A history of Jazz Music

by Piero Scaruffi
See also the The History of Rock Music and the The History of Pop Music
Back to the History of Jazz Music | Jazz musicians | Main jazz page
To purchase the book

TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi. All rights reserved.
All photographs are property of the label/agency that provided them



(These are excerpts from my book "A History of Jazz Music")

Creative music: European creativity

Europe had lagged behind the USA until the 1950s. Jazz music was "black", and "blacks" were "Americans". World War II did much to export the music to Europe, but few European musicians were comparable in achievements and influence to the Americans. It was free jazz that definitely broke the barrier. European musicians enthusiastically endorsed free jazz, and soon became masters and innovators of the genre. European jazz matured at about the same time that Chicago's "creative" music was beginning to spread out of Chicago. Europe embraced their extreme form of free music. In fact, they did so much earlier than USA critics realized how important the likes of Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell were. Thus it became popular for USA musicians to sojourn in Europe for several years (Anthony Braxton in 1969, Roscoe Mitchell's Art Ensemble Of Chicago in 1969, Steve Lacy in 1969) the same way that in the past it had been the norm for Europeans to relocate to the USA.

During the 1970s the foundations were laid for important national schools to spring up in all the major western European countries, notably the northern ones. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Creative music: Holland

In Holland the most important institution was the Instant Composers Pool, founded by Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink and Wilhelm Breuker in 1967.


Dutch (Ukrainian-born) pianist Misha Mengelberg graduated from the conservatory in 1964 after participating in the John Cage-inspired artistic movement Fluxus. He debuted with Driekusman Total Loss (december 1964), credited to a Kwartet featuring alto saxophonist Piet Noordijk, drummer Han Bennink and bassist Gary Peacock, that contained three lengthy pieces in a free style (Driekusman Total Loss, Nature Boy, If I Had You) and The Misja Mengelberg Quartet (march 1966), containing other lengthy pieces (Auntie Watch Your Step, Driekus Man Total Loss, Journey). For a few years he was mainly involved in the improvised recordings of the "Instant Composers Pool" series with other improvisors, notably Instant Composers Pool 002 (may 1968), containing Amagabowl for a trio with altoist John Tchicai and Bennink, Instant Composers Pool 005 (march 1970), in a quartet with Tchicai, Bennink and guitarist Derek Bailey, Groupcomposing (may 1970), with trombonist Paul Rutherford, tenorist Peter Broetzmann, soprano saxophonist Evan Parker, altoist Peter Bennink, guitarist Derek Bailey and Bennink that inaugurated the ICP Orchestra (Instant Composer's Pool Orchestra), and Instant Composers Pool 010 (march 1971) in a duo with Bennink. Other duets with Bennink (on all sorts of percussion noises) yielded Coincidents (june 1973), Einepartietischtennis (may 1974), Midwoud 77 (march 1977), Instant Composers Pool 023 (july 1979). The duo also recorded Yi Yole (september 1978) with altoist Dudu Pukuwana, and 3 Points and a Mountain (february 1979) with Peter Broetzmann on saxophones and clarinets. These albums displayed Mengelberg's debt towards Thelonious Monk and other jazz greats, but mainly his (and Bennink's) bizarre language of humorous noises and detours, better codified in the Suite Banana on his solo album Pech Onderweg (february 1978). A quartet with trombonist Paul Rutherford, altoist Mario Schiano and Bennink recorded the four-movement improvisation Tristezze di Sanluigi on A European Proposal (april 1978).
Mengelberg also played on and composed for the ICP Tentet's ICP Tentet (april 1977) and Tetterettet (september 1977). Mengelberg and Bennink were, above all, the pillars of the ICP Orchestra, a rotating ensemble of improvisors that recorded Live Soncino (september 1979), with trumpeter Enrico Rava, saxophonist Gianluigi Trovesi, tuba player Larry Fishkind and other Italian musicians, Japan Japon (may 1982), with trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, saxophonist Peter Broetzmann, viola player Maurice Horsthuis, Fishkind, trombonist Walter Wierbos, clarinetist Michael Moore, etc, Caravan (same session), Extention Red, White & Blue (may 1984), with soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, cellist Ernst Reijseger, Wierbos, Fishkind, Moore, Horsthuis, etc, Two Programs (may 1984), with Lacy, trombonist George Lewis and others, devoted to Mengelberg's heroes, Bospaadje Konijnehol I (november 1986), containing Mengelberg's suite De Purperen Sofa, with George Lewis, Maurice Horsthuis on viola and Ernst Reijseger on cello, Bospaadje Konijnehol II (november 1990), containing Mengelberg's eight K-Stukken and Mengelberg's four-part suite Tegenstroom. Mengelberg's music for larger ensembles was permeated by the same absurdist circus-like atmosphere of his duets with Bennink but it augmented it with ambitions worthy of chamber music.
Mengelberg finally returned to the solo format for the 13 Impromptus (june 1988), another kaleidoscope of madcap proto-folk nonsense, that was followed by Mix (may 1994) and Solo (december 1999). These solo albums delivered his cacophonous vision uncensored and unedited.
The other main outlet for Mengelberg's "compositions", the ICP Orchestra, became a tighter and more focused affair on Jubilee Varia (november 1997), containing two more Mengelberg suites, Jubilee Varia Suite and Jealousy Suite, performed by Wierbos, Moore, Reijseger, trumpeter Thomas Heberer, clarinetist Ab Baars, cellist Tristan Honsinger, bassist Ernst Glerum and Bennink.
More than anyone else, Mengelberg found the missing link between free jazz and Dadaism and John Cage's "alea". TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Dutch drummer Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg's trusted percussionist since 1963 and a co-founder of the Instant Composer's Pool in 1967, help coin the language of European free improvisation through a number of duo and trio recordings, notably: New Acoustic Swing Duo (1967) with saxophonist Willem Breuker, Instant Composers Pool 002 (may 1968) with Mengelberg and alto saxophonist John Tchicai, Instant Composers Pool 004 (july 1969) with guitarist Derek Bailey, The Topography of the Lungs (july 1970) with Bailey and saxophonist Evan Parker. Bennink also anchored the trio of tenorist Peter Broetzmann and pianist Fred Van Hove on Balls (august 1970), Broetzmann/ van Hove/ Bennink (february 1973), Einheitsfrontlied (march 1973) and Tschus (september 1975); and joined the Globe Unity Orchestra in 1970 and the Company in 1976. His gargantuan solo albums were Solo (1972), Nerve Beats (september 1973), on which he even used a rhythm machine, Solo West/East (october 1978), Tempo Comodo (september 1982). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Dutch saxophonist Willem Breuker formed a big band at the age of 22 and recorded Contemporary Jazz for Holland (october 1966), that contained the politically-charged Litany for the 14th of June 1966. However, it was a duet with Willem Breuker, New Acoustic Swing Duo (december 1967), that inaugurated the golden age of Dutch improvised music. He had co-founded the Instant Composers Pool with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg, but did not share Mengelberg's view of "instant composing" preferring a more traditional way of composing and a theatrical approach. Breuker's variant of ICP placed more emphasis on instrumentation, as proven by Lunchconcert For Three Barrel-organs (march 1969), and retained a passion for traditional formats, such as the opera The Message (january 1971), the theatrical soundtrack De Onderste Steen (december 1974), as well as several film soundtracks.
His masterpiece was Instant Composers Pool 007/008 (1971), that contained two 20-minute compositions: Song of the Lusitanian Bully (march 1969) for trombone (Willem van Manen), gachi (Han Bennink), bagpipes (Peter Bennink) and organ (Rob du Bois), and Lass Mich Nicht Weinen IV (november 1969) for reeds (Breuker), piano (Rob du Bois), bass and percussion. Each was a cartoonish, collage-like, Frank Zappa-inspired accumulation of sonic events.
Breaking up with Mengelberg's concept of "instant composition", Breuker formed the Kollektief (usually a tentet) to perform his compositions, whose recordings typically bridged the swing era and the free era. Among his scores (many originally devised for the theater) performed by the Kollektief were: De Achterlijke Klokkenmaker (december 1974) for three saxophones, flute, piano, flugelhorn, trombone, tuba, drums (plus "voices and noises"); La Plagiata for three saxes, flute, trumpet, flugelhorn, two trombones, piano, bass, drums, documented on The European Scene (october 1975) and Live In Berlin (november 1975); the 16-minute Summer Music, off Summer Music A Paris (february 1978); the masterful Kleine Amsterdam Rhapsodie (1980) off Muziek In Amsterdam (march 1980); the double-LP In Holland (may 1981) for a tentet, with Ouverture and Marche Funebre, two of his most emotional pieces; Spanish Wells, off Rhapsody in Blue (february 1982); Driebergen Zeist, off Driebergen Zeist (september 1983); the colossal Psalm 122 (february 1988) for jazz tentet, string ensemble, choir and barrel organ; the 11-movement suite To Remain (april 1989); the five-movement suite Hunger (august 1989); the mini-opera Der Kritiker, off Heibel (december 1990); the ballet music Dans Plezier/ Joy Of Dance (september 1995). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Dutch keyboardist Fred Van Hove contributed to that season with Requiem for Che Guevara (november 1968), that featured Willem Breuker on reeds, Han Bennink on percussion, Peter Kowald on bass, two saxophonists and a trombonist.

