Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-07-14 - 8:13 a.m.

I listened to Slightly All the Time last night and marvelled. I have been thinking about avant proto-progressive bands. Soft Machine in 1963, the Maclaughlin/Bond mp3 from the ssme date and Joseph Holebrooke. AMM was C Cardew and JH had Bryars, Bailey and Oxley. Oxley played on Extrapolations – and married the sometime singer from HORN – which was a 1968 echo of that pioneering wave. SALT is for me the masterwork from that trajectory although others will see it differently and go for something with more freedom. Others would say that Extrapolations is the culmination and I have to say its pretty hot.

By the end of the 60s there is a divide between the free end of business and the jazzrock end – as far as the UK is concerned – although obviously not in the US – where many consider Miles touring band of 1970 ish with Jarrett and the Motown bassplayer Henderson to be the culmination – and that was plenty free. In the Bailey book, Oxley says that he was rather painted into a corner by Extrapolations which was less free than his preferred style.

JH didn’t last that long – not to the end of the 60s – and after that Bryars didn’t play bass for nearly 20 years. Jesus blood looks like art – esp the film version which David Cunningham showed last year. Talking of whom I have been listening to a long 1997 piece of his – slightly mid80s Eno-ish – Wednesday Afternoon etc – nice music to drive to – drones and overtones.

But back to 1963 – the really interesting point is that the US pioneers and experiments have by that date seeded the emerging jazz underground avant scene in the UK – so something is there to build on by the time pop becomes experimental in 1965. As I sometimes recollect – the first time I gigged with Tintagel at the Middle Earth in 1967, classic Elektra era Fairports were on the bill, plus Chris Macgregor’s Brotherhood of Breath which was doing free music with all the heat of South African liberation.

Within UK jazz in the 60s there is a mildly more conservative stream Rendle-Carr, Westbrook, Collier – I still have several vynil LPs from those groups. Bob Brierly who I met at Owen Bryce’s jazz class used to play with Don Rendle – who had Graham Bond on alto in his band circa 1963. Bob got to study the Tristano method from Peter Ind. Later he would drag me off to see Warne Marsh – another Tristano student of incredible gifts – in fact there was a piano less quartet with Konitz and Marsh which toured in the 70s.

There is a tale of Lee Konitz touring UK universities in 1966 with JH as a backing band. The Bailey book relates that while he was improvising Konitz (who had played with Miles on the 1949 Capitol tracks which invented cool jazz ) would have a small radio in his pocket with an ear piece tuned to Radio 3. So in his improvisational world – unknown to the audience – he would be playing off Mozart or Berg or Monteverdi or whoever was on. That is really something – bebop meets Cage.

I talked a bit to Geoff (Dave Dee etc) about Mitch Mitchell – I said that I thought that Hendrix found it in NYC 65-66 – but that strangely he seemed to have missed Elvin Jones. Geoff hadn’t heard the (well documented) tale of Hendrix reaction to MM playing him the Trane 4tet. Geoff who is a technical master said he had the utmost respect for MM – I think he had interviewed him. He said that the two other Experience members found life hard afterwards – in his view because nothing could compare.

Wheeler said something about being in a band with Geoff.

I also listened to a tape of early 90s Manchester mixes which floated to the surface. There is a link through – if you agree with Village Voice that Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle are the spirit of 68 ten years on.

Denise mailed about MM which seems to be gathering a lot of momentum. Just as well I started practicising early. I mailed Capt P about this and suggested it would be good if he got his video camera to that event. Interesting interview with P J Harvey about depression in G2.

Lamont Young performance promoted on KK news

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