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Exploring and understanding jazz and British radio in the 1930s February 27, 2016

Posted by wallofsound in British Jazz, Jazz, Music History, Music Radio, Uncategorized.
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On the 14th June 1933 Duke Ellington and his Orchestra broadcast live from the BBC studios on the National Service as part of the band’s first tour of Britain. A few days earlier, the BBC had interrupted its usual flow of programmes to broadcast a five-minute interview between Ellington and the sponsor of his whole visit, the British bandleader, Jack Hylton. The broadcasts represented an important moment for both jazz in Britain and for the BBC. The live June 1933 broadcast is widely cited in Ellington biographies and histories of British jazz, but it has almost no presence in the literature on the BBC’s development. This post explores some of the background to this broadcast in the political economy and organisational culture of the BBC at the time.

Ellington Orchestra in BBC studio 1933?

Understanding jazz and radio in the 1930s

Radio and jazz emerged at the same time, and they were each significant in the development of the other. Susan Douglas explains this link between medium and music as cultural transformation:

“it is in radio’s relationship to jazz that you see the beginnings of this invention’s nearly century long role in marrying youthful white rebellion to African American culture”.[1]

For Stephen Barnard , in Britain, jazz was a ‘problematic’ music for the BBC, caught between categories of entertainment and serious music and between notions of American and British culture[2]. In his account, jazz fitted uneasily into the BBC’s drive to domesticate popular music as a form of post-work relaxation, to centralise its production in London and to tame, for British listeners, those elements of American and African American cultural exoticism perceived to pervade hot jazz. However, these more sophisticated takes on the radio-jazz relationship tend to be overwhelmed by more totalising narratives about their historical correspondence. As I show, it is common in histories of jazz to suggest that the BBC ignored jazz in the 20s and 30s, a contention easily contradicted by the evidence of its broadcasts. Likewise, histories of broadcasting have tended to position the BBC as an overly culturally homogeneous organisation (which is easier to sustain as an argument) but then leap to the assumption that it was therefore overly dominated by its first Director General and narrow and paternalistic in its programming. To understand the Ellington Orchestra’s broadcast we need a sophisticated sense of how the BBC’s music programming operated in the early 1930s.

 

The BBC’s treatment of jazz

Early British radio, and its institutionalisation in the British Broadcasting Company from 1923, and the British Broadcasting Corporation from 1927, tends to be presented as stable, sometimes even monolithic, driven by common professional practices and a single, often personified, ideology. Of course, in the case of the early 1930s BBC this is the proposition that the BBC was a paternalist monopoly broadcaster dominated by the ideas of its Director General, John Reith. From this perspective, chroniclers of jazz in Britain have tended to dismiss the prewar BBC’s treatment of jazz as “haughty”, “niggardly” and “aloof”[6] and even “suppressing the whole spirit of individuality that was to be central to the future development and longevity of jazz”[7] . Even Barnard, in his otherwise insightful discussion, mistakenly allocates the Ellington live 1933 broadcast to the regional service and so erroneously draws the conclusion that it represented a lukewarm attitude to jazz[8]. Reith only occasionally made public announcements on jazz and the BBC, and the interpretation that these represented an antipathy to broadcasting jazz is not supported by what he actually said. Most often his statements rhetorically assume that jazz and popular music are staples of broadcast output, arguing that such programming offers a respite from hard, morally-improving work, but nevertheless he proposes that such output should not be the only content of radio programming[9]. Such a position is reflected in the output of the BBC at the time of the Ellington band’s tour. Each of its regional and national services typical daily broadcast for 13 hours, featuring between 90 minutes and two hours of live dance band broadcasts and some presence of jazz in the 45 minute programmes the BBC designated as ‘gramophone recitals’. At around 15% of programming this is far greater than any other type of output, including the widely perceived to be dominant forms of cultural-uplift programming, even on the London-originated National programme.

There was a precedent for Ellington’s 1933 tour and BBC broadcast, in a similar tour by Louis Armstrong exactly twelve months before, and the continuities and comparisons are useful in grounding our understanding. Parsonage’s study positions the arrival of Armstrong and Ellington as a culmination of a half-century of the Evolution of Jazz in Britain, and provides just such a detailed contrast of the reception and meaning of the two tours[10]. However, these visits perhaps better represent a rupture in the way that jazz was understood in Britain. These two innovators of jazz subsequently came to personify the two main trajectories in which jazz played out in European culture through the 1930s and into the war years. Put succinctly, Armstrong was increasingly taken to represent the notion that jazz was a folk music which needed to be understood through its origins, while Ellington was constructed as a modernist, and jazz as a new art form. These two new discourses became the dominant perspectives of British jazz fans. As I detail below, within the BBC a third trajectory is apparent in the BBC, in which the early elements of jazz form were incorporated into the BBC’s idea of light musical comedy, which itself would form the basis of the later idea of light entertainment.

It was Armstrong’s semiotic legacy that came to define jazz in the immediate post-war period but, as I will show, in the meantime it was to be Ellington’s approach which dominated both live and broadcast notions of jazz in Britain for a decade. The small group Chicago sound, which was extricable linked to Armstrong through his early 1920s recordings, became the foundation for the jazz fan Rhythm Clubs, their radio recreation in the BBC’s Radio Rhythm Club, and subsequently the distinctly European post war trad jazz movement. However, as I detail below, the BBC’s role in using Ellington as the reference point for a model of symphonic jazz created what became the prevailing notion of jazz in Britain in the 1930s.

Both Armstrong and Ellington went to the UK relatively early, and yet at key points in their rising US careers. Both were relatively poorly known in the UK only months before their arrival. Armstrong had already left behind the small group Chicago music he would be linked to so strongly by British jazz fans, and by 1930 he was recording with Dickerson’s band on Okey, had become a noteworthy performer in legitimate musical theatre and major Harlem dancehalls and adopted the crooning singing and recording style pioneered by Big Crosby[11] . As the 1920s turned to the 30s, Ellington had made appearances in two films, taken on Irvin Mills as his manager, extended the reach of his live radio broadcasts and signed an exclusive deal with Brunswick records, and in 1931 he left his residency at the Cotton Club to tour ballrooms and theatres across the US. When the Ellington Orchestra walked into the BBC studios in London just before 8.00pm on the 14th June 1933 they did so with the full weight of all these economic, cultural and musical practices swirling around them. What the next 45 minutes, and the following six years would mean for Ellington, jazz and the BBC were rooted in all that had come before and all that things could mean in the future

[1] Susan J. Douglas, Listening In : Radio and the American Imagination: From Amos ‘n’ Andy and Edward R. Murrow to Wolfman Jack and Howard Stern (New York, N.Y.: Times Books, 1999), 90.

[2] Stephen Barnard, On the Radio: Music Radio in Britain (Milton Keynes; Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1989).

[3] Michel Foucault and Colin Gordon, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980). Michel Foucault and Alan Sheridan, The Archaeology of Knowledge (London: Tavistock Publications, 1972).

[4] Foucault and Sheridan, Archaeology of Knowledge.

[5] The BBC’s Genome project, which makes full programme listings from The Radio Times available in an online searchable database (http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk) is an invaluable source for rich data source of information on planned programming and the way these programmes were framed by the BBC.

[6] Jim Godbolt, A History of Jazz in Britain 1919-50 (London: Paladin, 1986), 98, 109, 200.

[7] Catherine Parsonage, The Evolution of Jazz in Britain, 1880-1935 (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2005), 49.

[8] Barnard, On the Radio, 13.

[9] See, for instance, John C. Reith, Broadcast over Britain (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1924), 18.

[10] Parsonage, Evolution of Jazz in Britain, 221-260.

[11] William Howland Kenney, Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History, 1904-1930 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993) , 164.

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Studies of British Jazz February 17, 2013

Posted by wallofsound in British Jazz, Jazz.
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Up until recently studies of jazz in Britain have been few and far between. Here’s a selection of those that I’ve been using recently.

Harris jazz

Jazz – Rex Harris [Penguin, Pelican Books, 1956]
There are four and half pages devoted to jazz in Britain.

Decca Book of Jazz

The Decca Book of Jazz – Peter Gammond [Frederick Muller Ltd., London 1958]
There are two chapters on jazz in Britain and one on jazz in continental Europe.

Boulton Jazz in Britain

Jazz in Britain – David Boulton  [W H Allen, 1958; Jazz Book Club 1959]
The first extensive study of the development of jazz in Britain.