Dutch pianist Leo Cuypers crafted the Johnny Rep Suite, off Live In Shaffy (september 1974), and the Zeeland Suite (september 1977). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Dutch bassist Maarten Altena, one of Willem Breuker's trusted collaborators from 1969 till 1973 and a member of Derek Bailey's Company from 1976 till 1977, revealed his dadaist spirit with the solo albums Handicaps (july 1973), played with a broken wrist, and Tuning The Bass (may 1975). K'ploeng (december 1977) featured collaborations with various musicians at the border between free-noise improvisation (led by guitarist Derek Bailey), chamber music (clarinet, cello, viola, mandolin) and childish provocation (the instrumentation included cigar box, balloons, toys, crackle synthesizer). After a trio with trombonist Guenter Christmann and drummer Paul Lovens,documented on Weavers (june 1980), a drum-less quartet with Maurice Horsthuis on viola, Maud Sauer on oboe and Paul Termos on alto saxophone became the main vehicle for Altena's unconventional improvisations: Op Stap (february 1980), Pisa (june 1980), Papa Oewa (june 1978) and Veranda (february 1982), Miere (july 1983), Rondedans (december 1984). The rhythm-less chamber approach was further radicalized by Tel (october 1982), that inaugurated the octet: bassoon (Lindsay Cooper), trumpet (Kenny Wheeler), trombone (Wolter Wierbos), oboe (Sauer), alto saxophone (Termos), violin (Maartje ten Hoorn), piano (Guus Janssen) and bass (Altena). Altena progressively distanced himself from free improvisation and rediscovered composition, melody and the song format, becoming a sophisticated composer of the trans-avantgarde. Rif (august 1987), Quotl (december 1988), Cities And Streets (october 1989), Code (december 1990) refined his hyper-fusion for chamber jazz octet (typically, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, saxophone, violin, piano, bass and percussion). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Creative music: Germany

In Germany the focal point of free jazz was the FMP collective, founded by pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, saxophonist Peter Broetzmann and trumpeter Manfred Schoof.


German multi-instrumentalist Guenter Hampel, originally a vibraphonist, was credited with starting the free-jazz scene in continental Europe in 1964 when he formed a quintet with trumpeter Manfred Schoof and pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach that recorded Heartplants (january 1965). Hampel played vibraphone, flute and bass clarinet (that would remain his three main instruments), but composed only one of the five titles. The quartet of Assemblage (december 1966), with Willem Breuker on several saxophones and clarinets, was a far more decisive unit, and Hampel stepped up as a composer with the 22-minute Assemblage and the eleven-minute Heroicredolphysiognomystery.
Relocating to Europe in 1967, the American black vocalist Jeanne Lee joined Hampel's and Breuker's quartet on Gunter Hampel Group + Jeanne Lee (april 1968). Hampel's growing confidence as a leader/composer and Lee's acrobatic vocals highlighted The 8th of July 1969 (july 1969), that also added American saxophonist Anthony Braxton to the Hampel-Breuker-Lee quintet and contained the 18-minute Morning Song and the 25-minute Crepuscule. The magic combination of Hampel's conduction and Lee's decoration permeated Ballet-Symphony (january 197O) for a quintet with Hampel, Lee, cello, bass and drums; People Symphony (march 1970), that added Breuker on clarinet and tenor sax as well as Willem van Manen on trombone; Out Of New York (july 1971), for a quartet with clarinetist Perry Robison and a bassist performing Hampel's seventh and eight symphonies; Spirits (august 1971), a trio with Robinson; Familie (april 1972), a spectacular trio with Braxton, Waltz For 11 Universes In A Corridor (june 1972), a trio with violinist Toni Marcus containing Waltz for 3 Universes in a Corridor and Galaxie Sun Dance. Most of these albums were taken up by lengthy eponymous improvisations, that Hampel painstakingly numbered according to the conventions of classical music.
Hampel and Lee then formed the Galaxie Dream Band, still a nine-piece unit on the colossal jam Angel (may 1972), but, after I Love Being With You (july 1972), the imposing Broadway (july 1972), Unity Dance (june 1973), and Out From Under (january 1974), the first collection of shorter pieces, expanded to an eleven-piece ensemble for Journey to the Song Within (february 1974), that contained Bolero. The Galaxie Dream Band shrank back to an octet for the double-LP Celebrations (june 1974) and to a sextet for Ruomi (october 1974), that did not feature Lee, and then expanded again to an octet (with Lee and Braxton) for Enfant Terrible (september 1975). Transformation (september 1976), by a classic line-up featuring Lee, Robinson, Schoof and flutist Thomas Keyserling, and All Is Real (november 1978), by a quintet with Lee, Robinson, Keyserling and a percussionist, marked a return to the extended format. Despite being reduced to a quartet (with Robinson, Keyserling and a percussionist), the combo was still called Galaxie Dream Band on Vogelfrei (october 1976).
The collaborations with Lee went beyond the Galaxie Dream Band: Cosmic Dancer (september 1975) for a quartet with Lee, Robinson and drummer Steve McCall, and especially Freedom Of The Universe (june 1978), that contained another lengthy meditation, and the double-LP Oasis (july 1978).
Hampel resurrected the Galaxie Dream Band (now a sextet with Lee) for the album-long improvisation of All the Things You Could Be If Charles Mingus Was Your Daddy (july 1980), and (as a quartet with Lee and Keyserling) for the shorter pieces of A Place To Be With Us (january 1981), and (as a quintet with Lee, Robinson and Keyserling) for Life On This Planet (july 1981), that contained the side-long Infinite Transparencies.
Hampel and Lee pursued their partnership until Lee's death in 2000, notably on Companion (november 1982), for a trio with Keyserling, and Celestial Glory (september 1991), for a quintet with Lee, Keyserling, Robinson, saxophonist Mark Whitecage, containing the 26-minute As If It Were A Bridge. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


German trumpeter Manfred Schoof inaugurated the German free-jazz scene with his Quintett of 1966 (tenorist Gerd Dudek, pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, bassist Buschi Niebergall, drummer Jacki Liebezeit) and inaugurated the FMP catalog with European Echoes (june 1969), credited to the Manfred Schoof Orchestra (three trumpets, Gerd Dudek and Peter Broetzmann on tenor, Evan Parker on soprano, Paul Rutherford on trombone, Derek Bailey on guitar, the three pianos of Fred Van Hove, Alex Schlippenbach and Irene Schweizer, three basses including Peter Kowald and Buschi Niebergall, two drummers including Han Bennink). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


