Improvisation at (and around) the piano is, in many ways, my primary practice. It is the regular discipline I follow at home, a kind of workbench for many types of composition, a public performance option and, with other players, an exciting, dynamic way of communicating both with other musicians and with audiences. Even during the many years when I devoted myself to folk music I continued improvising regularly.
Regular participant and performer with Alfred Neiman’s improvisation classes at Chiswick and Hampstead, London, 1966-68
Participated in performances of The Tiger’s Mind and Schooltime Compositions, semi-improvised pieces by Cornelius Cardew, London, late 1960s.
Organiser and designer of many improvised music events in London in the late 1960s, especially at the Drury Lane Arts Lab.
Founded and organised The White Horse Ensemble (1992), playing found or invented sounds in outdoor spaces.
Played as the other half of a duo with Lou Gare (tenor sax) from 1993 until joined by David Stanley (guitar/electronics) in 1995 and named Synchronicity, later joined by vocalist Sarah Frances. This line-up played its last gig in Brno, Czech Republic in 2000.
Performances with Andy Visser (soprano Sax, found instruments and laptop) as Loopy and the Gruvewelderz, 2002 -.
Many solo and duo performances with Mick Green, Harry S. Fulcher, Lou Gare and others.
Now play (2008- onwards) with Half Moon Assemblahe with Lona Kozik, Elie Fruchter-Murray, Tim Sayer and Nick Grew.
Now also play (2009 - onwards) with The Jazzlab with Mick Green, Tim Sayer, and David George.
Taught improvisation at Dartington College of Arts and now at Plymouth University.
JAZZ AND OTHER PERFORMING
I do bread-and-butter jazz gigs in the locality where I live. I also form jazz-based groups from time to time. Usually I let these bands go after a while and move on to a different set of challenges.
1969-76 with STAVERTON BRIDGE folk trio – extensive touring in Britain and abroad, broadcasting and recording.
1976 - 1981 - folk duo with Tish Stubbs
1981 – 1986 – played with THREEWAY STREET, experimental folk-fusion band incorporating folk, popular, jazz, blues and other styles.
The A TO Z ENSEMBLE was a large community-based jazz group which worked regularly together and put on an ambitious evening for the Totnes Jazz Collective in 1997.
UP STICKS began life in 1999 as a six-piece band playing my compositions with a specific personnel - Mick Green (saxes, didgeridoo), Harry S, Fulcher (saxes, clarinet, keyboards), Tom Parkinson (electric bass), Vicky Jassey (congas and vocals), Dave Sheen (drums), Sam Richards (electric piano). This line-up issued a CD with Green Ltd. The group has re-surfaced more recently with a different line-up and different artistic policy: Mick Green, Sam Richards, Dave Murphy (saxes), Tim Sayer (trumpet), David George (bass), Jack Ross. The band plays jazz standards, some of my compositions, and freeform interpretations of pop songs.
THE HELIOCENTRIC OMNIVERSAL TRAVELLING BAND (2001-2003) – an 18-piece band created in homage to Sun Ra, playing Ra’s compositions and repertoire.
THE SCRATCH AND BOOGIE ARKESTRA (2004) was a development from the Sun Ra idea, incorporating elements of folk and pop music.
THE LINE THICKENS (2004) was the name of a concert presented by Lona Kozik and myself. Lona played classical pieces, and I improvised. I wrote a duo for two pianists, one reading one improvising.
THE JAZZLAB plays a wide range of material, busting out of the orthodoxies of jazz. In particular we use folk material, open form improvisations, and sometimes have a political edge.
In the sumemr of 2011 I gave improvisation performances with Lou Gare and Lona Kozik (at Sharpham House), James Kirk and Lona Kozik (at St Mary's Church, Totnes), and Elie Fruchter (St. Mary's Church, Totnes). I also initiated the Totnes Improvisers Orchestra (TIO).
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