Newton Jazz Scene

The Jazz Scene – Francis Newton  [A Penguin special, 1961] 

Francis Newton was the pen name for British Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm. Includes an interesting study of the British Jazz Fan, 1958.

Carr Music Inside

Music Outside: Contemporary Jazz in Britain – Ian Carr [Latimer New Dimensions, 1973; Northway Publications 2008]

Important polemic about the state of British jazz in the 1970s

Cotterrell jazz Now

Jazz Now – Roger Cotterrell [Quartet Books in association with the Jazz Centre Society]

Godbolt 19-50

A History of Jazz in Britain: 1919-1950 – Jim Godbolt [Quartet Books, 1984]

Godbolt 50-70

A History of Jazz in Britain: 1950-1970  – Jim Godbolt [Quartet Books, 1989]

Innovations In British Jazz Volume One 1960-1980 – John Wickes [Sound World 1999]

McKay Circular

Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain – George McKay [Duke University Press 2005]

Parsonage

The Evolution of Jazz in Britain 1880-1935 – Catherine Parsonage [Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series, 2005]

Moore Brit Jazz

Inside British Jazz: Crossing Borders of Race, Nation and Class – Hilary Moore [Ashgate 2012]

Henning

Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers and Free Fusioneers: British Jazz, 1960-1975 – Duncan Heining [Equinox  2012]

Jazz on BBC Radio 1922 to 1959 May 28, 2012

Posted by wallofsound in Abstracts, British Jazz.
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Here’s an abstract for a book chapter I hope to write if the editors get the green light from the publishers. It’s a development of an earlier proposal that went up to 1980. Your suggestions and comments are, as always, very welcome.

This chapter provides a detailed study of the ambiguous role that jazz has played in the BBC’s broadcasts from its inception as a broadcaster to its maturity as a corporation in the late 1950s. It will examine the institutional politics that lay behind programming decisions, the forms of jazz transmitted, and the programme styles that developed.

Both as a music and as a social practice jazz seemed to defy the cultural categories that the BBC used to organise its broadcast output. From the beginning, BBC staff were in conflict over whether the new American phenomenon should be classified as music or variety, and so whether it deserved to be treated as a new form of chamber music or a turn in an entertainment programme.

The BBC had a dance orchestra as early as 1928, but jazz was understood to be a foreign import: exciting for some, dangerous to British culture for others.  There were broadcasts of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington band performances during their early 1930s tours, and Alistair Cooke’s American Jam Session later in that decade, but the Radio Rhythm Club and Jazz Club programmes did not start until the 1940s. By the end of that decade, the BBC had reorganised its output around three services, and jazz was mostly allocated to the Light programme, where the trad jazz scene was championed along with nostalgic big band programmes.

An interrogation of this history brings into sharp focus significant aspects of the BBC role as a key institution within British life, and the corporation’s uneven relationship with British and American art and popular culture.

Contemporary Jazz Collectives in the UK May 8, 2012

Posted by wallofsound in British Jazz, Jazz.
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Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester are broadly comparable UK cities based in the Midlands and the North of England, all several hundred miles from London. They each have self-sustaining vibrant jazz and improvised music scenes built around the activities of an impressively large contingent of young jazz players, many with close ties to the internationally-renown jazz performance courses found in each city. While they share some common features, a comparison between them raises some interesting differences. As we will reveal in greater detail later, these scenes are driven by ideas of jazz as a transnational progressive music, and collective organisation has developed as a means to sustain participation in what is understood by participants to be progressive music-making, even in the face of a difficult economic climate for such activities.

These localized scenes certainly reflect Will Straw’s (1997) suggestion that the local and the global are intertwined in the construction and development of localized music scenes. Straw contrasts a community, which he sees as a stable entity having a geographically-specific history, with a music scene which he presents as developing across geography, ever-changing and characterized by cross-fertilisation. This distinction between community and scene has proven to be a useful justification for the methodology presented here as this research found fluid and ever-changing relationships between all of the components within the scenes. To add further nuance, Sara Cohen’s primary analysis of other geographically-rooted scenes reveals a less confident conclusion: that scenes are fragile and threatened by cultural and technological change (Cohen 2007: 84). This work demonstrates that the fragility identified by Cohen is a central driver to the practices of adaptation and transformation in the music scenes we observed.

For the purposes of this article, the word ‘collective’ can be understood to describe a partnership of individuals who have achieved a creative or political consensus and who typically wish to operate via some sort of egalitarian system. Although jazz ensembles have historically been organized around the notion of a band and its leader, collective organisation is an idea that has had a great deal of power within jazz ideology. Jazz collectives have played a significant, yet neglected, part in the development of jazz having been associated firstly in the late 1950s and early 1960s with mainly black musical cultures in a range of American cities, and later with European approaches to free improvisation from the mid-1960s onwards. More recently, London-based jazz collectives of the twenty-first century, such as F-ire (Fellowship for Integrated Rhythmic Expression) and Loop, have been given attention by the jazz media. This article aims to examine collectives operating in cities outside of London, where the practice has received less attention, and where they take on different complexions and roles. We do, though, use published research on these other forms of collective organisation as a reference point in our discussion of our primary findings.   In particular, we are interested in the degree to which there are continuities or differences in cultural practice and meaning between these the collectives at the centre of our research and those in operation elsewhere or at an earlier time.

The notion of the ‘progressive’ within jazz is less easy to define, and we seek to understand the idea from the perspective of the musicians and scene we have studied, rather than to set a definition against which we evaluate their cultural practices. In DeVeaux’s study, focused upon ideas and practices prevalent in bebop, progress is a personal and collective sense of improvement, often associated with creating new and more demanding musical performances. In particular, this was linked strongly to music education, innovation, African-American identity and an anti-commercialism (36-42; 278-9). Studies of the 1950s and 60s black arts collectives, and of the 1960s and 70s European collectives have also highlighted many of these same ideas (see, for instance, Carr 1973/2008; Wickes 1999; Tapscott and Isoardi 2001; Looker 2004; McKay 2005: 191-241; Lewis 2008). In simple terms progressiveness is the attribute of musicians who make progress. While we see these ideas as part of the discursive repertoire open to young contemporary jazz musicians in Britain, we found that they were adopted and adapted in distinct ways.

In conducting this research, we started with a broad analysis of the political economic structure of each scene, before moving on to examine the cultural relationships and practices which governed music-making in each area. As part of this research we interviewed musicians who self-identified as members of jazz collectives operating in Birmingham, Leeds or Manchester from the lists of artists included in the web pages published by these collectives. We recorded interviews in person, or over Skype, with a range of musicians, promoters and course leaders in jazz studies programmes. In setting out our findings we have organized the article into three sections. We start with an examination of collective organisation in our selected cities, arguing that they developed to create an economically-viable way of pursuing collective interests in playing live jazz and improvised music. We follow this with an investigation of the way that these collectives create a meaningful scene from ideas and music cultural practices drawn from both the jazz tradition and wider popular music. We evaluate in what sense and to what degree this could be understood as a progressive practice. Our analysis suggests that forms of naming drawn from jazz history, along with distinct approaches to live music and improvisation, are used to distance this scene from the dominant organisation of popular music, and from other local jazz activity. Finally, we look at the significance of jazz education revealing that the role of performance courses is both central and yet complex within the scenes. Although a relatively modest, localized study, our findings suggest that the practices of musicians off the bandstand are as important as their live music-making. Equally, we find that the ways that these musicians engage with jazz’s past in the present, the permeability of the boundary between jazz and other forms of popular music for these collectives, and the inter-relationship of this localized improvised music to its global presence are all important in understanding contemporary jazz practice. We also raise some questions about the way that the relationship of jazz education to graduate careers is usually characterised.

In each city, the collective organisation of musicians, for all its similarities, has had strikingly different orientations. In Birmingham, the collective activity has tended to focus on the organisation of performances in live venues and the use of the internet as a branding, promotion, and connective tool. This activity has been particularly welcomed by the publicly-funded regional promoter, Birmingham Jazz (now known as Jazz Lines), in their attempt to find new audiences for jazz. By contrast, in Leeds, according to our interviews with early activists, the collective activity emerged as a means to create a space for what was seen as a more progressive form of music-making than that supported by existing local jazz institutions. In Manchester the collective action is most apparent as a public face through a record label, and large-scale music ensembles.