German extremely dissonant saxophonist Peter Broetzmann, who studied visual arts and joined the Fluxus movement, accompanied Don Cherry before forming in 1965 an influential trio with bassist Peter Kowald and drummer Sven-Ake Johansson that recorded For Adolphe Sax (june 1967), containing the volcanic eruptions of For Adolphe Sax (19 minutes) and Morning Glory (16 minutes), and eventually merged into Alexander Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra.
His torrential, incendiary language, partially borrowed from Albert Ayler's harshest tones after removing the lyrical subtleties, set the pace for Broetzmann's 17-minute Machine Gun, Van Hove's ten-minute Responsible and Breuker's eleven-minute Music for Han Bennink on a seminal recording of European free-jazz, Machine Gun (may 1968), performed by an octet with three saxophonists (Broetzmann, Willem Breuker, Evan Parker), piano (Fred Van Hove), two basses (Kowald and Buschi Niebergall), two drummers (Han Bennink and Johansson). Sheer intensity replaced the concepts of order and structure.
Nipples (april 1969) contained the 15-minute timbral nightmare Tell a Green Man by a quartet with pianist Fred Van Hove, bassist Buschi Niegergall and Dutch drummer Han Bennink, and the 18-minute collective maelstrom Nipples by a sextet with tenor saxophonist Evan Parker, guitarist Derek Bailey, Van Hove, Niegergall and Bennink.
Another furious performance of the time, the 36-minute Fuck de Boere (march 1970), off Fuck de Boere (2001), featured Breuker, Parker, Van Hove, Bennink, guitarist Derek Bailey and four trombones (Malcolm Griffiths, Willem van Manen, Buschi Niebergall, Paul Rutherford).
Trimming down the line-up to a trio with only Van Hove and Bennink, Broetzmann recorded the exuberant Balls (august 1970), with the 14-minute Balls and the eleven-minute De Daag Waarop Sipke Eindelijk Zijn Nagels Knipte, En Verder Alle Ander.
Augmented with trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, the trio indulged live in the 20-minute Florence Nightingale, the 15-minute Elements, the 21-minute Couscouss de la Mauresque, the 19-minute Wenn Mein Schaetzlein auf die Pauke Haut and the 23-minute The End, first documented on Elements, The End and Couscouss de la Mauresque, and later collected on Live In Berlin (august 1971).
The trio jammed with 15 children in the four-side long Free Jazz und Kinder (april 1972). Then, appropriately, recorded the childish Broetzmann/ van Hove/ Bennink (february 1973), featuring Broetzmann on alto, tenor, baritone and bass saxophones as well as on clarinet, Van Hove on piano and celesta and Bennink on all sorts of percussion including a rhythm machine. Einheitsfrontlied (march 1973) was issued as a single.
The two volumes of Outspan (april and may 1974) also featured Mangelsdorff (the 16-minute Serieuze Serie, the 18-minute Outspan No 1 and the 21-minute Ende mit Broetzophon).
After another childish endeavour, Tschus (september 1975), with Van Hove also on accordion and Bennink on all sorts of noises, the celebrated trio dissolved.
A disappointing Solo (may 1976) was followed by duets with Han Bennink: Ein Halber Hund Kann Nicht Pinkeln (april 1977), on which Broetzmann played soprano, alto, tenor saxophones, a-clarinet, b-flat clarinet, bass clarinet and piano, while Bennink played piano, drums, viola, banjo and bass clarinet, and Schwarzwaldfahrt (may 1977), recorded in the Black Forest (Bennink plays birdcall, wood, trees, sand, land, water, air...). Broetzmann and Bennink also formed a trio with pianist Misha Mengelberg for 3 Points and a Mountain (february 1979), containing Broetzmann's 3 Points and a Mountain, as well as 3 Points and a Mountain Plus (same session), containing Broetzmann's The Bar Seems to Vanish in the Distance.
A new trio with bassist Harry Miller and drummer Louis Moholo smoothed out the edges on The Nearer the Bone the Sweeter the Meat (august 1979) and the double-LP live Opened but Hardly Touched (november 1980), with the extended improvisations of Special Request for Malibu, Opened but Hardly Touched and Double Meaning. Building on the foundations of this trio, Alarm (november 1981), containing the 37-minute Alarm, featured three saxophonists (Broetzmann, Breuker, Frank Wright), Japanese trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, pianist Alex Schlippenbach, two trombones, bass (Miller) and drums (Moholo). The music had lost much of its devastating strength, as if Broetzmann had fallen under the spell of Breuker, although in 1986 Broetzmann joined Last Exit, a metal-jazz group formed in 1986 with drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson, guitarist Sonny Sharrock and rock bassist Bill Laswell.
The solo albums were always less engaging than his small-combo recordings: 14 Love Poems (august 1984), No Nothing (december 1990), Right As Rain (august 2000).
Broetzmann's best combo of the period was the Die Like a Dog Quartet, formed with bassist Wiliam Parker, drummer Hamid Drake and trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, and documented on the live Fragments of Music, Life and Death of Albert Ayler (august 1993), the two volumes of Little Birds Have Fast Hearts (november 1997), From Valley To Valley (july 1998), with Roy Campbell replacing Kondo, and Aoyama Crows (november 1999), with Kondo back in the ranks.
In 1997 Broetzmann formed the Chicago Octet that lined up percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang, bassist Kent Kessler, cellist Fred Lomberg-Holm and trombonist Jeb Bishop around three saxophonists/clarinetists: Broetzmann, Ken Vandermark and Mars Williams. The Chicago Tentet was the octet augmented with Mats Gustafsson on baritone saxophone and fluteophone and Joe McPhee on pocket cornet, valve trombone and soprano saxophone. The trible-CD The Chicago Octet/Tentet (september 1997) documented the compositional versatility, ranging from Vandermark's conventional notation (Other Brothers) to Broetzmann's post-Cage notations (Burning Spirit, Foolish Infinity). The ensemble's tour de force was Stonewater, documented both on the live Stone/Water (may 1999), with Kondo's trumpet replacing Williams and William Parker replacing Kessler, and on Broken English (july 2000), with Williams and Kessler (and Roy Campbell replacing Kondo). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Educated at avantgarde classical music, German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach entered the fray of free-jazz via Gunther Hampel's and Manfred Schoof's quintets. He formed the Globe Unity Orchestra in 1966, a big band that bridged the techniques of free-jazz and the techniques of the classical avantgarde (including the twelve-tone scale).
The orchestra of Globe Unity (december 1966) assembled saxophonist Peter Broetzmann's trio (bassist Peter Kowald and drummer Sven-Ake Johansson), trumpeter Manfred Schoof's quintet (Schlippenbach, tenorist Gerd Dudek, bassist Buschi Niebergall and percussionist Jaki Liebezeit), plus clarinetist/flutist Gunter Hampel, saxophonist Willem Breuker, trumpeter Claude Deron, tuba player Willi Lietzmann, saxophonist Kris Wanders and drummer Mani Neumeier. The two 20-minute pieces were manifestos of two different kinds of free jazz: Globe Unity was a series of energetic improvised solos grafted onto the very loose structure of Von Schlippenbach's written score, while Sun was an even looser soundscape roamed by discreet percussion instruments, piano and vibraphone. The fundamental difference between this European kind of free-jazz and Ornette Coleman's (or John Coltrane's) free-jazz was the rhythm: the European rhythm was cold, abstract, a purely sonic element, whereas the USA rhythm was warm, bodily and, ultimately, jazz.
The 34-minute Globe Unity 67 (october 1967), off Globe Unity 67 & 70, documented another loud and lively performance of continental improvisers (now also including trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff), whereas the inferior 18-minute Globe Unity 70 (november 1970) has a cast of British improvisers (guitarist Derek Bailey, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, drummer Paul Lovens).
Schlippenbach was also active outside the orchestra. The Living Music (april 1969) was recorded the same day by the same musicians who recorded Peter Broetzman's Nipples, but the lengthy The Living Music and Tower implemented a totally different view of group improvisation, one that was subtle instead of savage. The trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens of Pakistani Pomade (november 1972) expanded to a quartet with the addition of Kowald and for a while became the pianist's main artistic avenue; Three Nails Left (february 1975), with the 23-minute Range, the live Hunting the Snake (september 1975), released only in 2000, and the five-movement Hidden Peak (january 1977).
During the 1970s, e.g. on Live in Wuppertal (march 1973), the Globe Unity Orchestra briefly flirted with a more structured song-oriented format, but then returned to its free-form grandeur with a vengeance. Next to the triad of Von Schlippenbach, Broetzmann and Schoof, Hamburg '74 (november 1974) featured Dutch drummer Han Bennink and a conspicuous British contingent (Bailey, Lovens, Wheeler, saxophonist Evan Parker, trombonist Paul Rutherford). Both Hamburg '74 and Contrast and Synthesis added a choir to the collective chaos.
The Globe Unity Special of Evidence (march 1975) and Into the Valley (march 1975), later collected as Rumbling, was, instead, merely a nonet of four Germans (Schlippenbach, Dudek, Mangelsdorff, Kowald), four Britons (Wheeler, Parker, Lovens, Rutherford) and American soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, dominated by Parker's compositions Into the Valley and Of Dogs, Dreams, and Death.
Pearls (november 1975), on the other hand, boasted the Globe Unity Orchestra at its international zenith: three trumpeters (Schoof, Wheeler, Enrico Rava), five saxophonists (Broetzmann, Dudek, Parker, Anthony Braxton, Ruediger Carl), three trombones (Guenter Christmann, Mangelsdorff, Rutherford), a bass clarinet (Michel Pilz), a pianist (Schlippenbach), two bassists (Kowald and Niebergall) and a drummer (Lovens). Peter Kowald engineered the two pieces of Jahrmarkt (june 1976): the chamber free jazz explorations of Jahrmarkt and the colossal fanfare of Local Fair for jazz ensemble, Greek bouzouki quartet, 17-piece brass band and 30-piece accordion ensemble. A slightly revised line-up with the addition of Derek Bailey and cellist Tristan Honsinger, and the notable omission of Anthony Braxton, recorded the four untitled Improvisations (september 1977). Steve Lacy joined for the six shorter Compositions (january 1979).
After the live Detto Fra Di Noi (june 1981) by the Schlippenbach-Parker-Lovens trio, they reformed the quartet with Alan Silva on bass and recorded the double-LP Das Hohe Lied (november 1981), with the 43-minute Let This Mouth Shower Kisses On You, and Anticlockwise (september 1982).
The Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (four trumpets, four trombones, six saxophones, piano, bass and drums) was built around the trio, but played more casual and organized music, at last sounding like a jazz big-band. Schlippenbach mainly conducted the music on Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (may 1989), that contained Kenny Wheeler's 22-minute Ana and Misha Mengelberg's 19-minute Reef Und Kneebus, and The Morlocks (july 1993), with the 16-minute The Morlocks. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

German guitarist Hans Reichel recorded the solo albums Wichlinghauser Blues (june 1973), Bonobo (october 1975), The Death of the Rare Bird Ymir (february 1979), Bonobo Beach (april 1981), The Dawn of Dachsman (may 1987).

