Reviews that mention Lol Coxhill

November 26, 2017

Convergences, Divergences & Affinities: Further Beyond Jazz, the Second Wave of English Free Improvisation, 1973-9

By Trevor Barre
Compass Publishing

Forced to exist in a musical universe that values popularity and money over other qualities, Free Music and one particular sub set, British Improvisation, has always inhabited a unique, almost heroic area. It’s unique because most of its major stylists are instantly identifiable once they start playing; it’s heroic because a raft of UK musicians continues to inhabit the field despite mass indifference. Like Theodore H. White writing in his multi-volume The Making of the President series on American politics, Trevor Barre brings the same attention to detail as well as examining overriding trends in order to perfectly situate the musical, societal and sociological circumstances that contributed to the birth and dissemination of this music. MORE

November 16, 2015

On Screen

Taking The Dog for a Walk: Conversations with British Improvisers
A film by Antoine Prum

By Ken Waxman

Part travelogue, part history, part performance and part philosophy, Taking the Dog for a Walk is the definitive portrait of British Free Improvisation. Yet from the first sequence showing drummer Mark Sanders improvising alongside a bingo caller, the genre’s sardonic humor implicit in isn’t neglected either – note the vintage clip of Lol Coxhill and other improvisers in zoot suit disguise playing at a beach resort.. Even the title references the hoary jape that three men and a dog was BritImprov’s typical audience. MORE

November 11, 2014

Lol Coxhill and Michel Doneda

Sitting on your Stairs
Emanem 5028

Michel Doneda/Jonas Kocher

Le Belvédère du rayon vert

Flexion Records flex 007

Michel Doneda/Joris Rühl

Linge

Umlaut Records umfrcd 07

By Ken Waxman

European Free Music now has such a history of its own that a sound explorer like French soprano saxophonist Michel Doneda, who turns 60 this month, has never played anything else in public. Based in Toulouse, Doneda has over the years collaborated with most of the major figures of EuroImprov including fellow Gallic innovators saxophonist Daunik Lazro and percussionist Lê Quan Ninh. Concurrently, he’s always ready to face challenges from younger improvisers. MORE

November 18, 2013

Lol Coxhill and Michel Doneda

Sitting on your Stairs
Emanem 5028

An instance of what was and what could have been, this CD captures the initial – and final – dual improvisation on record by two uncompromising Free Music soprano saxophonists. Although France’s Michel Doneda and Britain’s Lol Coxhill each specialized in uncompromising improvisations their individual approaches were so dissimilar that this combination of tones features no more uniformity than if it was the product of musicians playing vastly dissimilar instruments. Nonetheless, the experiment will never be repeated. Coxhill (1932-2012) died about 18 months after this recording. MORE

March 10, 2013

Max Nagl

In Memory of Lol Coxhill
Rude Noises 021

Vladimir Tarasov/Garth Powell

Etudes

SoLyd SLR 0414

Hot and Cold

Hogwild Manifesto

Jungulous 003

Colin Stetson & Mats Gustafsson

Stones

Rue Grammofon RCD 2136 CD

Something In The Air: Identical Instruments: Different Sounds

By Ken Waxman

Demonstrating that accepted musical customs are often shibboleths – the equivalent of not wearing white after Labour Day – contemporary improvisers frequently express themselves unconventionally – even when it comes to instrumental choices. Take for example the fine duo sessions here. Unaccompanied by others, the players prove that there are enough textures available from nearly identical instruments to create full sound pictures. These sets show not only how much can be done with two guitars – a common combination – but also by two percussion sets, not to mention two saxophones of similar ranges and timbres. MORE

September 1, 2012

Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra

Improcherto (for HB)
Iorram GN 82

Waving the Saltire for musical if not geographic liberation in the northern part of the United Kingdom is the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (GIO), which over the past decade has established itself as a potent force for free sounds. This CD finds the 18 piece ensemble – plus two ringers – exploring the concepts of graphic scores and conduction. Embracing the idea during an almost 40-minute sequence conceived of by GIO member and guitarist George Burt the ensemble wends its way through tricky section work and in the process honors the memory of Barbados-born Harry Beckett (1935-2010), a potent force in earlier British Jazz who straddled the divide between big band Jazz and Free Improvising – as does the GIO. MORE

August 6, 2012

Label Spotlight

SLAM Productions
By Ken Waxman

Serendipity not strategy led to the birth of the British label SLAM 23 years ago, which since that time, from its base in Abingdon, six miles south of Oxford, has grown to a catalogue of almost 160 releases from European, South and North American improvisers.