The majority of the examples presented here are from the Birmingham-based collective known as Cobweb (Creatives of Birmingham Web). As part of its online branding, Cobweb describes itself as an independent jazz and contemporary music collective made up of around 40 active musicians.[1] The collective attempts to promote its activities and provide a networking context in which Birmingham-based musicians can develop, collaborate and perform. The primary method employed by Cobweb to facilitate these activities is the organisation of regular live music events which have, over the years, taken place at a variety of venues across Birmingham such as the Yardbird and the Lamp Tavern (both in the city centre), the Brown Lion (in the city’s historic Jewellery Quarter), the Spotted Dog (in Digbeth, one of the city’s old industrial quarters redesignated as the cultural quarter), the Edgbaston Tap (in an upmarket suburb), the Drum (the black arts centre north of the centre), and the Cross (in Moseley, a Victorian suburb). Over the years the collective is recognized for its links to the following artists and ensembles: Aaron Diaz and Moon Unit, Chris Mapp and Gambol, Percy Pursglove, Sam Wooster and Husk, Sid Peacock and Surge and Macondo Village Band, Steve Tromans and the Howl Band, Lluis Mather and Noose, Jim Bashford, Rob Anstey, Mike Fletcher, Euan Palmer, Jonathan Silk and Sam Jesson. Many of these musicians are graduates of the Birmingham Conservatoire.

LIMA (Leeds Improvised Music Association) and EFPI of Manchester are collectives also closely affiliated with music schools, namely Leeds College of Music and The Royal Northern College of Music. LIMA (Leeds Improvised Music Association) characterizes itself as an experimental UK music collective engaging in musical activities ranging from performances in rock/DIY clubs, concert halls, and international music festivals, to interdisciplinary collaborations with architecture, dance, and film.[2] There are approximately 25 bands that have permutated from LIMA’s 17 members. The most recognisable name is arguably trioVD, however, the collective claims an association with Matthew Bourne, Chris Sharkey, Christophe de Bezenac, Dave Kane, Petter Fadnes, Chris Bussey, Colin Sutton, Kari Bleivik, Paul Hession, Simon Kaylor, Ståle Birkeland, Richard Ormrod, Maria Jardardottir, Ninon Foiret, Jonny Flockton, Paul Moore, Rus Pearson, Simon Beddoe and Elisabeth Nygård. It also acts as an umbrella organisation for bands like LIMA Orchestra, trioVD, Bilbao Syndrome, Metropolis, The Geordie Approach, Sonic Stories, Sharkestra, Minghe Morte, EGG3, Inertia Trio, Klubbeduppe, Melatonin, Mort Butane, Swinepipe, Røyst, Curious Voice Duo, Bourne/de Bezenac duo, Argentinian landscape project, Le Temps de la Brume, Stockpot Stopcock, The Electric Dr M, The Points System, The Thin Red Line, Conquistador and Dave Kane’s Rabbit Project.

EFPI is a record label based in Manchester comprising musicians and promoters who wish to explore improvised, jazz and experimental music.[3] Founded by Anton Hunter (The Noise Upstairs), Sam Andreae (Freedom Principle) and Ben Cottrell (Beats & Pieces Big Band), EFPI describe themselves as an umbrella organisation with the goal of promoting their own work and the work of musicians connected with them. On its website, the label claims to enjoy ‘healthy professional and artistic relationships’ with other UK musician-run organisations such as the F-IRE, Loop and Cobweb collectives.[4] EFPI have been affiliated with groups like Beats and Pieces Big Band, HAQ, Aaargh!, Silence Blossoms, 265 Quartet and Trio Riot. By way of comparison, London’s F-ire collective names 27 bands from 12 core members including Polar Bear, Finn Peters Quintet and Acoustic Ladyland. Loop collective claims 23 bands out of 17 core members. Outhouse is probably the most recognisable group to have emerged from Loop.

Although jazz as a form of music has been distributed primarily through records, and our understanding of its history and meaning is based upon these texts, at the heart of its music-making discourse is live performance, particularly the celebration of improvisation. In this age of recorded music and online music culture, we found that the notion of ‘liveness’ was still central to the ethos of the young musicians in these jazz scenes. Our analysis suggests that, in all three cities, it is possible to discern in the operations of a collective a clear political economic purpose: to create a financially viable space in which to pursue their interest in the artistic ideals of jazz. We also conclude that this speaks to the motivation of young musicians to work in diverse musical forms and to understand jazz performance, particularly improvisation, as a collective act that represents and communicates important values.

The musicians that have contributed to this study tend to view the life of a jazz musician as an attempt to fulfil artistic ideals. Describing the personal motivations of musicians in these local collectives, one Cobweb member remarked: ‘we decided that we wanted to be true to an artistic vision rather than to have something stable in a financial sense’ (interview with authors[5]). Given that a large number of musicians earned part of their living outside the collective scene, in teaching and doing the occasional lucrative function, gig or tour, it is notable how much of their interviews focused on the importance to them of the collective, and that the latter opportunities were most often presented as ways to earn enough to carry on with the artistic practices they valued.

The place of the musicians in our study within this semiotic and organisational field of practice is of interest here. First, the musicians we studied self-identified themselves as ‘collectives’ eschewing the naming systems in use in our pop and rock examples, which most often deploy nouns associated with larger forms of commercial production: ‘corporation’, ‘factory’, or ‘organisation’. It is also notable that the names of jazz collectives under analysis here specifically relate back to the first and second generation of jazz collectives. Cobweb, LIMA, and EFPI, along with London-based collective F-ire, use initials or acronyms to formulate their names in echo of AACM, BAG and PAPA or ICP and SME. Second, the contemporary collectives share an emphasis with the earlier collectives on a political economy and culture of live music-making, while these other examples broadly operate in the mediation and dissemination of music as recordings.

Nevertheless, none of the musicians who contributed to this research presented their activities as a serious attempt to reproduce the practices of jazz collectives from the past. A co-founder of LIMA remarked:

I don’t think we sat down and discussed the links with other collectives. What we saw with F-ire and the earlier European collectives was that it was a useful brand, and that if we stuck together under a certain umbrella, people would notice us.

In fact, as we have shown, the idea of collective organisation in the UK tended to be a London-based phenomena, and the bands that carried it into the 1980s and 1990s dispensed with the collective tag when they named themselves Jazz Warriors[6] and Loose Tubes, emphasising a black American post-bop tradition and a more British humour respectively. Collective organisation, as it pertains to jazz music making in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, is a localized phenomena with intrinsic links to city spaces, cultures and individuals. One thread that ties together most of this activity is the notion of achieving creative independence, expressed in these terms by a member of LIMA:

It’s the independence that you get. You don’t have to answer to anything or anyone. It’s empowering being able to do these things without having to ask for handouts. We had the ability to go out there and perform without spending any money on it.

While most jazz musicians within these scenes engage with collective practices in an attempt to sustain their artistic growth and remain true to an artistic vision of self-expression, in practice, the organisational work has as much in common with a DIY independent punk or rock aesthetic than typical pop or jazz production routines. Through the attention that these jazz musicians award to live performance and improvisation, it is evident that distribution and consumption are intentionally woven into the experiences shared by live audiences. Unlike labels such as Motown, jazz musicians tend to avoid repeat use of a stable cohort of musicians in different musical settings. Instead, each ensemble starts out with its own individual musical and artistic goals. Again, though, the young contemporary musicians do not connect their activities to the more overtly political founders of the DIY rock ethos, like Crass, nor do the activities themselves represent the sorts of collective political action promoted by the anarcho-punk movement.

For the jazz musicians who have participated in this study, the practices of collective organisation do signals independence, financial sustainability and artistic growth, even if these are not understood in the political terms of the past. Nevertheless, these are values that have great power in the lives of contemporary jazz musicians and are frequently employed and reflected upon by those working within urban jazz scenes. It is within these urban scenes that most live performance activity takes place and collective activity within jazz typically orientates around live work. When jazz musicians self-consciously describe themselves as being members of a collective, they are drawing upon, and pointing to, a range of attributes that they have identified as desirable, such as ideas of collective power, reinforcement of creative goals, shared economic resources and resistance to commercial influences.

An important aspect of this study is the role of jazz studies courses in these regional jazz scenes. The role of jazz education in jazz culture has been the subject of some debate since such courses became institutionalized in universities, schools of music and conservatoires. Stuart Nicholson’s contribution summarizes the common accusation that a standardized US approach encourages stylistic conformity contrasted with a more eclectic European approach (Nicholson 2005: 99-127). Nicholson’s discussion is limited only to issues of musical style and does not address questions that relate to the political economy and culture of self-sustaining scenes. In contrast, David Ake’s (2010) more thoughtful discussion of the role of jazz education notes its absence or marginalization as a theme in both jazz histories or contemporary analyses. He argues that jazz education is seen unfairly by its critics as ‘unhip’, stifling of innovation, and associated with conservative tendencies in jazz However, there has been very little research on the actual relationships between college jazz programmes and vitality or diversity in jazz scenes.

