3

Back Door: BBC In Concert

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Back Door: BBC In Concert The Back Door story belongs to a brief but rather glorious time in British popular music. A time when a free-blowing jazz trio could emerge from the resident band of a northern cabaret club, a summer season in seaside variety theatre, afternoon jam sessions and the band of an iconic figure from the British blues boom. As BBC In Concert ably demonstrates, the band managed to blend these rather disparate experiences together to create some entertaining music.

In 1968 bassist Colin Hodgkinson and saxophonist Ron Aspery met at the Starlite Club in Redcar. A summer season followed, in Bournemouth on the south coast, after which Aspery played sessions around London and Hodgkinson joined Alexis Korner's group. Korner's role in promoting and developing the British blues scene, as a performer and broadcaster, was fundamental. He was the compere of the broadcast from which this recording was taken, but although he's credited as such on the sleeve (along with vocals and guitar), none of his compering activity seems to have made it onto the record.

A return to the Starlite Club brought drummer Tony Hicks into the frame and Back Door was born. The band gained support from the New Musical Express, drew the attention of major labels such as Warner Brothers (which signed the band) and supported Chick Corea at Ronnie Scott's club. By the time the trio recorded this set of tunes for the BBC, on 5 July 1973, it had already recorded two albums—the second at New York's Electric Lady studio.

Back Door was described variously as playing jazz, jazz-rock and fusion. BBC In Concert has a strong blues feel—"Roberta" and "Linin' Track" from Leadbelly, and Robert Johnson's "Walking Blues" join four songs credited jointly to Hodgkinson and Aspery. There's a welcome economy to the songs: "His Old Boots" is the only track to clock in at more than 4 minutes and that's only by a second or two.

Hodgkinson's bass guitar sound gave Back Door a unique sonic identity, combining rhythm and lead playing, often in the instrument's upper register. His work on this session matches many guitarists of the time for fluidity and expressiveness. Two instrumentals show another side to Back Door's style. "Folksong" is, despite its title, the jazziest of the seven tunes, featuring some raucous sax from Aspery. "Forget Me Daisy" is a calming, whimsical, tune—folkier than "Folksong," Asprey's flute reminiscent of Didier Malherbe's work with Kevin Ayers.

Lovers of the etymological enigma may wish to ponder this one: the album sleeve and the label on the record refer to "Back Door," but Hodgkinson's notes (and his website) refer to "Backdoor." One word or two, it's the three musicians that really matter on BBC In Concert and this vinyl record is a fine reminder of their talent.


Track Listing: Folksong; Roberta; Linin' Track; Forget Me Daisy; Blue Country Blues; His Old Boots; Walking Blues.

Personnel: Ron Aspery: saxophone, flute, keyboards; Colin Hodgkinson: bass, vocals; Tony Hicks: drums; Alexis Korner: guitar, vocals.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Gearbox Records


Related Video

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
8th Street Nites
Warner Bros. Records
2000
buy
Activate
Warner Bros. Records
1976
buy
Another Fine Mess
Warner Bros. Records
1974
buy
Back Door
Warner Bros. Records
1972
buy
Jaco Pastorius Jaco Pastorius
bass, electric
Chick Corea Chick Corea
piano
Weather Report Weather Report
band/orchestra
Alphonse Mouzon Alphonse Mouzon
multi-instrumentalist
Bill Bruford Bill Bruford
drums
Hiram Bullock Hiram Bullock
guitar, electric
Return to Forever Return to Forever
band/orchestra
Billy Cobham Billy Cobham
drums
Mahavishnu Orchestra Mahavishnu Orchestra
band/orchestra
Frank Gambale Frank Gambale
guitar

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Once & Future" CD/LP/Track Review Once & Future
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 10, 2016
Read "Still, Up In The Air" CD/LP/Track Review Still, Up In The Air
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "Muddy Ditch" CD/LP/Track Review Muddy Ditch
by John Eyles
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Metasediment Rock" CD/LP/Track Review Metasediment Rock
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!