Michael Gibbs, trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, and pianist Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath.

By 1972 he had begun experimenting with synthesizers. That year he recorded Westering Home, the first of several solo projects on which he played all parts himself via overdubbing. He recorded his final album with Mike Westbrook, Citadel/Room 315 in 1975.

Many of the musical relationships he established during the 1970s have continued to the present. These include a quartet with pianist John Taylor, bassist Chris Laurence, and drummer John Marshall; duets and other projects with Norwegian singer Karin Krog; and duets and other projects with American drummer/pianist Jack DeJohnette.

His relationship with ECM Records has also been continuous from the late 1970s to the present, as Surman has recorded prolifically for the label playing bass clarinet, recorders, soprano and baritone saxophones and using synthesisers, both solo with a wide range of other musicians.

In recent years he has composed several suites of music that feature his playing in unusual contexts, including with church organ and chorus (Proverbs and Songs, 1996); with a classical string quintet (Coruscating); and with the London Brass and Jack DeJohnette (Free and Equal, 2001). He has also played in a unique trio with Tunisian oud-player Anouar Brahem and bassist Dave Holland (Thimar, 1997); has performed the songs of John Dowland with singer John Potter formerly of the Hilliard Ensemble; and made contributions to the drum and bass album Disappeared by Spring Heel Jack.

Other musicians he has worked with include bassist Miroslav Vitous, bandleader Gil Evans, pianist Paul Bley and Vigleik Storaas, saxophonist (and composer) John Warren, guitarists Terje Rypdal and John Abercrombie and trumpeter Tomasz Stańko."

-Wikipedia (

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"Alan Skidmore, a world-class musician experienced in a myriad of musical environments and disciplines, is renowned both as a soloist and as a section player on films, radio and television. The list of international artists with whom he has performed and recorded reads like a "Who's Who" of contemporary music and includes Georgie Fame, John Mayall, Elvin Jones, Eric Clapton, Clark Terry, Stan Tracey, Van Morrison, Charlie Watts, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Weather Report and Dexter Gordon!

Skid's formative years - what he has described as "my university education" - was playing with John Mayall and Alexis Korner in the early 1960s.

The earliest of his many special achievements came in 1969, when his quintet, featuring the late Kenny Wheeler, represented the UK at the Montreux: Jazz Festival and won the International Press Awards for Best Soloist, which included a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, and for Best Band.

Alan first won the Melody Maker Jazz Poll for saxophone in 1971 and again in 1972, 1973 and 1974. In 1973 he formed the band S.O.S with John Surman and Mike Osborne, with which he toured extensively and appeared at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Always popular in Germany Alan also had the pleasure of being invited to play at NDR Hamburg's Jazz Workshop with Weather Report for TV broadcast and also for jazz education purposes.

In 1984 Alan toured India, Hong Kong and the Philippines as the featured soloist with the Cologne-based West Deutscher Rundfunk (WDR) Big Band.

One of the major highlight's of Alan's career was the honour and privilege of working at Ronnie Scott's with the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine in 1988, giving Alan the opportunity to work with his hero, John Coltrane's, regular drummer.

During the 1980s he represented the BBC at the Belgrade Festival with the band S.O.H. (Skidmore, Oxley and Haurand), with which he toured Europe for six years, and has toured the world and recorded with Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts, Stan Tracey and Georgie Fame, featuring with Georgie on BBC TV's Later With Jools Holland.

In the 1990s, after the abolition of apartheid, Alan was chosen to be the first European jazz musician to go on a British Council sponsored tour of South Africa, and has since recorded three CDs The Call,Ubizo and 50 Journeys with the African drum band Amampondo and they have toured the UK several times as Alan Skidmore's Ubizo.

n 1998 Alan became one of a very small band of saxophonists - Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt and Stan Getz - to record an album with a full orchestra. After the Rain has proved a great favourite and has been reissued in 2017. His "Tribute to John Coltrane" UK tour which included appearances at Brecon Jazz Festival and Cheltenham Jazz Festival received rave reviews, and more recently, he has collaborated with Peter King at the North Sea Jazz Festival where they presented their "In Honour of Bird and Trane" programme, accompanied by the celebrated Dutch band, the Rein de Graaff Trio while, closer to home, he has performed at the Royal Albert Hall with Elvis Costello and Georgie Fame.