Sven Ake Johansson recorded one of the first solo-drums albums of creative music, Schlingerland (october 1972). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer, who had cut her teeth in a local trio with drummer Mani Neumeier. A few months after British saxophonist Joe Harriott, she pioneered Indo-jazz fusion by recording Jazz Meets India (october 1967), that featured a jazz quintet with trumpeter Manfred Schoof and Neumaier improvising with and a trio of Indian musicians (Diwan Motihar on sitar, Keshav Sathe on tabla, Kasan Thakur on tamboura). She achieved notoriety in a trio with bassist Peter Kowald and drummer Pierre Favre that debuted on Santana (october 1968), with the 14-minute Santana. That trio became a Quartett (november 1969) with the addition of British saxophonist Evan Parker (the 19-minute Where are all the old cop sets Clancy). Ramifications (september 1973) began a collaboration with tenor saxophonist Ruediger Carl (it also featured drummer Paul Lovens, trombonist Radu Malfatti, bassist Harry Miller) that continued with the quartet of Goose Pannee (september 1974), containing the 21-minute Goose Pannee. Carl and Schweizer formed a trio with drummer Louis Moholo that recorded Messer (may 1975) and Tuned Boots (november 1977), with the 20-minute Tuned Boots
Her first solo album, Wilde Senoritas (november 1976), contained two lengthy improvisations: the 15-minute Wilde Se¤oritas and the 18-minute Saitengebilde. Hexensabbat (october 1977) contained seven shorter pieces and the 12-minute live Rapunzel Rapunzel. Compared with the harsh avantgarde of the time, her style, blending classical, bebop and free-jazz elements, was folkish and oneiric.
But she was more famous for an aggressive style of playing that abused the possibilities of the keyboard and indulged in neurotic timbral detours. The duo with Carl yielded the live The Very Centre of Middle Europe (october 1978) and Die V-Mann Suite (october 1980), containing the 19-minute Frizeit. A trio with bassist Joelle Leandre and drummer Paul Lovens debuted in the 20-minute Trutznachtigall, off Live at Taktlos (february 1984). The collaboration with Leandre led to the 26-minute Now And Never for a quintet with American trombonist George Lewis, vocalist Maggie Nicols and drummer Guenter Sommer, off the live The Storming of The Winter Palace (march 1988).
She relished a series of piano-drum duos (Andrew Cyrille, Pierre Favre, Han Bennink, Louis Moholo, Mani Neumeier), best probably being the one with Sommer that yielded the ebullient 19-minute Schweizersommer (february 1987).
The trio of Schwiezer, vocalist Maggie Nichols, and bassist Joelle Leandre, all members of EWIG (the European Women's Improvising Group), recorded Les Diaboliques (april 1993), a series of brief absurdist skits. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


German trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, a veteran who joined Alex von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra in 1967, displayed his allegiances on And His Friends, a series of collaborations (recorded between 1967 and 1969) with trumpeter Don Cherry, altoist Lee Konitz, pianist Wolfgang Dauner, vibraphonist Karl Berger and drummer Elvin Jones. He first proved his compositional and improvisational skills with the 22-minute Room 1220, off Room 1220 (august 1970), a collaboration with John Surman on baritone saxophone. His technique of multiphonics (playing multiple notes simultaneously) was centerstage on the solo-trombone album Trombirds (december 1972). Thanks to his "invention", Mangelsdorff was able to explore a vast territory of subtleties on Tromboneliness (march 1976) and Solo (february 1982).
His versatility allowed him to play in different configurations, from the trio of The Wide Point (may 1975), featuring Palle Daniellson on bass and Elvin Jones on drums, to the trio of the live Trilogue (november 1976), with Weather Report's bassist Jaco Pastorius and drummer Alphonse Mouzon; from the quartet of Solo Now (june 1976), with Gunter Hampel on vibraphone, Joachim Kuehn on piano and Pierre Favre on drums, to the Mumps quartet of A Matter Of Taste (march 1977), with John Surman (saxophones, piano, synthesizer), Barre Phillips (bass), Stu Martin (percussion and synthesizer); from the quartet of A Jazz Tune I Hope (august 1978), with pianist Wolfgang Dauner, bassist Eddie Gomez and Elvin Jones, to the Trombone Summit (may 1980) for four trombones and rhythm section; from the collaboration with Dauner, Two Is A Company (december 1982), to the collaboration with altoist Lee Konitz, Art Of The Duo (june 1983); from the quartet of Hot Hut (1985) with Dauner and Jones, to the percussion ensemble (plus Dauner's piano) of Moon At Noon (april 1987). Mangelsdorff more than simply dialogued with his partners: he could simulate an entire band.
After the solo albums Purity (1990) and Lanaya (november 1993), Mangelsdorff entered the digital age with Movin' On (1990), for a quartet that featured Bruno Spoerri on saxophones and electronics, as well as Ernst Reijseger on cello. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


German (Polish-born) trombonist Guenter Christmann invented a new, almost clownish but at times expressionist, language at the instrument by finding the common elements between the grotesque excesses of the old Dixieland style and the furious excesses of the new free-jazz style. His technique blossomed in the duets of We Play (february 1973) and Topic (november 1975) with percussionist Detlef Schonenberg, in the albums with the Globe Unity Orchestra, that he joined in 1973. on the solo album Solomusiken Fuer Posaune und Kontrabasse (september 1976), in the duets of Earmeals (may 1978) with cellist Tristan Honsinger, on Weavers (december 1979), by a trio with bassist Maarten Altena and drummer Paul Lovens.
The surreal and Cage-inspired element of his music surfaced on Off (1979), that contained sound collages, compositions for breath, Mandolympia for mandolin and typewriter, etc. This interest for event/chance art led Christmann to organize multimedia events titled "Vario", that included acrobats and dancers as well as musicians, an idea that eventually evolved into the "Deja-vu" events that also incorporated theater and cinema. The former were documented on Vario II (june 1980), with music performed by the trio (Altena and Loves) plus vocalist Maggie Nicols and guitarist John Russell,
These radical experiments translated into music that was abstract and apparently absurd in the dadaistic tradition, notably White Earth Streak (february 1981), basically trombone jams with three stringed instruments (viola and violin player LaDonna Smith, guitarist Davey Williams and Torsten Mueller). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Italian percussionist Andrea Centazzo organized the spectacular sextet of Environment for Sextet (november 1978) with John Zorn on reeds, Toshinori Kondo on trumpet, Tom Cora on cello, Eugene Chadbourne on guitars and Polly Bradfield on violin. His solo-percussion triple-LP Indian Tapes (august 1980) was inspired by Native-American percussion and birdsongs of the American Southwest. He formed the Mitteleuropa Orchestra to perform larger-scale works. First documented on the live Mitteleuropa (december 1980), the orchestra specialized in concertos for small orchestra such as Doctor Faustus (1983), Cjant (june 1983) and Omaggio a Pier Paolo Pasolini (composed in 1985). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The Ganelin Trio was the greatest ensemble of free-jazz in continental Europe, namely in Russia. Like other European improvisers, pianist Vyacheslav Ganelin, woodwind player Vladimir Chekasin and percussionist Vladimir Tarasov too found a common ground between free-jazz and Dadaism. Their shows were as much music as they were provocative antics. The music of albums such as Poi Segue (october 1975), Con Anima (1976), Concerto Grosso (1978), Non Troppo (october 1980) the double-LP Ancora Da Capo (november 1980), and especially Semplice/ Con Affetto (november 1983) was a gross exercise in mis-interpreting Cecil Taylor, as if played by a circus ensemble affected by deep neurosis but with the skills of classical musicians. After emigrating to Israel in 1987, they recorded the 47-minute frantically moving suite Cantabile (february 1989). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Austrian trumpeter Franz Koglmann founded the Chamber Jazz Emsembles Pipetet that debuted with Schlaf Schlemmer Schlaf Magritte (december 1984), a vehicle for his brainy scores that embedded everything from Arnold Schoenberg's dodecaphony to swing to free jazz, all done with a Dadaist attitude worthy of Pere Ubu (notably in the four-movement Tanzmusick Fuer Paszstueckem). Evolving through fragmented albums such as Ich (october 1986), his manyfold art of composition and deconstruction bloomed on the nine-movement suite The Use of Memory (october 1990), almost a colossal compendium of 20th century music. A theorist not so much of post-modern but of post-classical music, Koglmann continued to rehearse a cryptic vision of music on albums such as L'Heure Bleue (april 1991) only to unleash another massive, powerful reconceptualization of the century's music with Cantos I-IV (october 1992) for orchestrated improvisers. Koglmann had coined a moving music of contradictions, misunderstandings and, ultimately, of mistakes. His monumental and demented synthesis of improvised and composed music continued on O Moon My Pin Up (march 1997), explicitly dedicated to poet Ezra Pound. After Make Believe (november 1998) for a quintet, he also ventured outside chamber music with the electroacoustic opera Fear Death By Water (march 2003) and the "imaginary play" Let's Make Love (september 2004). One of the greatest composers of his generation, Koglmann metabolized the past in order to create the future.


Austrian bassist Werner Dafeldecker, a co-founder of the jazz ensemble Ton Art that released Ant.Ort (january 1987), Zu (may 1989) and Mal Vu Mal Dit (february 1991), formed the structured improvisation ensemble Polwechsel with guitarist Burkhard Stangl, cellist Michael Moser and trombonist Radu Malfatti. Their albums Polwechsel (september 1994), Polwechsel 2 (january 1998), with Malfatti replaced by saxophonist John Butcher, and Polwechsel 3 (july 2001) attempted a synthesis of electroacoustic chamber music and free noise-jazz. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Creative music: Britain

British free music found two early reference points in John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath. From 1963 to 1966 drummer Tony Oxley, guitarist Derek Bailey and bassist Gavin Bryars formed the trio Joseph Holbrooke that pioneered free jazz in Sheffield. Later, the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra (formed in 1972 by bassist Barry Guy) and the Company (started by guitarist Derek Bailey in 1976) united many of the British improvisers.


