from “Withdrawal” 1997
recorded 1966 September/October
Photography By – Jak Kilby, Vicente Fernandez
Spontaneous Music Ensemble at Better Books London 1967 from left to right: Rutherford,Bailey,Guy,Stevens,Watts,Parker
KENNY WHEELER trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion
PAUL RUTHERFORD trombone, percussion
TREVOR WATTS oboe, alto saxophone, flute & voice, percussion
EVAN PARKER soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, percussion
DEREK BAILEY amplified guitar (on 5-11 only)
BARRY GUY double bass, piano
JOHN STEVENS drums & cymbals, percussion,composer
notice: I do not own the music or picture!
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Excerpts from sleeve notes (info from subradar.no):
Here is a missing link between the first two Spontaneous Music Ensemble (SME) recordings to be published. The music on CHALLENGE (recorded 1966 March) is mainly free jazz, with composed themes framing improvisations which are mostly accompanied by the rhythm section. On the other hand, KARYOBIN (recorded 1968 February) is radically different – a distinctive, translucent group improvisation with virtually no traces of jazz left. (Some earlier recordings of this highly influential SME or “atomistic” approach were recently issued as SUMMER 1967 .)
This CD, however, does not give the whole interim story – thirty years later one can only listen to the aspects that were recorded. The SME was then a collective grouping with John Stevens and Trevor Watts being the prime movers (and composers). Regular performances, mostly at the Little Theatre Club in London, featured some or all of these seven musicians (plus a few others) in various combinations, using pre-composed material at times. All the while, new approaches were being tried, but many did not make it to tape.
WITHDRAWAL was composed and recorded as the soundtrack to a 35 minute film of the same name, produced and directed by the American George Paul Solomos. The film was hardly begun, due to a funding crisis and a dispute with the British Film Institute. However, two (slightly imperfect) mono tapes of music, recorded to be used as the soundtrack, have survived. Special mention must be made of Kenny Wheeler’s very fine playing in what is almost a concerto on PART 1, with Paul Rutherford’s trombone and Trevor Watts’ oboe providing most imaginative foils. PART 2 contains particularly excellent playing by Watts (on alto saxophone) and Wheeler. As before, Barry Guy’s role is limited to providing a flexible drone.
For the next three months Stevens was resident in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, with one or two other SME musicians joining him for shorter periods. The group still continued during this period under the direction of Watts, who also invited Derek Bailey to join them at the Little Theatre Club, so that when Stevens returned, the group comprised seven musicians who all went on to have very distinguished careers in free improvisation and/or other areas of music.
MARTIN DAVIDSON (1997)