SLAM simply came about when journeyman multi-reedist George Haslam, who at 50 had played with everyone from ‘30s dance band trumpeter Nat Gonella to free music trombonist Paul Rutherford decided he wanted to release a disc of solo baritone saxophone improvisations. “I made a couple of LPs on Spotlite with my group, but I wanted to make a solo improvised recording and I knew this would not fit with Spotlite whose beginnings had been with Charlie Parker,” he recalls. “I spoke to Eddie Prevost [who runs the Matchless label] and others, coming to the conclusion that the best way to do this and have complete control, was to do it myself. Eddie advised me to do a CD, not an LP – which, in 1989, was excellent advice. In the event I recorded an album of solos and duos with Paul Rutherford called 1989 - and all that”. MORE

July 6, 2012

Interview:

Veryan Weston
By Ken Waxman

London-based pianist Veryan Weston is a well-travelled musician who regularly turns up in a variety of free music situations in the United Kingdom and aboard. Best-known for his long associations with iconoclastic saxophonist Lol Coxhill and distinctive vocalist Phil Minton, Weston has also spent time in various ensembles with, among others, drummer Eddie Prévost, saxophonist John Butcher and is sometimes a member of the London Improvisers Orchestra. Weston and British alto saxophonist Trevor Watts are playing at the Stone this month as part of a duo tour of the US. MORE

December 20, 2011

Lol Coxhill/Alex Ward

Old Sights, New Sounds
Incus CD 61

Alípio C. Neto/Thelmo Cristovam

Triatoma Infestations

Creative Sources CS 188 CD

Gianni Mimmo/Harri Sjöström

Live at Bauchhund Berlin 2010

Amirani Records AMRN 026

Unusual to contemplate and difficult to execute without straining, duos involving improvisers playing high-pitched reed instruments unaccompanied are as unique as they are infrequent. Yet the skills, talents and techniques which characterize the three duos here convincingly demonstrate that first-rate playing can arise in this potentially limiting format. MORE

September 25, 2011

Lol Coxhill-Enzo Rocco

Fine Tuning
Amirani Records AMNR024

Lol Coxhill and Roger Turner

Success with your Dog

Emanem 5010

Nearly ageless and indomitable, British soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill, who turned 79 on September 19, seems to have tapped into some sort of woodwind player youth elixir. At least his playing is as notable as an octogenarian as it was when he was say, a callow senior citizen.

Besides playing in the London Improvisers Orchestra, some of whose members are 40 or 50 years his junior, the saxman excels in small group settings. Of course, superior improvising is aided by sympathetic associates, and on these notable sessions, Coxhill is matched individually with two of the best. While fellow Londoner, percussionist Roger Turner, with whom he plays on Success with your Dog, and Italian guitarist Enzo Rocco, who partner him on Fine Tuning may be Baby Boomers, each has considerable experience working with quirky reedists. Rocco has played with Turin’s Carlo Actis Dato and Brussels’ André Goudbeek; and Turner with, among many others, clarinetist Tim Hodgkinson and saxophonist John Butcher. MORE

September 25, 2011

Lol Coxhill and Roger Turner

Success with your Dog
Emanem 5010

Lol Coxhill-Enzo Rocco

Fine Tuning

Amirani Records AMNR024

Nearly ageless and indomitable, British soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill, who turned 79 on September 19, seems to have tapped into some sort of woodwind player youth elixir. At least his playing is as notable as an octogenarian as it was when he was say, a callow senior citizen.

Besides playing in the London Improvisers Orchestra, some of whose members are 40 or 50 years his junior, the saxman excels in small group settings. Of course, superior improvising is aided by sympathetic associates, and on these notable sessions, Coxhill is matched individually with two of the best. While fellow Londoner, percussionist Roger Turner, with whom he plays on Success with your Dog, and Italian guitarist Enzo Rocco, who partner him on Fine Tuning may be Baby Boomers, each has considerable experience working with quirky reedists. Rocco has played with Turin’s Carlo Actis Dato and Brussels’ André Goudbeek; and Turner with, among many others, clarinetist Tim Hodgkinson and saxophonist John Butcher. MORE

April 23, 2011

Charles Hayward/Han-earl Park/Ian Smith/Lol Coxhill

Mathilde 253
SLAM CD 528

Riveting in its scope and cohesion, this seven-track slice of Free Improv captures the sounds made one night at a London club by an ad-hoc assemblage of players, who ordinarily may not have been expected to jell so effectively.