The fact that all three jazz scenes we examined were based in cities with internationally-known jazz programmes, and that large numbers of the collective members had studied on those programmes is prima facie evidence of the importance of jazz education in each of the scenes. As researchers, we initially speculated that perhaps the young musicians were applying lessons from their studies by taking direct inspiration from American or European collectives of the 1960s or 1970s. However, this is not the case. The jazz collectives in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester are not coherently or consciously operating in a tradition; the process is more organic and autonomous than expected and the inspiration for collective activity is more widely diffused. Neither do musicians appear to be learning didactic lessons from jazz history courses about how to organize themselves, but are instead taking inspiration from what is absent in the courses, such as a focus on free playing, improvisation, self-marketing and live work with a host of different musicians. To refer back to Straw’s comments about the construction and development of music scenes, the collective organisation of contemporary jazz musicians in the UK is less about the localized community and more about learning how to operate within an existing infrastructure in order to develop new, eclectic, potentially global scenes.

Historically, one way that musicians have learned about the philosophies and objectives of music collectives is through the free training programmes instituted by cooperatives like AACM and BAG. Dave Laing describes collectives like the AACM as ‘musicians’ self-help bodies’ (2002: 325), and these organisations have done a great deal to educate and empower musicians living in cities like Chicago and St. Louis. Likewise, the work of UK based collectives have long been associated with ideas of community music, or with the educational jazz outreach programmes of music schools (Carr 1973/2008; Higgins 2007; McKay and Higham 2011). While not overlooking the importance of self-help learning within the collectives, the existence of the jazz programmes is important at three levels. First they attract a sizable number of new and talented musicians from across the world to the cities each year. Many remain in the area, and these graduates form the backbone of each collective. Secondly, the structure of a jazz education, in which musicians must play with a range of other musicians in different combinations and playing different forms of jazz provides an encultured blueprint for the operation of the jazz collectives; members permutate themselves into different ensembles to enable them to play in a variety of different ways. The college courses, along with the institutions of the local scene, also seem to establish some sort of notion of the jazz establishment against which the activity of the collective is meaningful.

Members of Cobweb have noted that there is very little overlap between Conservatoire students and older, more established, Birmingham jazz artists. One Birmingham based jazz promoter saw this partly as a generational divide, but also a sense that the younger musicians view experimental expressions of avant-garde free playing to be their domain versus the more traditional straight-ahead jazz played by the older generation. One Cobweb member described his perception as follows:

People who go to music colleges tend to be younger, or perhaps a bit more open to learning new things about the music. If you’re prepared to waste thousands of pounds studying jazz at a Conservatoire, then you are probably more open to exploring things as an artist. If you haven’t had that, you’d probably be a bit more mainstream and go where the work is.

Contemporary jazz musicians who are also members of Cobweb characterize their pursuits as passion-led. A local jazz musician and member of Cobweb stated: ‘wanting to be better at your instrument and express yourself more easily is really the main thing. I don’t think anyone would go to the Conservatoire thinking ‘I want to be a jazz star and this is my route to it’. It’s more of a self-exploration thing.’ Indeed, these routes to self-exploration are rarely rewarded with personal fame or commercial success. The desire to explore the boundaries of artistic freedom can even conflict with the requirements of educational assessment, as one Birmingham-based jazz musician noted: ‘the more creative musicians might find it hard to exist at the Conservatoire because it’s hard for what they are doing creatively to be assessed within that criteria.’

We should first explicitly answer our version of DeVeaux’s question that we posed at the outset of this article. For these locally-based musicians at least, collective activity gives them an identity as a progressive jazz musician, the means to participate in the sorts of regular and diverse music-making situations they desire, and the opportunity to use improvisation as means of achieving a satisfying aesthetic experience. This is a notably different sense of progressive than that used by either DeVeaux’s bebop musicians, or the earlier generations of collectives. On could almost say it was an idea of progressiveness with out an overt political notion of progress. While use of the term collective, and the naming of the groupings themselves, ties back to other historically-located collectives, the practices adopted by the groups are not directly modeled on these collectives, but on ideas of the less politically-motivated end of the spectrum of DIY activities within rock music. The music colleges from which many of the collective musicians have graduated offer important lessons about the purity of musical experience and the technical skills to deploy them but, in the musicians’ minds at least, much of their activity is set in opposition to the colleges, and indeed the older local scenes.

This article has examined the conditions under which the production and dissemination of music are organized by young jazz musicians in three major UK cities. In particular we examined how collectivisation is institutionalized in the working lives of young jazz musicians to organize a series of live venue club nights into a viable scene, and allow then to play in a multiplicity of settings in what some of them understand is a postmodern take on jazz improvisation. We argue that the semiotics of collective organisation is as important to the musicians as its political economics. Both are more important than any sense of political progressiveness. This certainly suggests that the role of the European conservatoire, in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester at least, has a more complex relationship to graduate music-making than suggested by Nicholson.

We have also been able to point to questions in wider popular music studies about the economic organisation of music, and the relationship between the global and the local. These young musicians, at least for a while, turn their back on the traditional career paths of the recording industry, while at the same time using some of the basics of live music promotion and an approach to the branding of the music which gives a prominence to venue and collective over the single stable band or the single musician. Equally, it asks us to produce a sophisticate approach to understanding how contemporary practices relate to those of the past, to education, and the actions of an individual musician in a local scene to the globalized ‘planet jazz’.

Bibliography

Ake, D. (2010). Rethinking jazz education. Jazz matters: sound, place, and time since bebop. Berkeley, Calif.; London, University of California Press: 102-120.

Carr, I. (1973/2008). Music outside: contemporary jazz in Britain. [London], Latimer New Dimensions.

Cohen, S. (2007). Decline, renewal and the city in popular music culture : beyond the Beatles. Aldershot, Ashgate.

Higgins, L. (2007). “Growth, pathways and groundwork: Community music in the United Kingdom ” International Journal of Community Music 1(1): 23-37.

Laing, D. (2002). The Jazz Market. The Cambridge Companion to Jazz. M. Cooke and D. Horn. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 321 – 331.

Lewis, G. (2008). A power stronger than itself : the AACM and American experimental music. Chicago, University of Chicago Press ; Bristol : University Presses Marketing [distributor].

Looker, B. (2004). Point from which creation begins : the Black Artists’ Group of St. Louis. St. Louis, Missouri Historical Society Press.

McKay, G. (2005). Circular breathing: the cultural politics of jazz in Britain. Durham, Duke University Press.

McKay, G. and B. Higham (2011). Community music: history and current practice, its constructions of ‘community’, digital turns and future soundings. Swindon, Arts & Humanities Research Council.

Nicholson, S. (2005). Is jazz dead? : (or has it moved to a new address). London, Routledge.

Straw, W. (1997). Communities and scenes in popular music. The subcultures reader. K. Gelder and S. Thornton. London ; New York, Routledge: 494 – 505.

Tapscott, H. and S. L. Isoardi (2001). Songs of the Unsung: the musical and social journey of Horace Tapscott. Durham [N.C.], Duke University Press.

Wickes, J. (1999). Innovations in British jazz. Volume One, 1960-1980. Chelmsford, Soundworld Publishers,.


[1] http://cobwebcollective.com/wordpress/about

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leeds_improvised_music_association

[3] http://efpirecords.com/about-efpi

[4] http://efpirecords.com/about-efpi

[5] All quoted statements are from interviews with the authors. We have not included references to specific individuals, and in most cases the quotations represent views expressed more widely within our dataset.

[6] Jazz Warriors alumnus Courtney Pine, for instance, has pointed to the importance of Wynton Marsalis for the young black London jazz musicians in episode 3 of the Jazz Britannia (2005) documentary.