In July 2017 he featured at a special memorial tribute concert marking the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane's passing at London's Cafe Oto with Paul Dunmall's Sunship Quartet. In 1987 he shared the bill at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon with a quintet with many of Coltrane's regular collaborators to mark the 20th anniversary."

-Alan Skidmore Website (

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"Peter Naphtali Lemer (born 14 June 1942) is an English jazz musician. He worked with the Pete Lemer Quintet, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Annette Peacock, Harry Beckett, Gilgamesh, Baker Gurvitz Army, Seventh Wave, Harry Beckett's Joy Unlimited, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, Mike Oldfield Group, In Cahoots, Miller/Baker/Lemer. He currently works with In Cahoots, Peter Lemer Trio/Quartet, Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia, and the Peter Lemer-Billy Thompson Quartet and Duo.

Peter Lemer was born in London, England. He studied piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music with Sven Weber and John Gardner, privately with Thomas Rajna, and then at workshops in London run by Jack Goldzweig (who had himself co-coached in New York with Mal Waldron and John Mehegan). Lemer then went to New York to study double bass with David Walter, attended workshops run by Bill Dixon, and studied piano with Jaki Byard and Paul Bley.

In 1965, he formed a trio with John Stevens and Jeff Clyne, which opened the Little Theatre Club. In 1966, he formed the Peter Lemer Quintet, with Jon Hiseman on drums, George Khan on tenor sax, John Surman on baritone sax and Tony Reeves on bass. This band successfully played a season at Ronnie Scott's and helped to pave the way for the British free jazz movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, along with the Mike Taylor trio. It cut one LP, Local Colour which was engineered by Eddie Kramer.

In 1969, Lemer worked with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, an experimental jazz group.

In that year, he also joined Barbara Thompson. The relationship developed into Barbara forming Paraphernalia with husband Jon Hiseman. Paraphernalia became the most frequently performing jazz-oriented group in Europe, and Peter was keyboardist for most of the years right up to the present, including 10 albums recorded live or at Barbara and Jon's Temple Music Studios.

In 1974, Lemer joined Gilgamesh and played several gigs and some BBC sessions. He subsequently became an in-demand session player.

In 1974, he joined Ken Elliot's Seventh Wave, a pioneer synthesiser-based rock band, appearing on their second album, Psi-Fi.

In 1975, he joined Ginger Baker, Mr Snips, and The Gurvitz brothers in the 'Baker Gurvitz Army' - recording 'Elysian Encounter' .

In 1976, he joined Jan Dukes de Grey briefly to record their final album, Strange Terrain. Although the album was recorded in 1976, it was only released in 2010.

In 1979, Lemer joined Mike Oldfield's fifty piece touring band as one of two keyboard players. This led to him guesting on Moerlen's album Time is the Key.

Lemer has done much recent work with the band In Cahoots. With them, he played on the album Cutting Both Ways (1987) and toured Europe. He joined the band Paraphernalia in 1987 and played on the albums A Cry from the Heart (1987), Everlasting Flame (1993) and Shifting Sands.

Lemer again worked with In Cahoots. He played on the album Digging In (1991) and rejoined the band permanently in 1995. After two In Cahoots tours, Lemer devoted 1999 to touring with Paraphernalia in support of the album they had recently released. Paraphernalia is not currently touring while Barbara Thompson is fighting Parkinson's Disease.

Lemer's most recent albums include Players of Games recorded with Billy Thompson, Looking for Soup, All That with In Cahoots, and Never Say Goodbye recorded with Paraphernalia.

He is now coaching piano, improvisation, music technology. He also plays with the Spanish Harlow Orchestra.

He is also actively involved in lobbying to end global hunger and participates as Group Leader with Results UK, the premier UK citizen advocacy group to eradicate poverty globally."

-Wikipedia (

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"Anthony "Tony" Reeves (born 18 April 1943, New Eltham, South East London) is an English bass guitarist/contrabassist, noted for his "extremely prominent and complex bass sound" and use of electronic effects.