Ostensible draw is Avant-Rock percussionist Charles Hayward, who over the years has not only been part of bands such as This Heat and Massacre, but also improvised with the likes of soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill, bassist Hugh Hopper and composer Heiner Goebbels. Most of this gig at Café OTO pairs him with trumpeter and flugelhornist Ian Smith, a mainstay of the London Improvisers' Orchestra, who traded Dublin for the British capital years ago; and sharp-witted, Cork-based guitarist Han-earl Park, who has played with saxman Paul Dunmall among others. Coxhill himself adds his idiosyncratic saxophone delivery to the trio on the final two tracks. MORE

July 28, 2010

Calling Signals 08

From Café Oto
Loose Torque No #

Coxhill/Edwards/Noble

The Early Years

Ping Pong 003

Perhaps it’s an example of the dry sense of humor that those in the United Kingdom are supposed to possess, but less than five years separate the fine trio improvisations featuring saxophonist Lol Coxhill on The Early Years from the equally stirring quartet improvisations with Coxhill and Norwegian reedist Frode Gjerstad in the front line.

If earlier in this century are “early years” what about the prior career of Coxhill, which in improvised music dates from the late 1960s and professionally from the 1950s – and who sometimes seems to have played with absolutely every musician in the UK and the Continent? His associates on the disc, drummer Steve Noble, who was involved with jazz and improvised music by the early 1980s with Rip, Rag and Panic among others; and bassist John Edwards was committed to the sound at a similar juncture, at first with the Pointy Birds and B-shops for The Poor.. MORE

July 28, 2010

Coxhill/Edwards/Noble

The Early Years
Ping Pong 003

Calling Signals 08

From Café Oto

Loose Torque No #

Perhaps it’s an example of the dry sense of humor that those in the United Kingdom are supposed to possess, but less than five years separate the fine trio improvisations featuring saxophonist Lol Coxhill on The Early Years from the equally stirring quartet improvisations with Coxhill and Norwegian reedist Frode Gjerstad in the front line.

If earlier in this century are “early years” what about the prior career of Coxhill, which in improvised music dates from the late 1960s and professionally from the 1950s – and who sometimes seems to have played with absolutely every musician in the UK and the Continent? His associates on the disc, drummer Steve Noble, who was involved with jazz and improvised music by the early 1980s with Rip, Rag and Panic among others; and bassist John Edwards was committed to the sound at a similar juncture, at first with the Pointy Birds and B-shops for The Poor.. MORE

June 6, 2010

Festival Report:

Freedom of the City 2010
By Ken Waxman

“To Thine Self Be True” is lettered horizontally in careful script above the stage at Conway Hall in London’s Bloomsbury district, where London’s annual Freedom of the City (FOTC) festival took place May 2 and 3. Although related to the philosophy of the Ethical Society which built the edifice in 1929, the slogan can easily also be applied to five dozen or so improvisers featured at FOTC.

Organized about decade ago by saxophonist Evan Parker and AMM percussionist Eddie Prévost to showcase the city’s vibrant improvising scene, FOTC today welcomes as many tyros as veterans – and from the Continent and North America as well as the United Kingdom. Participants ranged from eccentric soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill, 77 and American trumpeter Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, 67, to young participants in Prévost’s weekly improv workshop and American brassman Peter Evans. MORE

December 18, 2008

London & Glasgow Improvisers Orchestras

Separately & Together
Emanem 4219

London Improvisers Orchestra

Improvisations for George Riste

psi 08.06

Successfully guiding free-form improvisations and conductions utilizing the talents of independent musicians in a large orchestra is a challenge; trying to do the same with two outsized improvising ensembles can be foolhardy. Yet that memorable experiment is captured on Separately & Together, a two-CD record of a 2007 meeting between London’s 27-piece Improvisers Orchestra and Glasgow’s 17-piece Improvisers Orchestra. Separate sets by both bands are also featured. MORE

December 18, 2008

London Improvisers Orchestra

Improvisations for George Riste
psi 08.06

London & Glasgow Improvisers Orchestras

Separately & Together

Emanem 4219

Successfully guiding free-form improvisations and conductions utilizing the talents of independent musicians in a large orchestra is a challenge; trying to do the same with two outsized improvising ensembles can be foolhardy. Yet that memorable experiment is captured on Separately & Together, a two-CD record of a 2007 meeting between London’s 27-piece Improvisers Orchestra and Glasgow’s 17-piece Improvisers Orchestra. Separate sets by both bands are also featured. MORE

August 14, 2006

COXHILL/GJERSTAD/STEPHENS

This That and The Other
Loose Torque LT 003

By Ken Waxman

An aviary symphony, this CD matches two veteran European reed players on six longish explorations of the timbral qualities of high-pitched horns. Anchored only by the steadfast stopping of acoustic bassist Nick Stephens, England’s Lol Coxhill on soprano saxophone, and Norway’s Frode Gjerstad on Eb and Bb clarinets and alto saxophone, explore every nuance of staccato shrillness.