Tony Levin Discography 2000s February 20, 2011

Posted by wallofsound in British Jazz, Discography, Jazz.
2 comments

Mujician & Georgian Ensemble Bristol Concert (What Disc, 2000) x

Paul Dunmall – Saxes
Keith Tippet – Piano
Paul Rogers – Bass
Tony Levin – Drums
WITH 11-piece jazz group The Georgian Ensemble

Brass Wind Bells 7:48
Thoughts to Geoff 7:44
Dedicated to Mingus/Tortworth Oak 19:47
A Loose Kite 8:05
Slowly the Sunrise 6:50
Cider Dance 11:42
The Irish Girl’s Tear 4:11
Septober Energy 7:32

MujicianSpacetime Cuniform 162 2002

Paul Dunmall (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone);
Keith Tippett (piano);
Paul Rogers (double bass);
Tony Levin (drums).

1 Spacetime, Part 1
2 Spacetime, Part 2
3 Spacetime, Part 3
4 Spacetime, Part 4
5 Spacetime, Part 5
6 Spacetime, Part 6
7 Spacetime, Part 7
8 Exquisitely Woven Spiritual Communication, Part 1
9 Exquisitely Woven Spiritual Communication, Part 2
10 Exquisitely Woven Spiritual Communication, Part 3
11 Exquisitely Woven Spiritual Communication, Part 4
12 Exquisitely Woven Spiritual Communication, Part 5
13 Exquisitely Woven Spiritual Communication, Part 6
14 Exquisitely Woven Spiritual Communication, Part 7
15 Exquisitely Woven Spiritual Communication, Part 8

Victoria Rooms, Bristol, England (02/24/2001).

Paul Dunmall Octet The Great Divide 2001 Label Cuneiform Records √

Paul Dunmall Tenor Saxophone
Evan Parker Saxophone
Elton Dean Alto Saxophone
Oren Marshall Tuba
Simon Picard Tenor Saxophone
Lee Goodall Alto Saxophone
Keith Tippett Piano
Paul Rogers Bass
Tony Levin Drums
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
A Passage Though the Great Divide

Paul Dunmall/Philip Gibbs/Paul Rogers/Tony Levin Simple Skeletons 2001 DUNS Limited edition 014 x

Paul Dunmall, soprano and tenor saxophone;
Philip Gibbs, guitars;
Paul Rogers, bass;
Tony Levin, drums.

Simple Skeletons (05.12)
Logers Rocked Out (35.20)
Salt Licks (17.12)

Recorded on 7 May 2001 in the Victoria Rooms, Bristol.

Philippe Aerts Quartet Back To the Old World 2002 Igloo IGL162 √

Philippe Aerts bass
Bert Joris trumpet
John Ruocco sax tenor, clarinet
Tony Levin drums

1 Keep hope alive 07:31
2 Circle step 06:22
3 Forward 05:37
4 Riff-raff 09:04
5 Landsmark 04:09
6 Mr.Jones 06:11
7 Giant steps 07:31
8 Upper west side 05:47
9 For heaven’s sake 04:58

Gerd DudekSmatter 2002 PSI Records x

Gerd Dudek (saxophone);
John Parricelli (electric guitar);
Chris Laurence (acoustic bass);
Tony Levin (drums).

Recorded in 1998.

Paul Dunmall Octet Bridging the Great Divide Live 2002 CLEAN FEED CF017CD √

Paul Dunmall – Tenor Saxophone, Bagpipes;
Paul Rutherford – Trombone;
Malcom Griffiths – Trombone;
Gethin Liddington – Trumpet;
Simon Picard – Tenor Saxophone;
Keith Tippett – Piano;
Paul Rogers – Bass;
Tony Levin – Drums.

The Great Divide
Wind

Recreates the 2000 five-part movement recording of Great Divide (Cuneiform) live at the 2002 “Jazz em Agusto” festival in Lisbon.

JUCERich Core 2004 JUCE Records √

Pete Saberton (piano)
Fred T Baker (bass)
Tony Levin (drums)

1. You Do Something To Me – Cole Porter
2. Rich Core – Pete Saberton
3. Afternoon In Paris – John Lewis
4. Beautiful Feeling – Fred T . Baker
5. In Your Own Sweet Way – Dave Brubeck
6. Change Partners – Irving Berlin
7. Inner Urge – Joe Henderson
8. Processional – Fred T. Baker

Ali Haurand and Friends Ballads 2005 Konnex KCD 5145 x

Charlie Mariano
Gerd Dudek
Jiri Stivin
Alan Skidmore
Rob van den Broeck
Daniel Humair
Tony Levin

Deep Joy Trio Deep Joy Trio 2005 DUNS 041 x

Paul Rogers – 7-String Doublebass
Paul Dunmall – Bagpipes And Sax
Tony Levin – Drums

Disc A: 1. Don’t look down;
2. One more ledge to overcome;
3. Music for well being;
4. T.L.;
5. What have you seen yourself?
Disc B: 1. We care about this;
2. For you, us and them
Disc C: 1. The big giving;
2. Deep joy;
3. The eyes have it
Disc D: 1. The juggler;
2. One lifetime’s work;
3. Music for the Buddha;
4. How precious it is;
5. Courage friends courage

Mujician There’s No Going Back Now 2006 (Cuneiform) √

Paul Dunmall – Saxes
Keith Tippet – Piano
Paul Rogers – Bass
Tony Levin – Drums

There’s No Going Back Now

Recorded at Victoria Rooms, Bristol, England (06/12/2005).

European Jazz Ensemble 30th anniversary 2006 x

Charlie Mariano altosax
Stan Sulzmann saxophone
Alan Skidmore saxophone
Gerd Dudek saxophones
Jiri Stivin flutes & sax
Pino Minafra trumpet
Manfred Schoof trumpet & flugelhorn
Eric Vloeimans trumpet
Matthias Schriefl trumpet
Conny Bauer trombone
Rob van den Broeck piano
Joachim Kühn piano
Ali Haurand ld. & bass
Sébastien Boisseau bass
Daniel Humair drums
Tony Levin drums

Paul Dunmall, Miles Levin, Tony Levin The Golden Lake 2007 DUNS DLE055 x

Miles Levin – Drums
Paul Dunmall – Saxes
Tony Levin – Drums

Interview with Mike Connelly about Jazz Britannia April 25, 2010

Posted by wallofsound in British Jazz.
2 comments

Some weeks ago I interviewed Mike Connelly who was producer and co-director of Jazz Britannia. This UK-produced television documentary is described by the British Broadcasting Corporation as ‘a three-part landmark series charting the development of jazz in Britain – a musical journey which also reflects the enormous social changes of the post-war period’ (BBC 2005). The programme utilises an impressive wealth of archival material – clips from film, television and radio, still images, press cuttings, LP covers – as well as many original interviews with jazz musicians and critics, all organized into a chronological account narrated by British actor Terence Stamp. The interview was part of research on the series and I was primarily interested in finding out about the development of the programme and how Mike articulated its aims and achievements. he was particularly generous with his time, and even after judicious editing there is still enough audio for three short programmes.

This post contains the edited audio of the first third of the interview. Mike basically covers the origin of the series, including the influence of Gilles Peterson’s Impressed CDs and the importance of BBC4, the thrust of the story, his take on Ken Burns’ Jazz and his reasons for selecting Stan Tracey’s Under Milkwood as a key moment in the series narrative. You can access specific points in the interview by identifying the topics in my comments just below the audio wave.

Here’s a written summary of Mike’s points containing links so you can get at background you may not be familiar with.

In this interview Mike starts by explaining how the idea for the series developed. He remembers discussions with Mark Cooper (the series’ co-producer) stimulated by John Akomfrah’s 2006 programme Stan Tracey: Godfather of British jazz leading to the question: could we make a series about British Jazz? They discussed how one could tell the story and what archives they should use? And then Mike set to write the script for the series with Ben Whalley over a six-month period.

Mike notes that these discussions coincided with the release of Gilles Peterson’s ‘Impressed’ CD series of British Jazz from the 1960s: “that was really interesting .. the spur that was saying ‘we weren’t alone’ .. we were able to piggyback on that a bit.” Once they secured the commission Mike involved Tony Higgins (who wrote liner notes and programmed the Impressed releases).

Mike locates the Jazz Britannia series in two important developments within the BBC at the time: The increased utilisation of the BBC’s archives, and producing programmes which re-assess received history. He explains these in terms of the development of the project coinciding with the appointment of Janice Hadlow in July 2004 as Controller of BBC Four with a background including history and archives [Head of History Department, Reputations], and cultural television [The Late Show]. For Mike, this marked a period when archives became important for the BBC, first in theme nights when old programmes were re-broadcast around, and then utilised and reflected on in making new programmes.

