manfred

British Big Bands and Large Ensembles

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Hello dear friends,

can you help me with British Big Bands or large Ensembles of the sixties and seventies, or later, like for example these wonderful bands of Mike Westbrook, Mike Gibbs, Graham Collier, Chris McGregor or Centipede of Keith Tippet? I would like to discover some more...

Thank you!!!! 

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Hello Manfred,

Lots of information on British jazz of that era on this site, including Westbrook, Gibbs, Collier and co. Just do a search using some of those names and - voila !

May I recommend the book ‘Music Outside’ by Ian Carr, reprinted by Northway Press, as a very good overview of that period of ‘British Contemporary Jazz’, superbly written by Mr Carr as an insider’s view.

in terms of recent releases/finds, I recommend having a look at the ‘Jazz In Britain’ Bandcamp site to sample big band material by Alan Cohen, Neil Ardley and Ray Russell’s Rock Workshop. Also check out the Alan Wakeman Octet release on Gearbox.

Edited by sidewinder

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18 minutes ago, sidewinder said:

Hello Manfred,

Lots of information on British jazz of that era on this site, including Westbrook, Gibbs, Collier and co. Just do a search using some of those names and - voila !

May I recommend the book ‘Music Outside’ by Ian Carr, reprinted by Northway Press, as a very good overview of that period of ‘British Contemporary Jazz’, superbly written by Mr Carr as an insider’s view.

in terms of recent releases/finds, I recommend having a look at the ‘Jazz In Britain’ Bandcamp site to sample big band material by Alan Cohen, Neil Ardley and Ray Russell’s Rock Workshop. Also check out the Alan Wakeman Octet release on Gearbox.

Hello sidewinder, thank you for your reply and your first recommendations.....

 „Just do a search using some of those names......“ 😀 I am just asking for some names to search for, and that I do not yet know or remember....😉

that’s what I meant, obviously bad asked....

but your kind of recommendations are already a big help, and profound as always, thank you!!!!

 

 

 

Edited by manfred

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What about the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra or the London Improvisers' Orchestra? More in the avant-garde realm, but certainly worth investigating. There's also John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Orchestra and Paul Rutherford's Iskrastra, both of which are maybe a bit more obscure.

Might also add People Band to this list if you haven't already explored their work. Two Emanem archival releases, well worth investigating. 

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I have a memory of seeing a Mike Gibbs band with Jack Bruce on bass in Hampstead but I found a site that lists every gig Bruce ever had and though it does show some gigs with Gibbs it doesn't show one that was in Hampstead when I was in London.  I'm hoping someone here might know about it. 

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3 hours ago, medjuck said:

I have a memory of seeing a Mike Gibbs band with Jack Bruce on bass in Hampstead but I found a site that lists every gig Bruce ever had and though it does show some gigs with Gibbs it doesn't show one that was in Hampstead when I was in London.  I'm hoping someone here might know about it. 

Do you happen to know which year that was, Medjuck?

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13 hours ago, clifford_thornton said:

What about the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra or the London Improvisers' Orchestra? More in the avant-garde realm, but certainly worth investigating. There's also John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Orchestra and Paul Rutherford's Iskrastra, both of which are maybe a bit more obscure.

Might also add People Band to this list if you haven't already explored their work. Two Emanem archival releases, well worth investigating. 

Thank you so much, that’s exactly what I am looking for and did hope to find and to hear of: avant-garde, obscure, but also things with a rock or Classic flavour or anything else you could describe as a kind of cross-over.....John Surman did some beautiful  „large-ensemble-recordings“ like „How many clouds can you see?“ or „Tales of the Algonquin“...

unfortunately Bev Stapleton here in our community is lost, he sure could help us ...

thank you!!!

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yeah those Surmans are great. John Warren is a hell of an arranger.

Bob Downes also stepped out in that direction with Electric City.

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1 hour ago, clifford_thornton said:

yeah those Surmans are great. John Warren is a hell of an arranger.

Bob Downes also stepped out in that direction with Electric City.

heared of Bob Downes, but not of Electric City, will check it out, thank you!

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Just now, manfred said:

heared of Bob Downes, but not of Electric City, will check it out, thank you!

Downes did an LP on Vertigo with that group, also reissued on CD but might be hard to find.

He’s also in a similar setting on the Ray Russell Rock Workshop ‘Street War’, accessible via ‘Jazz In Britain’’s Bandcamp site.