Although the reedists, in their first recorded face-off, are front-and-centre, it’s Stephens who earns MVP status. The bassist, who also recorded, mixed and edited the session before releasing it on his own label, utilizes nearly every bull fiddle technique available to both accompany the players singly, and serve as the glue holding together their improvisations. MORE

April 17, 2006

The Sound of Squirrel Meals: The Work of Lol Coxhill

Edited By Barbara Schwarz
Black Press

By Ken Waxman
April 17, 2006

Perhaps the sort of player who only could have thrived in the ever-shifting scene that developed in the United Kingdom starting in the mid-960s, soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill is one of improvised music’s most distinctive characters.

In truth, the bulky, bald-headed Portsmouth-born saxophonist has always been a fellow traveller to Improvised Music, but never quite a card-carrying member. That’s because his quirkiness – and need to make a living – has encompassed a multiplicity of gigs, most of which he’s accepted with the same equanimity of spirit. In other words he’s been just as satisfied playing a featured role with punk band the Damned and other rockers as improvising with fellow reed masters like Steve Lacy and Evan Parker. He has been part of oddball vocal-and-instrumental groups like The Melody Four as well as more serious endeavors like the London Improvisers Orchestra. He has appeared as a TV and film actor. Plus he’s spent days busking outdoors almost as often as he’s been featured in proper concert settings. MORE

September 26, 2005

LONDON IMPROVISERS ORCHESTRA

Responses, Reproduction & Reality
EMANEM 4110

Outgrowth of a Butch Morris-led conduction that took place in London a few years ago, the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO) has evolved into a once-a-month gig where some of the British capital’s best improvisers get together to try out new ideas.

Involving a revolving cast of 30-plus players as well as different conductors and composers, the LIO has taken on an identity far beyond that of a BritImprov kicks band. However as these seven tracks, recorded at 2003’s and 2004’s Freedom of the City festivals demonstrate, the outcome is still inconsistent. MORE

June 28, 2004

BERGMAN/HASLAM/HESSION

The Mahout
SLAM CD 318

BURNS/COXHILL/EDWARDS/MINTON/RUSSELL
Mopomoso solos 2002
Emanem 4100

Solo, duo and group improvisations are the connective strands that knit together these two British CDs. Both showcase contemporary improv from musicians young and old, though THE MAHOUT comes with a wildcard -- New York-based pianist Borah Bergman.

Bergman, 77, who is older by far than any other participant -- British saxophonist Lol Coxhill, most elderly of the seven other musicians is six years his junior -- plays anything but than old age home jazz. As a matter of fact, the fire and intensity he brings to his two solos and three trios on THE MAHOUT almost overshadow the singular tinkering of most of the others. Individually, while each succeeds on his own terms, the pianist’s work still provides a dictionary definition of Energy Music. MORE

November 3, 2003

RILEY/SANDERS/STABBINS/WREN

Four in the afternoon
Emanem 4067

HOWARD RILEY/LOL COXHILL
Duology
SLAM CD 249

One of the significant British musicians involved in the transition of the sound from jazz to Free Jazz to Free Improv, and all its variations, pianist Howard Riley has a vastly lower profile than many of his compatriots.

The 60-year-old pianist, who has taught at the Guildhall School of Music and London’s Goldsmiths College since the late 1960s, may be in fans’ consciousness for his work in the London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO) or for his early trio with bassist Barry Guy and drummer Tony Oxley. Yet besides that he has led a band with altoist Elton Dean and recorded scads of discs, solo and with partners like American pianist Jaki Byard. MORE

September 16, 2002

COXHILL/HASLAM/HESSION/RUTHERFORD/FELL

Termite one
Bruce’s Fingers BF 32

Climb into a time machine and travel back 1989 in Yorkshire, England when the weather was autumnal cool, but enough heat was being generated from an ad hoc collection of improvisers to incinerate a block of council flats.

Souvenir of Leeds’ first Termite Festival, this CD should demolish the idea that all British improv is hushed and effete as completely as termites devour wood. As a matter of fact, there are times while listening to the almost 49-minute disc, that it sounds as if the two saxophonists, one trombonist, bassist and drummer are hungrily chomping through the music the way soft bodied white ants wreck havoc on a house’s structure. MORE