However, one man had preached free jazz even before the USA musicians brought it to Europe. Jamaican-born alto saxophonist Joe Harriott relocated to Britain in 1951, initially playing the bebop music that was popular at the time. While recovering from tuberculosis in 1958, Harriott invented free jazz independently from Ornette Coleman, although he used a piano-based quintet (sax, trumpet, piano, drums, bass). They recorded Free Form (november 1960) and Abstract (november 1961), the manifestos of British free-jazz, and an even more radical experiment, Movement (1963).
In 1965 Harriott met Indian violinist John Mayer, who had relocated to Britain in 1952 and was experimenting a fusion of Indian and European classical music. The two musicians formed the mixed-race ensemble Indo-Jazz Fusions. Harriott thus pioneered the fusion with Indian music culminating with the Indo-Jazz Suite (october 1965) and Indo-Jazz Fusions (september 1966), two albums (mostly composed by Mayer) recorded by a double quintet: Harriott's jazz quintet and an Indian quintet led by Mayer plus Diwan Motihar on sitar, flute, tambura and tabla. He pursued this idea on Hum-Dono (1969), featuring Indian guitarist Amancio D'Silva, trumpeter Ian Carr and vocalist Norma Winstone. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The Spontaneous Music Ensemble was formed in 1965 by British drummer John Stevens and saxophonist Trevor Watts with the intent of creating a jazz version of Cornelius Cardew's AMM avantgarde collective. In reality, after Challenge (march 1966), that featured Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn, Paul Rutherford on trombone, Trevor Watts on alto and soprano saxophone, bass and drums, the ensemble started playing music that was as free, chaotic and atonal as the music of AMM, but focused on the interplay instead of the contrasts.
The line-up of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble changed with every concert and every recording. The ensemble was a sextet with Evan Parker on saxophones, Wheeler on trumpet and flugelhorn, Rutherford on trombone, Watts on oboe and alto, Barry Guy on bass and Stevens on percussion for the four-movement film soundtrack Withdrawal (october 1966). Withdrawal (march 1967), released only in 1997, added Derek Bailey on dissonant guitar for the three Withdrawal Sequences and the four-movement chamber suite Seeing Sounds And Hearing Colors. Summer '67 (august 1967), released in 1996, contained the 15-minute First Cousins, a duet between bassist Peter Kowald and Stevens, and the eleven-minute Second Cousins, a trio with Parker. The unreleased Willow Trio (october 1967) was a lengthy improvisation by Parker (on soprano), Stevens and bassist Barre Phillips, and the unreleased Familie (january 1968) was recorded by Stevens, Watts, Parker, Bailey, bassist Dave Holland and several others.
The jazz component had all but disappeared by the time that Stevens, Wheeler, Parker, Bailey and bassist Dave Holland recorded the six-movement Karyobin (february 1968), perhaps the ensemble's artistic peak. Oliv (february 1969) contained the 19-minute Oliv I for a larger cast (Stevens, Wheeler, Bailey, Watts, bassist John Dyani, vocalist Maggie Nichols and more) and the 16-minute Oliv II for just Stevens, Watts, Dyani and Nicols. For You To Share (may 1970) contained two lengthy duets by Stevens and Watts, Peace Music and For You To Share. Another milestone, The Source - From And Towards (november 1970), was a five-movement suite for three saxophones (including Watts), trumpet (Wheeler), two trombones, piano, two basses and drums (Stevens).
So What Do You Think (january 1971) boasted the classic quintet of Stevens, Watts, Wheeler, Bailey and Holland in one lengthy improvisation. British vocalist Julie Tippetts fronted a quartet with Stevens and Watts on Birds of a Feather (july 1971).
A quintet with Parker, Bailey, Stevens and Watts was documented on Quintessence 1 (october 1973) and Quintessence 2 (february 1974), released in 1987. Face To Face (november 1973) was another Stevens-Watts duet. The 20-minute In Relationship to Silence and the 24-minute Mouthpiece on Mouthpiece (november 1973) documented Stevens' "compositions" for large ensemble, Stevens "devised" these pieces that the improvisers were free to bend at will. Stevens only imposed constraints on the improvisers' moves to make sure that they would participate and not alienate each other. In a sense, Stevens was working on a more humane natural of "harmony". TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The South African influence on British jazz started with Chris McGregor, a white pianist who in 1960 had organized in South Africa a mixed-race group, the Blue Notes: Mongezi Feza on trumpet, Dudu Pukwana on alto saxophone, Nikele Moyake on tenor saxophone, Johnny Dyani on bass and Louis Moholo on drums. After emigrating to Britain in 1964, the group expanded to include young British improvisers such as saxophonists John Surman, Mike Osborne and Alan Skidmore, trombonists Malcolm Griffiths and Nick Evans, and trumpeter Marc Charig, and became the Brotherhood Of Breath. The sound of this big band blended Duke Ellington's paradigmatic swing style with ethnic township rhythms, jazz-rock and free jazz, with McGregor's arrangements enabling challenging scores such as the 21-minute Night Poem on Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath (october 1970). Brotherhood (1971), also featuring Gary Windo, was less cohesive but contained Joyful Noises Of The Lord. Evan Parker, Paul Rutherford and Kenny Wheeler also played in the band at different points in time. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Another visionary precursor of the British jazz avantgarde was bassist Graham Collier. The ensemble that he debuted on Deep Dark Blue Centre (january 1967) was a septet with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, trombonist Mike Gibbs, Karl Jenkins on saxophones, oboe and piano, and drummer John Marshall. It already displayed the leader's skills at composing and organizing soloists that blossomed with the four-movement Symphony Of Scorpions (november 1976), and with the four-part suite Workpoints (march 1968, but only released in 2005), inspired by Charlie Mingus and performed by a large ensemble featuring saxophonist John Surman besides the previous talents. Other orchestral pieces included the seven-part suite Hoarded Dreams (july 1983) and the six-movement suite Something British Made In Hong Kong (december 1985).

The three British improvisers who lent the British scene its unique (and quite radical) character were Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley, the founders of Incus (1970).


