As its title indicates, this album was released to mark the occasion of drummer Tony Oxley's seventy-fifth birthday (which occurred on June 15 2013.) Fittingly, it is released on Incus, the ground-breaking label that Oxley established in 1970 with Derek Bailey and Evan Parker, frequently cited as the first independent musician-run record label in Britain" (just about true because of the inclusion of independent"--which rules out The Beatles' Apple label--and of in Britain," which rules out Debut set up by Max Roach and Charles Mingus in the early fifties.) The music here all originates from unreleased live sessions. ...read more
If music criticism is difficult and jazz criticism is most difficult of all (how can any writer capture the essence of a form so elastic and alive?), well, what then to do with Cecil Taylor, the tireless 78-year-old avant-garde piano eminence whose iconoclastic style remains so singular and uncompromising that it defies any attempts at definition, much less explanation? It's enough to make any self-respecting critic retire permanently from the business. Structurally, Taylor's music is essentially motivic improvisation--that is, it's based in the development of a motif, a repeated musical figure which quickly mutates into another motif, ...read more
Though in hindsight many followers of British jazz and free improvisation are well aware of the impact that artists like Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley have had on the course of modern creative music, the original liner notes on this, Oxley’s first album as leader, point to a presentation of new music by none other than Ronnie Scott’s preferred house drummer. Indeed, shortly before The Baptised Traveller was released, Oxley appeared alongside Kenny Clare on Scott’s Live at Ronnie Scott’s (also reissued by British Columbia). Fans of Britjazz in 1969 might have been more likely to expect a ...read more
Recorded in Germany, these improvisational giants align their very special talents for what may appear to be a most unusual yet largely gratifying set. The trio commences with an open-ended sequence of interlacing movements on “Tartar.” As the musicians explore microtonal sounds and subliminally constructed mini-themes. Drummer/percussionist Tony Oxley uses his darkly hued cymbals for accents, while pianist Fred Van Hove and multi-reedman Frank Gratkowski implement parallel tonalities. The band occasionally veers off into circularly devised motifs amid manically developed discourses – where they emit a rather otherworldly and somewhat unclassifiable approach. Otherwise, the chamber-like sonic attributes of this disc ...read more
I have a confession to make. One night at the Hotel Colibri in Victoriaville, Quebec, after a resoundingly disdained set by Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon and Tony Oxley, I rode up in the elevator with Oxley and Victo festival promoter Michel Levasseur. My room was on the first floor, but I wanted to hear what they had to say. At best, most people I spoke to called the set a disappointment. The trio went on over an hour late and played a short (by Victo standards) set. The performance seemed lackluster, perhaps weighed down by Dixon's floundering ...read more
Synopsis represents material originally issued on the “Incus” LP along with one additional and previously unreleased track, performed by the venerable trio of pianist Howard Riley, bassist Barry Guy and percussionist Tony Oxley who also utilizes live electronics on this outing. Essentially, this recording resides within the classic and oft pioneering British free-jazz style of improvisation, and as some of us might surmise, the band delivers the goods in artful and curiously interesting fashion.
Throughout these five pieces, the “Howard Riley Trio” embarks on a journey that features minimalist themes and microtonal passages along with subtle counterattacks amid the often-eerie ...read more
The under-recorded yet highly regarded trumpeter/composer/writer Bill Dixon teams up with renowned free-jazz, improvising drummer Tony Oxley on Papyrus Volume I. Here, Dixon extracts unusual sounds from his horn via sparse, irregular lines as he shapes spacious themes while affording the listener an opportunity to contemplate time and motion throughout these 12 pieces. The ever-inventive Oxley possesses a signature style and is revered for his unorthodox employment of the drum kit, percussion instruments and array of multicolored cymbals. The duo intersperse co-operative dialogue yet serve as colorists and purveyors of enigmatic albeit spirited interplay which is often subtle and wavering ...read more