“We have this vision; we have this history of post-war Britain and its very familiar, and we know the archive, and we know the narrative, we have a narrative in our heads that’s attached to pictures and the thing about the Britannia series which I was adamant about: was that we could go through the ‘short-hand’ that we have, so for instance we could go through those images and that story, but told from another perspective: so, they walked the same streets in swinging London, a community or a group, but they didn’t have the experience that we see on television. That wasn’t their experience. I thought that as kind of interesting way of approaching it.”

“The whole Britannia thing was that you take an outsider culture (which is what jazz was) set against what we believe to be the narrative of recent history, and particularly the television narrative, because it’s all these pictures that we think [of as the history], and that’s what I find interesting. And it’s a great story anyway.”

The producers pieced the history together from the records, only using published histories “’magpied’ them together”. Maybe Godbolt, probably Ian Carr. The history was broad stroke, quite simple, made more intricate by the interviews.

Mike didn’t like the Ken Burns Jazz documentary. For Mike, Buns didn’t know very much about jazz and by recruiting Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Crouch the documentary was fixed to one line of argument. “There has to be more voices” states Mike. He also takes issue (siding with jazz fans) with the assumption at the centre of the series that “after a certain point in the late 1960s that was it; that was the end of jazz.” However, Mike doesn’t see Jazz Britannia (with its strong emphasis on 1960s jazz) as a counter argument to Burns’ series. He argues “what we didn’t want to do – although I think we did, we fell into the trap – (of making) big claims for British jazz, but we didn’t want to constantly go back, there are markers to give context, but we didn’t want to constantly go back and forwards … to make comparisons with American jazz … It was a different story, I always felt.” The archive was stunning.

He also explained how they decided on the turning points. He is openly thoughtful, trying to recall why those were moments were selected. He identifies them as emerging from “from the story”. This is one of the moments of ambiguity in his account, because he brings forth both the idea of a narrative – the battle between trad and the moderns is his example – and he re-emphasises the importance of records as building blocks.

He agrees with me that the programme gives a key place to Under Milkwood. He references an accepted cannon – “it was a key record anyway” – but he also highlights Tracey’s involvement (presumably as pianist at Ronnie Scott’s) in the moment in UK jazz cultural history in which the ban on US artists was loosened, and finally that the record was based upon the work of a Welsh poet “somehow seemed to take us to the second part of the story; it was a spring broad into the Impressed generation”.

Mike accepts that he hadn’t been aware of most of the music on the Impressed compilations, and he discusses the extent to which he was influenced in structuring the programme by the compilations and subsequent re-releases of 1960s jazz.

Part Two of the interview follows soon.

Tony Levin Discography 1990s December 2, 2009

Posted by wallofsound in British Jazz, Jazz.
2 comments

Elton Dean The Vortex Tapes 1990 (SLAM 1992 CD)


Elton Dean – alto sax
Trevor Watts – alto sax
Simon Picard – tenor sax
Jerry Underwood – baritone sax
Paul Rogers – double bass
Tony Levin – drums
First Impressions

Four other tracks with other bands led by Elton Dean

1. Second Thoughts
2. First Impressions
3. Going Fourth
4. Third Time Lucky
5. Taking the Fifth

Recorded at The Vortex London 24-28/9/1990

Mujician The Journey 1991 (Cuneiform Records)

Paul Dunmall (saxophone);
Keith Tippett (piano);
Paul Rogers (bass);
Tony Levin (drums)

The Journey (Dunmall/Levin/Roger)

European Jazz Ensemble European Jazz Ensemble meets the Khan Family, India 1992 MA Music – Hamburg CD A 807-2

feat: Joachim Kühn, Philip Catherine, Ustad Munir Khan –

European Jazz Ensemble 25th Anniversary Tour 1992 Konnex Records, Berlin KCD 5100

(18 musicians from 10 European countries)
including: Joachim Kühn, Paolo Fresu, Alan Skidmore, Daniel Humair, Charlie Mariano

Brother Joe 12:42
Fellini 8:17
Green Table Speech 12:32
Traveller 12:38
Bötz 3:02
Salinas & Missing a Page 13:55
Three in One 14:50

The Quartet Live in Prague 1992 P&J Records CD 101-1

Sophia Domancich Reve De Singe 1993 Gimini Music

Sophia Domancich (piano)
Paul Rogers (bass)
Tony Levin (drums)

Rêve de singe…7’49
P.D.M….13’12
Dji dji up…6’16
Jocelyn…10’42
Cold shoulders 9’04
Blott on the landscape…9’44
Mon rêve familier…10’15
Lunch, the rabbit…8’59

Tony Levin & Paul Dunmall Spiritual Empathy 1994 Rare Music Recordings

Tony Levin, drums, percussion;
Paul Dunmall, alto and tenor saxophones.

Mandala 16.38
Centre dance 5.20
Circle of light 5.45
The faultless gaze 9.06
Dark centre 12.42

Recorded at Lanes End Studio, Kidderminster, on 15 December 1993 (Mandala) and on 6 May 1994 (all others).
Front cover wood engraving (reproduced above) by Paul Dunmall.
1994

European Trumpet Summit European Trumpet Summit 1994 Konnex KCD5064

Enrico Rava (Trumpet),
Allan Botschinsky (Trumpet),
Jarmo Hoogendijk (Trumpet),
Manfred Schiek (Producer),
Thomas Heberer (Trumpet),
Ali Haurand (Bass),
Rob Van Der Broeck (Piano),
Tony Levin (Drums)

Blaublusen
Cobra
Brother Joe
Anna Sophia
Pulque
Interaction

Mujician Poem About the Hero 1994 (Cuneiform)

Paul Dunmall soprano, tenor saxophones
Keith Tippet grand piano, wood blocks, plastic pan pipes, pebble, maraca
Paul Rogers five string double bass
Tony Levin drums, percussion

First Verse 7:48
Second Verse 9:34
Third Verse 23:33
Fourth Verse 1:33
Fifth Verse 30:40

Paul Dunmall Quartet, Sextet and BABU Trio 1994 SLAMCD 207

Quartet:
Paul Dunmall,
Simon Picard tenor saxes,
Paul Rogers bass,
Tony Levin drums.

Sextet – add Jon Corbett cornet and John Adams guitar.

Trio
Paul Dunmall,
Paul Rogers bass,
Tony Levin drums.

Dobunni
Moths and Spiders
In the Haddock
The Devil’s Chair
Scramasax
Apocalypse NPW and Then
Lert
Trickly Hausen
Shun Fat
Separate Balls

Kenny Wheeler Dream Sequence 2003 Psi

Ray Warleigh (alto saxophone & flute)
Stan Sulzmann (tenor saxophone)
John Parricelli (electric guitar)
Chris Laurence (double bass)
Tony Levin (drums).

1. Until – Kenny Wheeler Quintet
2. Drum Sequence
3. Dream Sequence
4. Cousin Marie
5. Nonetheless – Kenny Wheeler Quintet
6. Flower Is a Lovesome Thing
7. Hearken
8. Kind Folks

Recorded 1995-2003 at Gateway Studio

Philippe Aerts Cat Walk 1995 Igloo IGL116

Philippe Aerts double bass
John Ruocco saxophone tenor & clarinet
Toni Levin drums

1 Hotel Seventeen 06:54
2 Stray line 07:29
3 Off minor 06:20
4 Cat walk 06:04
5 Ray’s pay 10:11
6 Airegin 06:48
7 Three for Alfy 06:21
8 Just one of those things 06:39
9 Chelsea bridge 11:40

Sophia Domancich L’annee Des Treize Lunes 1995 Seventh 15

Sophia Domancich (Piano)
Paul Rogers (Bass)
Tony Levin (Drums)

OT
Three Of Louis
Emile
Parrots
Annie, Pierre Et Les Enfants
Min
Jimy

Elton Dean Quartet Two’s And Three’s 1995 (Voiceprint 95 CD)

Elton Dean – alto sax, saxello
Paul Dunmall – tenor sax
Paul Rogers – double bass
Tony Levin – drums

1. The Duke

Other tracks by other groups led by Elton Dean
Recorded in 1989,

Elton Dean Silent Knowledge 1996 Cuneiform

Elton Dean (saxophone, alto saxophone);
Paul Dunmall (tenor saxophone);
Sophia Domancich (piano);
Tony Levin (drums).

Gualcho
Sound Awake
First in the Wagon
Trains for Tooting

The Premises, London, England (06/01/1995).