An alumnus of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble of 1967, immensely prolific British saxophonist Evan Parker coined a wildly dissonant, incoherent and violent language at the instrument via the Music Improvisation Company (formed in 1968 with guitarist Derek Bailey), via Peter Broetzmann's Machine Gun (1968), via Derek Bailey's Music Improvisation Company (that he co-founded in 1968), via Tony Oxley's groups (from 1969), via Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers' Orchestra (that he joined in 1972), and via Alexander von Schlippenbach's Trio and Globe Unity Orchestra (that he joined in 1972).
The manifesto of Parker's art was The Topography of the Lungs (july 1970), notably the 20-minute Titan Moon and the twelve-minute Dogmeat, for a trio with guitarist Derek Bailey and percussionist Han Bennink.
For the next few years a duo with drummer Paul Lytton became Parker's main vehicle for experimenting with noise and home-made instruments. That duo was best documented in the 13-minute each Shaker and Lytton Perdu, off Collective Calls (april 1972), in the 28-minute The Theatre of the World and Photic Diversions (june 1973) and the 29-minute The Night the Ariel Left Harwich and Other Synchronicities (july 1974), off Three Other Stories (Parker on soprano and tenor saxophones, lyttonophone, dopplerphone, khene, ocarina and voice, Lytton on percussion and live electronics), then in the 42-minute Two Horn'd Reasoning Cloven Fiction (november 1975), off Two Octobers (Parker on soprano and tenor saxophones, Lytton on percussion and live electronics), and finally in the 38-minute live Ra 1+2 (june 1976).
But Parker soon became, first and foremost, the British master of the soprano saxophone solo: the barbaric Saxophone Solos (september 1975), the virtuoso Monoceros (april 1978), the live At the Finger Palace (november 1978) and the almost supernatural Six of One (june 1980) implemented the view of the improviser as a unity of body and mind. He himself described it as a circus-like art of juggling and acrobatics in order to fill the acoustic space. He achieved that goal by employing both circular breathing (a` la Roland Kirk) in order to extend duration and tongue techniques that enabled rapid successions of notes of very short durations. He could thus mix sustained overtones and the saxophone equivalent of polyrhythms, and create an extremely versatile language that mirrored the way people speak more than the way musicians usually play music.
The Parker-Lytton duo became a trio with the addition of bassist Barry Guy and, while losing some of its irreverent, dadaistic, provocative overtones, heralded an austere form of trio improvisation as both Guy and Lytton kept expanding the range of their instruments by using amplification and live electronics. Tracks (january 1983), with the 19-minute Sidetrack, and Hook Drift and Shuffle (february 1983), a collaboration with American trombonist George Lewis that included the 34-minute Drift, led to Atlanta (december 1986), containing four lengthy improvisations Atlanta (25 minutes), The Snake as Road Sign (17 minutes) and Geometry (20 minutes). The trio became a staple of the improvising community thanks to yearly recordings: Imaginary Values (march 1993), the twelve Breaths and Heartbeats (december 1994), the live The Redwood Session (june 1995), Natives and Aliens (may 1996), a collaboration with pianist Marilyn Crispell, the live At The Vortex (june 1996), the live At Les Instants Chavires (december 1997), with the 38-minute Three-legged Chicken, the double-CD After Appleby (june 1999), a second collaboration With pianist Marilyn Crispell, highlighted by the 20-minute Blue Star Kachina, the 25-minute Where Heart Revive and the 51-minute live jam Capnomantic Vortex.
Parker's solo work continued to pursue a more intense form of music (although a bit more introverted) via The Snake Decides (january 1986), the monumental Conic Sections (june 1989), the sixteen short pieces of Process and Reality (may 1991), that first used overdubs, Chicago Solo (november 1995), his first solo tenor album, and Lines Burnt in Light (october 2001). His duos included Obliquities (december 1994) with Barry Guy, Tempranillo (november 1995) with Spanish pianist Agusti Fernandez, Most Materiall (february 1997) with American percussionist Eddie Prevost, Here Now (january 1998) with cellist and trombonist Guenter Christmann.
In the 1990s Parker got intrigued by the electronic sounds that he experimented on Hall of Mirrors (february 1990), a collaboration with Walter Prati, and Dividuality (february 1997) and Solar Wind (january 1997), two collaborations With Lawrence Casserley. The Parker-Lytton-Guy trio became an Electro-acoustic Ensemble with the addition of Philipp Wachsmann (violin, viola, live electronics, and sound processing of Guy's and his own playing), Walter Prati (live electronics, and sound processing of Parker's playing) and Marco Vecchi (live electronics and sound processing of Lytton's playing) on the groundbreaking Toward the Margins (may 1996), the elegantly alien Drawn Inward (december 1998), that also featured Lawrence Casserley (also on live electronics and sound processing), the live Memory/Vision (october 2002), with Agusti Fernandez on prepared piano and Joel Ryan on computer besides Wachsmann, Prati, Vecchi and Casserley, and The Eleventh Hour (november 2004), that added sampling keyboards (operated by Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer) to the acoustic, electronic and digital arsenal of Memory/Vision. Parker was moving towards a music for soundsculptors, not just post-jazz improvisers, but, after all, he had always been a soundsculptor himself.
Parker added the ethnic element to his electro-acoustic experiments on the live Synergetics: Phonomanie III (september 1993), that mixed Vecchi and Prati with George Lewis, Korean vocalist Sainkho Namchylak, bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa, African percussionist Thebe Lipere, Vietnamese komungo harpist Jin Hi Kim and Carlos Mariani on "luaaneddas" (sort of electronic bagpipes).
Foxes Fox (july 1999) debuted a quartet with Steve Beresford on piano, John Edwards on bass and Louis Moholo on drums, that returned after a five-year hiatus with Naan Tso (october 2004).
At the turn of the century Parker also collaborated with the drum'n'bass duo Spring Heel Jack, and recorded the two Dark Rags (january 2000) with Keith Rowe.
The double-CD Needles (april 2001) debuted a trio with violinist Philipp Wachsmann and bassist Teppo Hauta-aho.
The double-CD America 2003 (may 2003) was a collaboration with Alex Schlippenbach and Paul Lytton. The idea was expanded on Bishop's Move (march 2003) to include Peter Broetzmann, bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


In the 1970s British guitarist Derek Bailey became synonimous with wildly dissonant music. His unconventional methods evoked John Cage's dadaistic provocations, but Bailey was less interested than Cage in the process and more interested in sound for the sake of sound. In his hands the guitar mutated from a melodic and rhythmic instrument into a non-rhythmic percussion instrument. Of all the British musicians who turned soundsculptors, Bailey was the most obviously removed from the traditional approach to musical instruments. His guitar was merely a medium to produce sounds that were "not" musical. He was not interested in romancing the human race, but in cataloging what sounds the human race can produce and what happens when they are combined.
He played in four of the pioneering free-jazz acts of Britain (Joseph Holbrooke in Sheffield in 1963, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble in London in 1966, Tony Oxley's sextet in 1968, Peter Broetzmann's group in 1969, Paul Rutherford's Iskra 1903 in 1970, Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers' Orchestra in 1972). In 1968 he founded the Music Improvisation Company with Evan Parker on soprano saxophone, Hugh Davies on live electronics and Jamie Muir on percussion, as documented on The Music Improvisation Company 1968-1971 (june 1970).
The Topography of the Lungs (july 1970) with saxophonist Evan Parker and percussionist Han Bennink, the Improvisations for Cello And Guitar (january 1971) with David Holland on cello, and Solo Guitar (february 1971) were the albums that provided a shock therapy for the world of improvised music: nobody had ever abused the guitar like that. By comparison, Jimi Hendrix was a classical musician.
More solos followed: Lot 74 (may 1974), Improvisations (september 1975), Domestic & Public Pieces (january 1976), the live double-LP New Sights Old Sounds (may 1978). Bailey called for "non-idiomatic improvisation," or improvisation that did not hark back to any pre-existing musical genre. Thus he was aiming for improvisation that would be as personal and subjective as possible, completely removed from the cultural conditioning of history.
Extending the idea of the Music Improvisation Company, in 1976 Bailey founded the Company, an "orchestra" of free improvisers like him, with a fluctuating line-up. Company 1 (may 1976) featured four trio pieces by four different combinations of Dutch bassist Maarten van Regteren Altena, Honsinger, Parker and Bailey taken from their first concert. That concert also consisted of a quartet piece and of all possible duo combinations. Company 2 (august 1976) was instead a trio with Parker and Braxton. Company 3 (september 1976) was a duo with Bennink. Company 4 (november 1976) was a duo with American soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, another master of noise. Company 5 (may 1977), perhaps the best of the series, contained the 25-minute LS/MR/DB/TH/AB/SL/EP for trumpeter Leo Smith, Braxton, Parker, Lacy, Bailey, Honsinger and Altena. Company 6 (may 1977) also featured soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill, pianist Steve Beresford and Bennink. Fictions (august 1977) was for Bailey, Coxhill, Beresford and pianist Misha Mengelberg, but was ruined by spoken-word sections. Fables (may 1980) employed Bailey, Parker, Holland and American trombonist George Lewis. Epiphany (july 1982) was a 47-minute improvisation by Bailey, Lewis, classical pianist Ursula Oppens, rock guitarist Fred Frith, glass-harmonica virtuoso Akio Suzuki, harpist Anne LeBaron, pianist Keith Tippett, violinist Phil Wachsmann, bassist Moto Yoshizawa and vocalist Julie Tippetts. Epiphanies (same session) was a set of brief sketches by the same musicians organized in smaller groups. Trios (may 1983) contained trios, a duo and a collective improvisation by musicians such as Bailey, Muir, Reijseger, Parker, saxophonist Peter Broetzmann, trombonist Vinko Globokar, bassist Joelle Leandre, electronic musician Hugh Davies, etc. Once (may 1987) collected a 22-minute guitar-less Quartet (for keyboardist Richard Teitelbaum, saxophonist Lee Konitz, bassist Barre Phillips and percussionist Steve Noble), a twelve-minute Sextet (for Bailey, Teitelbaum, Konitz, Phillips, violinist Carlos Zingaro and cellist Tristan Honsinger), and a Trio 1 with Konitz and Honsinger.
The solo albums (never his favorite format) of the period were: Music and Dance (july 1980), Aida (august 1980), perhaps the best of the decade, with the 19-minute Paris, the inferior Notes (july 1985), Lace (december 1989), with the 30-minute Let's Hope We're All in the Right Place, and Solo Guitar Volume 2 (june 1991).
During the 1990s the Company moved further away from the stalwarts of British improvised music that had created its reputation. The triple-LP Company 91 (1991) featured Bailey, John Zorn, electronic musician Pat Thomas, trombonist Yves Robert, violinist Alexander Balanescu, bassist Paul Rogers, percussionist Paul Lovens and vocalist Vanessa Mackness, The double-CD Company in Marseille (january 1999) merely documented a quartet with harp, bass and cello. The last Company festival was held in 1994.
Bailey finally returned to the solo format for Takes Fakes & Dead She Dances (september 1997), but his last decade was mostly devoted to a deluge of mediocre collaborations. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