As a teenager Reeves learned orchestral double bass and played in local jazz-oriented groups (also sometimes the Wes Minster Five) with Colfes Grammar School, Lewisham schoolmates, Dave Greenslade and Jon Hiseman; Reeves and Hiseman would later record with John Mayall on the album Bare Wires and then go on to form Colosseum.

Keen on jazz, Reeves played in the New Jazz Orchestra and had learned many standard songs. He worked in the music industry for several years, first in the quality control department of Decca Records listening to output that ranged from medieval classical music to Chubby Checker, after four years becoming assistant producer to Tony D'Amato, then briefly a record plugger for Pye Records. In late 1964 he suggested for Pye release, and played on, the instrumental UK hit Sounds Orchestral's "Cast Your Fate to the Wind". He became assistant to Tony Hatch at Pye before leaving to become a freelance producer for CBS and Polydor and creative director of the Greenwich Gramophone Company. He also recorded with the Mike Taylor Quartet on the album Pendulum in 1965 and with Davy Graham on Folk, Blues and Beyond and Midnight Man in 1966.

Shortly afterwards Reeves took up electric bass, just before Hiseman recommended him to Mayall. After two albums with Colosseum he left to concentrate on session work and production, working with the Woods Band, Sandy Denny (The North Star Grassman and the Ravens), Paul Kent, John Martyn (Bless the Weather), Day of Phoenix and Burning Red Ivanhoe from Denmark, and Chris DeBurgh. In 1972 he rejoined Dave Greenslade and formed the band Greenslade. Reeves remained with the band until 1974, recording three albums with them. In 1973 he played on Mike Taylor Remembered, a tribute to the musician, with Neil Ardley, Jon Hiseman, Ian Carr, Barbara Thompson and other major modern British jazz players. Subsequently he played with Curved Air and in jazz band called Big Chief, with former Colosseum saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith. He still plays with Big Chief, Blue Amba and The Warthogs, and plays double bass at The Constitution pub in Camden Town (Davy Graham's local) every other Tuesday in the Cellar Bar where he met Members Multi-Instrumentalist and song-writer JC Carroll with whom he performs and records sporadically, they recorded a live album on their first show together in ascot. here is a snippet of them They are understood to be working on an extended raga called looking for gold and an acoustic album.

Reeves is also head of the British sound technology firm MTR Professional Audio, in business for almost 30 years."

-Tony Reeves Website (

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"Jon Hiseman, Real Name: Philip John Hiseman

English drummer, record producer, recording engineer, and music publisher, who has actively worked in the music industry since the mid-1960s.

Born: 21st June 1944 in Woolwich, London, England. Died: 12th June 2018.

Initially began his career as a session drummer, but quickly moved on and joined The Graham Bond Organisation in 1966, with whom he stayed until 1968, when he briefly joined John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, before forming his own act, Colosseum, with Dick Heckstall-Smith, and Tony Reeves. They recorded 3 studio albums, but were disbanded in November 1971.

In 1972, he formed Tempest, who released 2 albums before matters came to a close in 1974. Along with Gary Moore, and Don Airey, he formed Colosseum II in 1975 and like the original Colosseum, they too released 3 albums, before they were instrumental in the success of the Andrew Lloyd Webber album, 'Variations'; which reached number 2 in the UK Album Charts in 1978. Later that year Gary Moore left to rejoin Thin Lizzy, and Colosseum II went the way of Hiseman's previous bands. He spent the next sixteen years on various projects with his wife, and saxophonist, Barbara Thompson, whom he had married in 1967, including live appearances, and score writing for film and television. His largest body of work, however, has been the fourteen albums that he recorded with the The United Jazz+Rock Ensemble between 1977 and 2002.

Colosseum were reformed in 1994 for a reunion gig, and have toured several times since. On the death of Dick Heckstall-Smith in 2004, Barbara Thompson, who had been in the various line-ups of Colosseum, joined as a permanent member replacing him on saxophone.

Hiseman's biography, by Martyn Hanson, was released in October 2010 entitled 'Playing The Band'.

John and Barbara had two children."

