In March 1969 the Graham Collier Sextet recorded Down Another Road for Fontana and this is a live version of that material, from the same year.
Much of Collier’s later work had its emphasis on composition rather than instinctive improvisation, but this was a successful attempt to combine the two. The tunes have a degree of formality, using pre-determined patterns and arrangements, alternating mood and tempos, in which the soloists are given opportunity for expression.
Harry Beckett features a good deal, moving between open playing with volume and direction on Aberdeen Angus, to more introspective passages, his trademark descending runs and subdued understatement appearing on The Barley Mow. Burblings For Bob, which didn’t appear on the original studio album, shows the wider spectrum of Beckett’s approach – freer interaction leads into interesting and attractive mixtures of styles and time signatures.
Molewrench sees Nick Evans stretch out, a full sound with slurs and growls, and an indication of how he was to become one of Britain’s leading trombonists, whilst Karl Jenkins’ oboe takes on an eastern flavour, shades of Yusef Lateef. Jenkins’ composition Lullaby For A Lonely Child has Stan Sulzmann opening up the melody without losing any of its inherent tenderness. On this, the horns and underlying bass line keep the melodic momentum going, John Marshall injecting busy drum layers.
Repeated riffs are used, as on the title track, and the (then) fashion for jazz/rock rhythms comes out on Aberdeen Angus – Marshall adept in this respect, supported by Jenkins’ punchy piano.
The live recording is excellent, clear as a bell, and the applause gives it atmosphere without being obtrusive. A fine release that typifies a memorable chapter in British jazz.
Burblings For Bob; Molewrench – Intro; Molewrench; Lullaby For A Lonely Child – Intro; Lullaby For A Lonely Child; Down Another Road – Intro; Down Another Road; The Barley Mow – Intro; The Barley Mow; Aberdeen Angus – Intro; Aberdeen Angus (56.46)
Graham Collier (b); Harry Beckett (t, flh); Nick Evans (tb); Stan Sulzmann (ts, as); Karl Jenkins (o, p); John Marshall (d). Stockholm, 1969.
My Only Desire Records MOD005CD