Mujician Birdman 1996 (Cuneiform Rune 82)

Keith Tippett-piano, woodblocks, pebble, chines
Paul Rogers-double bass
Tony Levin-drums, percussion
Paul Dunmall-alto, tenor saxophones, Chinese shenai

Birdman
Bunkins
The Hands Are Just Shadows

Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra Feat Bill Dixon Enchanted Messenger: Live from Berlin Jazz Festival 1996 Soul Note 121284-2

Johannes Bauer with Celebration Orchestra
Bill Dixon
Frank Gratkowski
Stefan Holker
Alexsander Kolkowski
Tony Levin
Marcio Mattos
Phil Minton
Tony Oxley
Ernst-ludwig Petrowsky
String Quart

Section 1 – 19

1994 Berliner Jazztage

Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall, Barry Guy, Tony Levin Birmingham Concert 1996 Rare Music

Evan Parker
Paul Dunmall
Barry Guy
Tony Levin

Lion (26:33)
Lets Get Across (10:13)
Aquatics (16:57)
Four Freedom Plus (20:08)

Paul Dunmall and Tony Levin Essential Expressions 1996 Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1079

Paul Dunmall
Tony Levin

Dots and Circles
I Found An Angel
It Must Be Loose
Essential Expressions
Secret Notes

Gerd Dudek Crossing Level 1997 Konnex KCD 5077

Gerd Dudek
Rob Van Den Broeck
Ali Haurand
Tony Levin

Old Folks (6:34)
Don Cherry (5:39)
Wishing Well (5:57)
Expressions (9:15)
Wave (Intro) /The Meaning of the Blues (11:01)
String Thing (4:32)
No More Chains (7:40)
Melancholia (6:14)
You Don’t Know What Love Is (6:26)

Mujician Colours Fulfilled 1998 (Cuneiform)

Paul Dunmall (soprano & tenor saxophones, clarinet, bagpipes);
Keith Tippett (piano);
Paul Rodgers (acoustic bass);
Tony Levin (drums).

Colours Fulfilled (Pt. 1) 11:25
Colours Fulfilled (Pt. 2) 23:59
Colours Fulfilled (Pt. 3) 26:07
Colours Fulfilled (Pt. 4) 5:58

Recorded at Gateway Studio, Kingston, England on May 18, 1997.

Sophia Domancich La Part des Anges 1997 Gimini Music

Sophia Domancich (piano)
Paul Rogers (bass)
Tony Levin (drums)

11 Juillet
La Part Des Anges
Sur Les Traces
Ondine
Together
Corbeau Carnivore
Dalice
11 Juillet

Recorded July 1997 at Studio de Chennevieres.

European Jazz Ensemble 20th Anniversary Tour 1997 Konnex Records, Berlin KCD 5078

Paul Dunmall Desire and Liberation 1997

Paul Dunmall (tenor sax);
Simon Picard (tenor sax);
Gethin Liddington (trumpet);
Annie Whitehead (trombone);
Chris Bridges (trombone);
Keith Tippett (piano);
Paul Rogers (bass);
Tony Levin (drums)

Tenor Solo 8:59
Bass Solo 5:23
Trombone Duet 4:20
Tenor Solo [Picard] 6:54
Drum Solo 2:16
Trumpet Solo 5:16
Piano Solo 9:27

Tapestry Orchestra Live At Lemans (1998)

Paul Rutherford,
Paul Dunmall,
Elton Dean,
Louis Moholo,
Tony Levin
and others

Documents a live performance from May 1998

Paul Rogers Quartet Time of Brightness 1999

Paul Dunmall – Alto and Tenor Saxophone
Sophia Domancich – Piano
Paul Rogers – Five-String Double Bass
Tony Levin – Drums

Bear Moon I 10:03
Bear Moon II 8:13
Bear Moon III 12:31
Bear Moon IV 11:43
Time Of Brightness I 4:38
Time Of Brightness II 12:00

Paul Dunmall Octet Bebop Starburst 1999 Cuneiform RUNE112

Paul Dunmail, Simon Picard (tenor saxophone);
Gethin Liddington (trumpet);
Annie Whitehead, Chris Bridges (trombone);
Keith Tippett (piano);
Paul Rogers (bass);
Tony Levin (drums).

Bebop Starburst (Pt. 1) (:50)
Bebop Starburst (Pt. 2) (7:25)
Bebop Starburst (Pt. 3) (20:34)
Bebop Starburst (Pt. 4) (21:12)
Bebop Starburst, Pt. V (2:35)

Recorded at Gateway Studio, Kingston, United Kingdom on June 22, 1997. Includes liner notes by Bruce Coates.

Back to decade list

Tony Levin Discography 1970s December 2, 2009

Posted by wallofsound in British Jazz, Discography, Jazz.
3 comments

Alan Skidmore QuintetTCB 1970 Phillips

Alan Skidmore Tenor Saxophone
Mike Osborne Saxophone (tracks: B1-B4)
John Surman Saxophone (tracks: B1-B4)
Malcolm Griffiths Trombone
John Taylor Piano
Chris Laurence Bass
Tony Levin Drums

A1 Jack Knife
A2 Lantern Wood
A3 One On One Off
B1 T.C.B.
B2 Walk In And Dance Out
B3 A.J.
B4 And Think Again

Producer – Terry Brown

John Taylor Pause, And Think Again 1971 (FMR CD24-L1295)

Kenny Wheeler
Stan Sulzmann
Chris Pyne
ChrisLaurence
Tony Levin

Pause (6:30)
White Magic (8:00)
And Think Again (7:30)
Awakening / Eye To Eye (9:30)
Interlude / Soft Winds (11:06)

Norma WinstoneEdge Of Time 1971

Norma Winstone : voice
Mike Osborne : alto saxophone
Art Themen : tenor saxophone
Henry Lowther : flugelhorn
Kenny Wheeler : trumpet
Chris Pyne : trombone
Malcolm Griffiths : trombone
Paul Rutherford : euphonium
John Taylor : piano

1. Edge of Time
2. Perkins Landing
3. Enjoy This Day
4. Erebus (Son of Chaos)
5. Songs for a Child
6. Shadows
7. Song of Love

John Taylor Trio Decipher MPS 1973

John Taylor (Piano);
Chris Lawrence (Bass);
Tony Levin (Drums)

1   Cipher / Wait For Me
2   Leaping
3   Speak To Me
4   Song For A Child
5   White Magic

Nucleus Labyrinth 1973 (Vertigo 6360 091) (Reissued on CD BGOCD567)

Ian Carr (tpt/flhn) ;
Kenny Wheeler (tpt/fghn) ;
Norma Winstone (voc) ;
Tony Coe (bcl/cl/ts) ;
Brian Smith (ts/ss/fl) ;
Dave MacRae (elp) ;
Gordon Beck (elp) ;
Roy Babbington (b) ;
Clive Thacker (d) ;
Tony Levin (d) ;
Trevor Tomkins (pc) ;
Paddy Kingsland (syn)

1. Origins (Carr)
2. Bull-Dance (Carr)
3. Ariadne (I.Carr/S. Carr)
4. Arena (Carr)
5. Arena (Carr)[continued]
6. Exultation (Carr)
7. Naxos (Carr)

Recorded March 1973 – Phonogram Studios, London Engineer Roger Wake – Producer Ian Carr & Roger Wake

Gordon Beck’s Gyroscope One, Two, Three….Go! 1974 Jaguar Records. JS2

Gordon Beck: Piano, Electric Piano
Tony Levin: Drums, Percussion
Ron Mathewson: Bass, Electric Bass
Frank Ricotti: Vibes, Percussion
Stan Sulzmann: Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute

Nice One (19:50)
Variations/1st Version (9:35)
Variations/2nd Version (10:55)
One, Two, Three…Go! (18:35)

All tracks recorded live on Capital Radio in London, England April 1974.
Only released on cassette.

