28 June 2013


Tony Coe for EMI Lansdowne Series from 1976.

Mary Thomas (vo), Norma Winstone (vo), James Gregory (fl, piccolo), Alan Hacker (cl, bcl), Francis Christou (cl, bcl, ss), Edward Planas (cl, bcl). Tony Coe (cl, bcl, ss, ts), Derek Watkins (tp, flh), Henry Lowther (tp, flh), Kenny Wheeler (tp, flh), Martin Drover (tp, flh), Chris Pyne (tb), Geoffrey Perkins (bass tb), Bill Geldard (bass tb), Trevor Tomkin (perc), Frank Ricotti (perc), Pat Smythe (p, elp, org), Bob Cornford (p, cond), Philip Lee (g), Jennifer Ward-Clarke (cello), Peter Willison (cello), Allen Ford (cello), Vivian Joseph (cello). Daryl Runswick (b)
Recorded under the personal supervision of Denis Preston at Lansdowne Studios London.
Based on poems by Jill Robin

First time out in blogland for this obscure piece of British jazz - a colossal work that blends jazz, rock and classical music.
The composer writes:
When I first thought of the opening of Zeitgeist I soon discovered that the five notes which comprised it suggested a twelve note row - the remaining seven notes following almost as a matter of course - and it is upon this row that the whole piece is based .It opens with a solitary B- flat high on bass clarinet.This is symbolic of the flower and on the words "take this flower" this same note is joined by one a tone below,"Her Days Are Numbered" being reflected musically by a three note figure based on fourths.After some more spoken lines the speaker Mary Thomas becomes singer introducing a chorale like theme "Ah This World" which is heard in canon.
Soon we are plunged into a most violent section expressive of the dissonance and relentlessness of our industrial age and also symbolic of the vicissitudes of modern life.As the noise fades we find ourselves in a rock section.This introduces Norma Winstone who in the spell of the unyielding and hypnotic rhythm attempts to persuade Mary to "join the dance" Mary resists but Norma, after an improvised solo of seductive persuasiveness, finally wins her over.
Then follows some soliloquising from Mary ending in a plea for help, and this takes us into a duet for trumpet (Henry Lowther) and myself on bass clarinet, in which we utilise the note row as a basis for improvisation and during which the ensemble enters periodically to eat up, so to speak, some of our available notes limiting us to more and more with each entry. On the very last brutal cord of this section we are forced to two high notes from which we subsequently descend to "Brother and Sister" sung by Mary & Norma.This culminates in a drum duet by Trevor Thompson and Frank Riccoti in which there 12 drums are tuned to a note row.An ensemble section which ends on a held note on soprano saxophone brings us to the close of side one.
This last note is picked up by Norma at the commencement of side two and leads into the "Love Song" the bass notes and harmony which derives from the note row.To follow there are solos by Phil Lee (guitar) and Kenny Wheeler (fluglehorn) and then Mary sings an inverted version of the song accompanied by Bob Cornford who lays down his baton for the piano keyboard.
A return to the original version of the "Love Song"  is followed by a cadenza written for Alan Hacker in which he plays canons bringing out different voices thereof by using contrasting registers of the clarinet and ending with one of his celebrated harmonic glissandi which leads into the final section. Here Norma and later Mary sing "We are Together" with solos from myself on soprano saxophone, Henry Lowther, Frank Ricotti, on vibraphone and Phil Lee. The singers then re-enter and the song is gradually undermined by the chorale like theme which starts on 'celli and is canonically treated .This section reaches a climax then there is a disintegration into an atonal passage.The work ends on a solitary note with which it began-a note transformed in meaning now symbolizing not the doomed flower but the eternal spirit of man-in other words a note of hope.
I should like to dedicate this work to memory of Alban Berg.


brian said...

thanks--- a welcome addition!

jazzuk said...

Thanks very much for this Bacoso

taro nombei said...

This looks incredibly interesting... totally unknown to me… looking forward to hearing this… thanks so much Bacoso (as always)

boogieman said...

Merci Bacoso, I'm looking forward to listen to this opus, with some apprehension though, jazz and serial music are unlikely companions.

Wallofsound said...

Many thanks for this.

grumpy said...

Never seen this before, looks fascinating. many thanks, Bacosa.

jazzandylan said...

Many thanks for this Bacoso - worth it for Kenny Wheeler's solo on side 2.

Simon666 said...

great listen, thanks Bacoso!

bongohito said...

welcome to back to the fray, you proper wise crate digger. we missed you.

this is so rare and unusual i never knew i needed it. until now.

thanks for what you do to bring us all you do.

saomusubi said...

Many thanks Bacoso

Newmill Mark said...

I second bongohito! This looks awesome, jazz albums using serial techniques like this are very uncommon indeed, I can only think of David Mack's Lansdowne album with Shake Keane really so this will be an extra-fascinating listen

Hans Andersson said...

Is this safe to listen to or will my synapsis pop like corn in hot oil? I will certainly spin this!

Over the years I have found so much goodiness here, the spiritual jazz-bonanza a couple a years ago, totally transformed my mind in the most peculiar way, wich is a whole different story.

Thanks for all the time, music & mindopening!

Mike Upton said...

Thanks, looking forward to hearing this!

doghouse said...

Exceptional - thanks for sharing - much appreciated

Aboganster said...

Muchas Gracias, brother.
Saludos desde http://afronautaslatinastereo.blogspot.com/

Mike in Focus said...

Thanks Bacoso - Yet another long-lost (and wished-for) album I'd given up all hope of hearing again.

corvimax said...

very enjoyable, thank you

112nortwest said...

Am looking forward to this one...will be on my i-pod when I take my morning walk tomorrow...thanks so much

jas1 said...

Ooops--the mp3 is actually a flac file.

Would you kindly supply an mp3 version for those of us living in the Old Stone Age?


Bink Figgins said...

My dude. Just wanted to drop a million thank yous for all the amazing waxx you've blessed me with over the years. YEARS. From RVGs to J-Jazz and back again. This blog is an all time favorite. Just many thanks. Always a pleasure to come and browse the virtual stacks.

Neil Lampert said...

Many many thanks for this Basoco - and for all the other incredible albums you've shared that I haven't thanked you for.

I'd never heard Mal Waldron nor any Japanese jazz before coming here. So many other gems too.

You are a national treasure.

hideo said...

WOW, Tony and Norma and Kenny and a swarm of other folks I'm looking forward to hearing! thanks!!

roberto rossi said...

PLEASE re-post if you can. THANKS SO MUCH in advance!

Bacoso said...


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