Bob Downes by the way lives in Germany - and has a site where you can buy some of his CDs, much of it with smaller groups.

One masterpiece to check out is John Warren/John Surman ‘Tales of the Algonquin’ on Deram. That one has also been reissued on CD, most recently on Vocalion.

A number of years ago I was fortunate enough to see Surman perform this superb suite with a local youth big band, trained up by John Warren. Board member Alex Hawkins was on piano. A memorable night !

Lots of Mike Westbrook CDs, films and articles to check out on the ‘Westbrookjazz’ website. Well worth spending an hour or 10 on there.

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Downes is very cool. He's been sending along youtube vids of his quarantine solos, so I get a Downes sonic observation in my inbox every now and then. His latest was a "flute admonishment" to the moles digging up the garden near his house. Hilarious. 

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2 minutes ago, clifford_thornton said:

His latest was a "flute admonishment" to the moles digging up the garden near his house. Hilarious. 

I need his services. :lol:

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1 hour ago, sidewinder said:

Downes did an LP on Vertigo with that group, also reissued on CD but might be hard to find.

He’s also in a similar setting on the Ray Russell Rock Workshop ‘Street War’, accessible via ‘Jazz In Britain’’s Bandcamp site.

Bob Downes by the way lives in Germany - and has a site where you can buy some of his CDs, much of it with smaller groups.

One masterpiece to check out is John Warren/John Surman ‘Tales of the Algonquin’ on Deram. That one has also been reissued on CD, most recently on Vocalion.

A number of years ago I was fortunate enough to see Surman perform this superb suite with a local youth big band, trained up by John Warren. Board member Alex Hawkins was on piano. A memorable night !

Lots of Mike Westbrook CDs, films and articles to check out on the ‘Westbrookjazz’ website. Well worth spending an hour or 10 on there.

Hmmm...could that have been JS's birthday celebration? If so, I think I played with him in a quartet the night after they did 'Tales of the Algonquin'...I've sadly never played that material, which is a shame, since it's amazing, I quite agree!

On the subject of John Surman, he sounds absolutely incredible as the featured soloist on Mike Westbrook's 'Love and Understanding' with the Swedish Radio Jazz Group...

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Maybe I am confusing the events, Alex. I definitely saw you at Turner-Sims in a Quartet with Surman and you also interviewed him as part of that evening. So that must have been his birthday. Plus - I am sure your memory is way better than mine. :)

You are right - the ‘Algonquin’ Group had one of the Hampshire Youth Jazz Orch (I think?) members on piano so must have been a different occasion. They did an excellent job with this tricky music.

Both great nights :tup

Prefer Westbrook’s ‘Citadel/Room 315’ on RCA to the Swedish recording but must give it another chance.

Edited by sidewinder

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20 hours ago, medjuck said:

I have a memory of seeing a Mike Gibbs band with Jack Bruce on bass in Hampstead but I found a site that lists every gig Bruce ever had and though it does show some gigs with Gibbs it doesn't show one that was in Hampstead when I was in London.  I'm hoping someone here might know about it. 

Sounds like that could have been the Country Club, Belsize Park same postcode as Hampstead, NW3.  Now a tennis club and housing. A hop skip and a jump from me.
 

Anthony

 

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21 hours ago, sidewinder said:

Do you happen to know which year that was, Medjuck?

See below. 

4 hours ago, adh1907 said:

Sounds like that could have been the Country Club, Belsize Park same postcode as Hampstead, NW3.  Now a tennis club and housing. A hop skip and a jump from me.
 

Anthony

 

Yes!  Thank you.  "Aug. 26/71 'Country Club' Hampstead, England (UCS Benefit) ".  Though I don't remember seeing this when I looked a few months ago.   I was living in West Hampstead at the time. I used to joke that it was really East Kilborn. 

Edited by medjuck

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6 hours ago, medjuck said:

 I was living in West Hampstead at the time. I used to joke that it was really East Kilborn. 

You would have been within booting distance of Decca’s studio then - where Garrick et al recorded all their great Argo and Deram releases in that era. Plus Tempo before that.

Yes, Kilburn and West Hampstead do tend to merge. I lived just North of there for a while.

That ‘Country Club’ I remember as the ‘Town and Country Club’ back in the day. Urban sprawl spreading !

Edited by sidewinder

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