Neil Ardley, Ian Carr, Mike Gibbs, Stan Tracey Will Power 1975 ORIGINAL ARGO LP ZDA 164/165 (1975) STEREO

Norma Winstone and Pepi Lemer (voices)
Kenny Wheeler (trumpet, flügelhorn)
Tony Coe (reeds)
Paul Buckmaster and Colin Walker (amplified celli)
Gordon Beck, John Taylor and
Stan Tracey (electric and acoustic keyboards)
Ron Matthewson (double bass)
Tony Levin (drums)
Trevor Tomkins (percussion)

Sonnet (Mike Gibbs)
Shall I Compare Thee (Neil Ardley)
Charade For The Bard (Neil Ardley)
Alas Sweet Lady (Stan Tracey)
Will’s Birthday suite (Ian Carr)

John Surman and Tony Levin Live at Moers Festival 1975 Moers 1006

A1 Element Of Surprise (12:28)
A2 Resulting Confusion (4:40)
A3 A Solution Found (7:19)
B1 Journey In Hope (10:21)
B2 Speedy Preparation (8:13)
B3 A Little German Clap And You Have It (5:19)

Moers Music momu 01006

Stan SulzmannOn Loan With Gratitude 1977 Mosaic Records GCM 772

Ron Mathewson (Bass, Bass Guitar)
Tony Levin (Drums, Percussion – 2)
John Taylor (Keyboards, E.m.s. Synthi – 2)
Stan Sulzmann (Saxophones, Flutes )

A1 G.R.S. (8:40)
A2 Anagram (14:20)
B On Loan With Gratitude (Parts 1, 2, 3) (22:14)

All compositions by Stan Sulzmann.
Recorded 8th April 1977 at BBC Kensington House, UK.
Engineers: Pete Freshney, Paul Nickson

Go to 1980s

Tony Levin Discography 1960s September 27, 2009

Posted by wallofsound in British Jazz.
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Joe Harriott Live at Harry’s 1963 (Rare Music, 2006)

Joe Harriott Live at Harry's

Joe Harriott – Alto Saxophone
John Collins – Alto Saxophone/Baritone Saxophone
Colin Willetts piano
Fred Barnsley – Double Bass
Tony Levin – Drums

Sandu [12:26]
Cherokee [11:17]
Night In Tunisia [13:07]
I’ll Remember April [16:32]
Just Friends [8:40]

Tubby Hayes Addictive Tendencies 1966

Tubby Hayes  Addictive Tendencies

Tubby Hayes – Tenor Sax
Mike Pyne – Piano
Ron Matthewson – Bass
Tony Levin – Drums

CD 1:
Walkin’ [13:24]
Tubby’s “A Little Work Out” announcement [00:14]
Tubby’s “I Have A New Quartet” announcement [2:11]
Alone Together [25:53]
Tubby’s announcement [00:21]

CD 2:
Tubby’s announcement [00:19]
Off The Wagon [20:33]
Tubby’s announcement [00:12]
When My Baby Gets Mad Watch Out [12:30]
What Is This Thing Called Love [11:51]

Recorded England, UK 1966
Remastering Lee Goodall
Artwork Ian Muir
Produced Tony Levin

Tubby Hayes QuartetTubby Hayes Quartet Live at The Dancing Slipper Harkit

Tubby Hayes Quartet Live at The Dancing Slipper

Tubby Hayes (ts,fl),
Mike Pyne (p),
Danny Thompson (b),
Tony Levin (d).

Alone Together
Here’s That Rainy Day
What Is This Thing Called Love
Be Myself
Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
A Taste Of Honey

March 28th 1966 (Live at the Dancing Slipper)

Tubby Hayes with the Les Condon QuartetPeter Burman Presents Jazz Tete A Tete (Harkit)

Peter Burman Presents Jazz Tete A Tete

Les Condon (tp),
Tubby Hayes (ts),
Mike Pyne (p),
Ron Matthewson (b),
Tony Levin (d).

Freedom Monday
When My Baby Gets Mad-Everybody Split
(album also includes titles by Tony Coe Quintet and Frank Evans Trio).

Recorded at Bristol University, 18th November 1966.

Tubby Hayes QuartetFor Members Only

Tubby Hayes Quartet - For Members Only

Tubby Hayes (ts,fl),
Mike Pyne (p),
Ron Matthewson (b),
Tony Levin (d).

Dear Johnny B*
Mexican Green*
Dolphin Dance*
A Dedication To Joy*
You Know I Care**
For Members Only**
Finky Minky***
Change Of Setting***
Conversations At Dawn***
Nobody Else But Me***
Off The Wagon***
Second City Steamer***
This Is All I Ask ***
*January 23rd, 1967
**August 7th, 1967 (BBC broadcast)
***October 11th, 1967 (BBC broadcast)

Tubby Hayes QuartetMexican Green (Fontana FJL911)

Tubby Hayes Quartet - Mexican Green

Tubby Hayes (ts, fl-1),
Mike Pyne (p),
Ron Matthewson (b),
Tony Levin (d).

Dear Johnny B
Off The Wagon
Trenton Place-1
The Second City Steamer
Blues In Orbit
A Dedication To Joy
Mexican Green

February 2nd and March 3rd, 1967

Tubby Hayes and his Orchestra 200% Proof (Master Mix CD)

Greg Bowen, Ian Hamer, Les Condon, Kenny Wheeler (tp)
David Horler, Bill Geldard, Chris Pyne (tb)
Peter King, Alan Branscombe (as)
Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott (ts)
Harry Klein (bs)
Mike Pyne (p)
Louis Stewart (g)
Ron Matthewson (b)
Spike Wells (d)

The Inner Splurge

add
Jeff Clyne (b)
Tony Levin (d)

200 Percent Proof

Ian Hamer, Les Condon (tp)
Kenny Wheeler (flhorn)
David Horler (tb)
Tubby Hayes (ts)
Peter King (as)
Alan Branscombe (p)
Louis Stewart (g)
Jeff Clyne (b)
Spike Wells (d)

Octuple Blast

Kenny Wheeler (tp)
Chris Pyne (tb)
Tubby Hayes (ts)
Ron Matthewson (b)
Tony Levin (d)

Conversations At Dawn

Tubby Hayes (ts)
Chris Pyne (p)
Ron Matthewson (b)
Tony Levin (d)

Members Only

July 25th, 1969 (BBC broadcast)

Go to 1970s

Dudu Pukwana Diamond Express [aka Ubagile] 1975 November 1, 2008

Posted by wallofsound in British Jazz, Jazz.
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Dudu Pukwana Diamond Express 1975 Freedom FLP 41041

also released as Ubagile (Jazz Colours 874744-2)

Dudu Pukwana (Alto Saxophone)
Elton Dean (Saxello track 5)
Nick Evans (Trombone track 5)
Mongezi Feza (Trumpet)
Lucky Ranku (Guitar)
Frank Roberts (Keyboards tracks 1 to 4)
Keith Tippett (Piano track 5)
Ernest Mothole (Bass tracks 1 to 4) ,
Victor Ntoni (Bass track 5)
James Meine (Drums tracks 1 to 4) ,
Louis Moholo (Drums tracks 5)

1. Diamond Express
2. Bird Lives
3. Ubagile (See Saw)
4. Madodana (The Young Ones)
5. Tete And Barbs In My Mind

Recorded Autumn 1975, London

If you are not familiar with Dudu Pukwana, something of his background should indicate his importance in British jazz. He was one of the musicians who came together in the early 1960s South Africa in the multi-ethnic Blue Notes. You can imagine what the official response to such a group would be under the Apartheid regime of that time. The musicians relocated to Europe, and made their base in London. The Blue Notes fused multiple South African forms with African American jazz, and in Europe they engaged with the London, and wider European free movements. Pukwana’s music tended to emphasise the rhythmic patterns of both South African popular music, and African American funk with a acerbic emotionally charged alto playing style. His classic In the Townships is one of my all-time favourite records.

If you are familiar with Dudu Pukwana, but not with this recording a real treat lays in wait for you. For me, it is one of the most interesting record in the Pukwana discography. The first four tracks are by a group of Pukwana’s SA collaborators. They feature great rumbling rhythm section the drives the music. ‘Madodana’ is my favourite, featuring a percussion bridge built around Louis Moholo’s standard kit, and all the band on assorted clatter and shake. Frank Robert’s Fender Rhodes gives it a funky feel, and Pukwana and Feza are great if a little in the sidelines. ‘Ubagile’ is typical of Pukwana’s township jive, although his playing is a little more laid back, and Robert’s keyboards are mixed up higher than the alto. Sometimes Pukwana sounds like he’s fighting to be heard. ‘Tete and Barbs in my Mind’ is completely different. This is obviously due to the addition of Elton Dean on saxello and particularly Keith Tippett on piano. Pukwana is now far more strident, and higher in the mix, and matches Tippett’s discordant but very grand playing and the bands unison rich SA melodies. Mongezi died soon after this recording; a great loss to a great community of jazz players.

I’m not sure how this came to be originally issued on Arista’s Freedom label, but copies of the original LP are quite hard to find. It was rereleased on by the German DA music label Jazz Colours as Ubagile. Now seemingly OOP, I think a few more people should know this great music.