British drummer Tony Oxley, who had pioneered British free-jazz in the trio Joseph Holbrooke, was one of the most influential figures of the 1970s.
His first album as a leader, The Baptised Traveller (january 1969), featured a quintet with guitarist Derek Bailey, saxophonist Evan Parker, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and bassist Jeff Clyne, and contained four lengthy improvisations (notably The Four Compositions for Sextet (february 1970), notably Amass, added trombonist Paul Rutherford. Ichnos (1971) featured Oxley playing solo (the twelve-minute Oryane) as well as with a quartet (the 12-minute Cadilla) and a sextet (the eight-minute Crossing) with the same personnel except for Clyne being replaced by Barry Guy. The evolution of his style (both in terms of its role in improvisation and in terms of expressive range) was documented by pieces such as Never Before or Again (1972), off Tony Oxley, for a sextet (with Guy, Parker, Riley, Rutherford, trumpeter Dave Holdsworth), and Quartet 1, off February Papers (february 1977), with Guy on bass and two violins.
A trio with pianist Howard Riley and bassist Barry Guy produced increasingly adventurous albums: Flight (march 1971), with the 21-minute Motion, Synopsis (october 1973), with the 14-minute Quantum and Oxley toying with amplified percussion, Overground (november 1975), with the 20-minute Overground and Oxley doubling on live electronics.
The Celebration Orchestra debuted on Tomorrow is Here (october 1985), split between two lengthy improvisations: Invitation to Karlovyvary and Third Triad. The orchestra consisted of three saxophones (including Gerd Dudek and Larry Stabbins), two violins (including Phil Wachsmann), trombone, piano, cello, three basses (including Guy) and five percussionists (including Oxley).
Oxley's experiments with electronics ranged from The Glider and the Grinder (april 1987), that featured Wolfgang Fuchs on reeds, Phil Wachsmann on violin and electronics and Hugh Metcalfe on guitar and electronics, to the 16-minute Quartet 1, off The Tony Oxley Quartet (april 1992), with Bailey, Matt Wand on drum machine and Pat Thomas on electronic keyboards, to Floating Phantoms (february 2002) for the B.I.M.P. Quartet (with Wachsmann, Thomas on electronics and Wand on sampling).
Oxley's collaboration with American pianist Cecil Taylor began with the live duets of Leaf Palm Hand (july 1988) and blossomed with the Feel Trio (himself, Cecil Taylor and American bassist William Parker) that recorded the live Looking (november 1989) and Celebrated Blazons (june 1990).
A new improved Celebration Orchestra (Wachsmann, Thomas, Wand, plus trumpeter Bill Dixon, vocalist Phil Minton, violin, cellos, two saxophones, trombone and three percussionists) recorded the more electronic The Enchanted Messenger (november 1994). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


An alumnus of John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Ensemble and a member of Iskra 1903 with guitarist Derek Bailey and trombonist Paul Rutherford, British composer and bassist Barry Guy organized the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra to transfer the epos of improvised music into the orchestral format of classical music. The seven-movement suite of Ode (april 1972) featured three trumpeters (Harry Beckett, Dave Holdsworth, and Marc Charig), three trombonists (Paul Rutherford, Mike Gibbs and Paul Nieman), six saxophonists (including Trevor Watts, Mike Osborne, Evan Parker and Karl Jenkins), guitarist Derek Bailey, a tuba player, a pianist, a flutist, two bassists and two percussionists Tony Oxley and Paul Lytton). The four-movement Stringer (march 1980), off Study II, was scored for five saxophonists (Trevor Watts, Evan Parker, Peter Broetzmann, Larry Stabbins, Tony Coe), two trombones (Paul Rutherford and Paul Nieman), piano, violin, tuba, bass (Peter Kowald), percussion (Tony Oxley and John Stevens). Other significant Guy "compositions" for the orchestra included: Polyhymnia (november 1987), off Zurich Concerts; Harmos (april 1989); Double Trouble (april 1989); Theoria (february 1991), a collaboration with pianist Irene Schweizer; Three Pieces for Orchestra (december 1995); Double Trouble II (december 1995), a collaboration with pianists Marilyn Crispell and Irene Schweizer. In the new century, Guy renamed it New Orchestra and recorded the seven-movement suite Inscape (may 2000) and the three-movement suite Entropy (july 2004), works that were even more ambitious and sophisticated than the earlier ones.
Guy also recorded the solo improvisations of Statements For V-XI For Double Bass And Violone (october 1976), Fizzles (september 1991) and Symmetries (july 2001), as well as Supersession (september 1984), a quartet with saxophonist Evan Parker, guitarist Keith Rowe (also on electronics) and percussionist Eddie Prevost. Odyssey (april 1999) and Ithaca (january 2003) were trios with pianist Marilyn Crispell and percussionist Paul Lytton. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


British trombonist Paul Rutherford an alumnus of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (1966), of Mike Westbrook's orchestra (1967), of the Globe Unity Orchestra (1970), and of pretty much every major ensemble of British improvised music, kept refining and expanding the language of his instrument until the solo The Gentle Harm of the Bourgeoisie (december 1974) demonstrated what it could do by itself. Rutherford's trombone record used the simplest of means to produce complex, extroverted and humorous music. Given his charisma, Rutherford recorded very little as a leader. The live Old Moers Almanac (june 1976) and Neuph (january 1978), that alternates trombone and euphonium and adds overdubs, closed his solo discography of the heydays of improvised music.
Derek Bailey (guitar), Barry Guy (double bass) and Paul Rutherford (trombone) formed Iskra 1903 in 1970. The double-LP Iskra 1903 (may 1972) collected improvisations of the first two years.
Rutherford, saxophonist Harrison Smith, cellist Tony Moore and drummer Eddie Prevost formed the Free Jazz Quartet and recorded Premonitions (july 1989). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


British percussionist Paul Lytton, a member of Evan Parker's groups (1969) and of the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra (1972), used self-made percussion and live electronics to animate the soundscapes of The Inclined Stick (july 1979).
The duets with drummer Paul Lovens of Was It Me? (january 1977), the 23-minute Moinho da Asneira (december 1978) and the 25-minute A Cerca da Bela Vista a Graca (november 1979), off Moinho da Asneira, the 30-minute Catching (june 1980), off Fetch, as well as their trio with Japanese trumpeter Toshinori Kondo Death is our Eternal Friend (september 1982), reintroduced a jazz element, although in a waste land of discrete noises.
Lytton was one of the original and stable members of the King Ubu Orchestru with reed player Wolfgang Fuchs, trombonist Radu Malfatti and violinist Phil Wachsmann. The line-up for Music Is Music Is (december 1984) included guitar, cello, bass, trumpet and a second reed player. Binaurality (june 1992) instead augmented the core quartet with trombonist Guenter Christmann, Georg Katzer on computer and electronics, reed players Luc Houtkamp and Peter van Bergen, tuba player Melvyn Poore and bassist Torsten Muller. The notable addition on Trigger Zone (november 1998) was trumpeter Axel Doerner. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


British guitarist Keith Rowe, a member since 1965 of the avantgarde collective AMM, was one of the improvisers who most contributed to the definition of a new vocabulary for the guitar; or, better, for the "tabletop" guitar, a guitar plugged into the cacophony of the "perfectly ordinary reality" (usually, a barrage of radios and electronic devices). Starting with the chaotic, cryptic and apparently meaningless "guitar solos" of A Dimension of Perfectly Ordinary Reality (july 1989), notably the 24-minute Untitled and the 17-minute '73, Rowe played the guitar virtually in every possible manner and with every possible tool, to the point that the guitar became a mere object that could be used to produce unusual sounds. His body of work that referenced Paul Klee's abstract painting, Dada, Edgar Varese and John Cage, was the quintessence of "noise" guitar music, culminating in the three improvisations recorded in a garage for tabletop-guitar and electronics of Harsh (november 1999).
He updated his concepts to the digital age via the ensemble of electronic and digital improvisers Music In Movement Electronic Orchestra (including violinist Phil Durrant, pianist Cor Fuhler, guitarist Rafael Toral, electronic keyboardist Thomas Lehn, electronic soundsculptor Gert-Jan Prins as well as computer musicians Marcus Schmickler, Kaffe Matthews, Christian Fennesz and Peter "Pita" Rehberg), documented on the albums MIMEO (november 1997) and Electric Chair + Table (december 1999). Rowe also engineered Rabbit Run (june 2002), a colossal jam with Lehn's synthesizers and Schmickler's computers, the two massive CDs of Duos for Doris (january 2003) with AMM's pianist John Tilbury, and the solo The Room (2005). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


British jazz saxophonist John Butcher was already in his thirties when he abandoned Physics to join the ranks of creative musicians inspired by Evan Parker (as well as by the new realm of electronic music). After cutting his teeth in Chris Burn's Jazz Ensemble and Jon Corbett's Freelance, Butcher recorded duets with Burn on piano (composed by Burn), Fonetiks (december 1984), and formed a trio with guitarist John Russell and violinist Phil Durrant documented on the eleven short pieces of Conceits (april 1987). The trio expanded to a quintet with the addition of drummer Paul Lovens and trombonist Radu Malfatti, and assumed the name News from the Shed. The ten brief pieces on News from the Shed (february 1989) were studies in contrast, texture and silence. Butcher leaned towards cerebral, not aggressive, improvisation, relying on all sorts of effects at his instrument. In the meantime, Butcher had also joined Embers, formed in 1986 by Australian classically-trained reed player Jim Denley (a member of Burn's ensemble) with Burn himself and cellist Marcio Mattos. The four lengthy improvisations of their Live (november 1988) also employed a sampler. Butcher was also active in Georg Graewe's quartet Frisque Concordance (1991), in John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Ensemble (1993) and in Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
His art of methodical and surgical exploration, of painstaking coloring, of abstract dissonant soundpainting peaked with his solo-saxophone albums, veritable concertos for microtones and overtones: Thirteen Friendly Numbers (december 1991), that first experimented with multi-tracking (notably in Bells and Clappers, Mackle Music), the live London & Cologne (august 1998), that finally included longer pieces such as the nine-minute Some Kind Of Memory and the 13-minute A Thing or Two, besides Shrinkdown for four overdubbed sopranos, and the live Fixations 14 (collecting pieces from 1997 to september 2000). These three works marked a progress from a purely scientific approach to a more emotional stance.
In the meantime, Butcher also engaged in countless duets with countless improvisers, notably the electroacoustic duets with Phil Durrant (playing only electronics) on Secret Measures (november 1997), besides joining in 1997 the Austrian quartet Polwechsel (with guitarist Burkhard Stangl, cellist Michael Moser and bassist Werner Dafeldecker) and resurrecting his acoustic trio with Durran and Russell for the live juggernauts of The Scenic Route (may 1998).
The Contest of Pleasures (august 2000), in a trio with French clarinetist Xavier Charles and German trumpeter Axel Doerner, Tincture (march 2001), with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and percussionist Michael Zerang, and Equation (may 2002), with turntablist Mike Hansen and percussionist Tomasz Krakowiak, were emblematic of Butcher's pioneering role in subdued, spare, subliminal, free-form soundpainting. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Creative Music: The other side of British creative music

London in the 1970s was a strange place for jazz music. The influence of Derek Bailey (Britain's premier improviser) was gigantic, but somehow London developed a surreal and almost self-parodistic take on the whole "creative" scene. The British improvisers of this generation often flirted with folk, pop and rock music, emphasizing irony at the same time that they were embracing the most hostile techniques. The works of some of the most austere improvisers was actually British humour at its best.