-Discogs (

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track listing:

1. Ciudad Enahenado 9:42

2. Ictus 8:56

3. Flowville 9:18

4. Carmen 7:08

5. Impressions 9:11

6. Impressions 9:26

7. URH 6:05

8. In The Out 9:05
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The core of this group - four of the five musicians listed below - recorded an LP for ESP-Disk' in 1966. The plan, conceived the year after the 50th anniversary of the recording session, was to reunite the original quintet, which had existed for six months back in '66, but unfortunately Nisar Ahmad (George) Khan, tenor saxophonist on the original album, came down with something and couldn't appear. Alan Skidmore (Lemer bandmate in SOS) was deputized and, as all familiar with his career would expect and you will hear, came through with flying local colours at the concert on February 20, 2018 at noted London jazz club Pizza Express. Four months later, Jon Hiseman passed away at age 73 after battling a brain tumor. Five of the original album's six compositions are reprised, but with more room to stretch out on them in the concert context. New to Lemer's ESP discography are Lemer's tribute to British saxophonist/frequent Lemer bandmate Dick Heckstall-Smith, "Big Dick"; Surman's "URH"; and a wild interpretation of Coltrane's "Impressions." "-ESP"

"We take from one another and give, willingly, unwillingly, knowingly, unknowingly." Thus did the ultra-versatile jazz pianist, Peter Lemer, articulate the psychology of musicianly interplay in the sleeve note to his quintet's album, Local Colour. Recorded in 1966 for New York's ground-breaking ESP label and produced by the legendary Eddie Kramer, who was to become a core element in Hendrix's creative team, this was the only album put out in Lemer's own name, despite a high-flying career at the heart of the British progressive jazz-rock scene and as sideman with the likes of Annette Peacock, Ginger Baker and Mike Oldfield. His earliest work was in left-field territory with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and he studied with piano luminaries, Paul Bley and Jackie Byard.

At Pizza Express he reconvened the original members of that stellar fivesome, John Surman (baritone and soprano saxes), Jon Hiseman (drums), Tony Reeves (bass) with the consummate tenor of Alan Skidmore, Surman's old sidekick from SOS, depping for the indisposed George (Nisar Ahmad) Khan.

The quintet lasted around five months including a six-week Ronnie Scott's residency, before other demands led to its dispersal, yet they proved that they have lost none of the dynamic edge displayed so challengingly on the '66 LP, which, if anything, has been honed and intensified over the intervening 52 years.

Selections from the album included, as a thank you to Lemer's mentors at the time, Carla Bley's hyperactive Inctus, and Lemer's compositions, Flowville with its softly meditative preamble, In the Out, with the harmonised saxes briefly a dead-ringer for Roland Kirk, and Carmen, a springboard for melodic extrapolation. In this powerful performance, the material sounded vital, fresh and unequivocally current, optimised by a crisp sound mix that propelled to the fore the subtleties and dynamics of each musician's contribution, auguring well for the live recording that was taking place.

Reading from demanding scores, Surman and Skidmore welded an inspired, rock-solid brass section alongside the nuanced bass dialogues from Reeves, Hiseman's structurally intense percussion and Lemer's keyboard effervescence.

The first set opened with improvisation. "I dreamt about an octopus last night, so that's where we are going to start!" echoing the sleeve note that "The written leads were the maps into the unexplored, the direction being towards the open, out ..." As the textures were built up there was an underlying modulation with the feel of an ECM sound world. Judicious, infectious soloing, waves of sonics through the saxes, concentrated, serial piano repetitions and a break out in to a rocking groove mapped out the Local Colour field.

With references to non-verbal communication and to proto-linguistics, Lemer's notion was that "we're tapping the veins of your brains." Spells of tough, tight synchronisation, expressive solos from Surman and Skidmore deep in to their power station delivery, Reeves' sensitively syncopated bass lines and discreet pummelling by Hiseman complemented Lemer's brightly illuminated piano flights.

Lemer's homage to Dick Heckstall-Smith, Big Dick, took its lead from Lemer's nine note figure, and with the quintet motoring at full throttle, Surman served up a stand-out soprano solo on Coltrane's Impressions. The perfectionist in Lemer insisted on four false starts at Blues for Something Funny before he deemed the pace just right for their recording.

With such a quality performance all round the question is - where has Peter Lemer been hiding all these years? He was keen that this outfit gets further airings and is looking for offers!"-London Jazz News

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Get additional information at London Jazz News
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Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
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