Lol Coxhill, a soprano saxophonist of the Canterbury school of progressive-rock (a former member of Kevin Ayers's group) penned Ear Of The Beholder (january 1971), a chaotic mosaic of fragments in the British tradition of the nonsense, inspired by the musichall, nursery rhymes, dancehalls, marching bands as well as free-jazz. An even more explicit tribute to street musicians, Welfare State (1975), was his political and aesthetic manifesto: avantgarde music for ordinary folks. Coxhill's humane and poetic approach surfaced even in his most reckless improvisations: the Duet For Soprano Saxophone And Guitar off Fleas In Custard (1975), Wakefield Capers off Joy Of Paranoia (1978), 11/5/78 off Digswell Duets (may 1978), the Floz Variations off the Johnny Rondo Duo (may 1980) with Dave Holland (on piano) and guitarist Mike Cooper, Distorted Reminiscences off Dunois Solos (november 1981), the Variations pour Violoncelle, Contrabasse, Sopranino et Piano (Coxhill, bassist Joelle Leandre, pianist Steve Beresford, cellist Georgie Born) off Couscous (september 1983), Alone At The Vortex (july 2000) off More Together Than Alone, Music for Feathery Fronds off Out To Launch (april 2002), in a bewildering, disorienting, superhuman variety of styles, ranging from nostalgic/subversive echoes of antiquated genres to cacophonous and chaotic streams of consciousness. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The South African musicians who had flown to Britain following Chris McGregor's Brotherhood created an influential fusion of township music and free jazz (and a bit of jazz-rock). Alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana, who had written the Brotherhood's signature tune, Mra, recorded In The Townships (november 1973) in a quartet with trumpeter Mongezi Feza and drummer Louis Moholo, and Diamond Express (november 1973), with Feza, Moholo, saxophonist Elton Dean, pianist Keith Tippett and trombonist Nick Evans, albums of jams that relied on the infectious African melodies and rhythms while adopting open-ended structures.

Ditto for drummer Louis Moholo's Spirits Rejoice (january 1978), featuring tenor saxophonist Evan Parker, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, trombonists Nick Evans and Radu Malfatti, pianist Keith Tippett and bassist Johnny Dyani. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


British pianist Steve Beresford debuted with The Bath Of Surprise (1977), which included pieces scored for toy instruments, bath water, whistles, tubes, euphonium and ukelele (besides piano, guitar and trumpet), and then delivered the atonal duets of Double Indemnity (august 1980) with cellist Triston Honsinger. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

British clarinet and saxophone player Tony Coe was no less casual, spanning a diverse spectrum of jazz styles, from Tony's Basement (june 1967), that featured a string quartet, to the symphony Zeitgeist (july 1976) for a 24-piece orchestra that blended jazz, rock and classical music. Tournee du Chat (april 1982), featuring the 17-minute The Jolly Corner, Le Chat Se Retourne (september 1984) and the soundtrack for Mer de Chine (1987) revealed a surreal storyteller and a painter of florid vignettes.


British progressive-rock hero and Keith Rowe's disciple Fred Frith developed a technique of brief vignettes that straddled the border between dissonant and folk music on Gravity (january 1980) and Speechless (august 1980). In the meantime, starting with Guitar Solos (july 1974), he had joined the ranks of the improvisers. Through collaborations with guitarist Henry Kaiser, cellist Tom Cora, harpist Zeena Parkins, saxophonist Lol Coxhill, keyboardist Bob Ostertag and percussionist Charles Noyes as well as with fellow Henry Cow member Chris Cutler, Frith perfected a collage-style art that juxtaposed improvised jams and cells of composed music. Notable were the colossal jams with Ostertag of Getting A Head (june 1980) and Voice Of America (august 1981), and the folk-neoclassical-atonal fusion of Skeleton Crew's Learn To Talk (january 1984) with Cora. The compositional aspect also led him to compose chamber music such as Quartets (december 1992) and The Previous Evening (june 1996) that paid tribute to the USA avantgarde of the previous decades (such as John Cage and Morton Feldman). The 56-minute suite Impur (may 1996) was performed and improvised by 100 musicians in a large building for an audience that was encouraged to wonder around. He also founded the trio Maybe Monday with Miya Masaoka on koto and electronics and with saxophonist Larry Ochs of the Rova Saxophone Quartet. Their Saturn's Finger (july 1998) was perhaps his most mature venture into creative jazz, containing three lengthy improvisations that sample ambient, industrial and exotic overtones. Another synthesis of sort was represented by the dance piece The Happy End Problem (2003). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


British violinist Jon Rose, after debuting his "relative violin" theory with two volumes of Solo Violin Improvisations (1978), experimented with numerous home-made instruments, mostly solo, on Towards a Relative Music (may 1978), for electronics, vibes, gongs and even furniture, Relative String Music (april 1980) for solo violin or sarangi, Devils and Angels (november 1984) for amplified violin or cello. Then Paganini's Last Testimony (1988) for voice and violin marked the beginning of his mock neoclassical phase, continued with Die Beethoven Konversationen (june 1989) and 2 Real Violin Stories (1991). His surrealistic phase was highlighted by The Virtual Violin (1990), a comic "opera" relying on a rapid fire of samples triggered by more or less random sounds of the violin, and a series of radio works (that often sounded like Dada making fun of Dada making fun of humankind). The Fence (august 1996) was the first installment of the "Fence" series, two suites for giant string installations: the speech opera Bagni Di Dolabella (september 1993) and the sociopolitical radiodrama The Fence (august 1996). It was followed by Great Fences of Australia (2002), on which Rose literally played very long wooden, metal, barbed and electrified fences spread all over Australia like they were musical instruments. It all seemed to come together (John Cage-derived aleatory music, sense of humour, and free improvisation) on The Hyperstring Project (august 1999), a study on counterpoint for violin and interactive software. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Creative music: Japan

The Japanese scene for free improvisers boomed in the 1970s thanks to a group of visionary musicians.


Japanese pianist Yosuke Yamashita formed a bass-less trio in 1969 that over the years featured alto saxophonist Akira Sakata and several drummers. The jams of the trio (and the pianist's stormy style) were captured on Live 1973 (july 1973), that contained a 19-minute version of Yamashita's Ballad for Takeo (19:01) and a 22-minute version of Akira Sakata's Zubo (22:22), Clay (june 1974), with his signature theme Clay, Chiasma (june 1975), Banslikana (july 1976), Arashi (september 1976), while Breath Take (july 1975) and Inner Space (june 1977) were solo-piano collections. In 1988 Yamashita formed a New York Trio with bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Pheeroan AkLaff, documented on Kurdish Dance (may 1992) and Dazzling Days (may 1993).


Motoharu Yoshizawa recorded solo acoustic bass improvisations on Cracked Mirrors (july 1975) and then developed a cacophonous five-string bass for more disjointed works such as Empty Hats (february 1994). The elegant style of percussionist Masahiko Togashi was documented on Rings (november 1975), on which he also played vibraphone and celesta.


The most influential musician of this generation was probably guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, a veteran of Japanese jazz bands since the late 1950s when he led the Swing Journal All-Star Orchestra (october 1956) and the New Directions Quartet (september 1957), who became one of the earliest noise guitar improvisers, recording extremely cacophonous works with his New Directions combo such as Call in Question (march 1970), La Grima (august 1971), Free Form Suite (may 1972), and the brutal solo improvisations of Action Direct (october 1985), Lukewarm Position Derails Something (december 1989), Inanimate Nature (august 1990) and Three Improvised Variations on a Theme of Quadhafi (december 1990), recorded just before his death.

Saxophonist Kaoru Abe (who died at 29) emerged through three albums of galactic live duets with Takayanagi: Kaitaiteki Koukan/ Deconstructive Communication (june 1970), Gradually Projection (july 1970) and Mass Projection (july 1970). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Next chapter | Back to the Index

TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi. All rights reserved.