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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

ALBUM REVIEW

Bob Downes Open Music: Let Your Mind...Space Out

Read "Let Your Mind...Space Out" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Any CD release by Bob Downes is a significant event but the psych-entitled Let Your Mind...Space Out is important because it also celebrates the 80th birthday of this virtuoso jazz multi-instrumentalist. It's hard to credit that Downes, like his contemporaries Mike Westbrook and Mike Gibbs has now achieved octogenarian status, given that his early oeuvre was populated by freewheeling jazz rock albums such as Electric City and Deep Down Heavy, both released in 1970. But Downes also made ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bob Downes Open Music: It's A Mystery

Read "It's A Mystery" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Pursuing his self-styled Open Music route, multi-instrumentalist Bob Downes treads a very thin and courageous line between written jazz and total improvisation. Of his many recordings, some funky jazz rock, others wholly extemporized, there are several which involve organised pieces evolving into often lengthy improvisations. It's A Mystery (not to be confused with the pop song by punk star Toyah Willcox) contains archival previously unreleased recordings spanning the length of his career from the early 1970s onwards. The ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bob Downes: Bob Downes and The Alphorn Brothers

Read "Bob Downes and The Alphorn Brothers" reviewed by Roger Farbey

This surely must be one of the strangest team-ups in jazz? A trio of German alpine horn players and British expatriate and jazz phenomenon Bob Downes. It may be an unconventional alliance, but somehow this album works at a very convincing level. Recorded in 2004 in his adopted home country of Germany, Downes wrote and arranged all the music and lyrics presented here. The almost surreal photomontage cover enhances the attractiveness of the CD but gives no adequate clue as ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bob Downes Open Music: New York Suite

Read "New York Suite" reviewed by Roger Farbey

British flautist/saxophonist Bob Downes recorded some compelling albums in the early '70s and then, coinciding with his permanent relocation to Germany at the end of the decade, disappeared from the UK jazz scene. The music didn't stop with his migration though, as he subsequently produced several solo flute albums for his own label, Openian. In this archival recording from 1979 recorded in London, Downes augments his usual trio into a quintet with the addition of the late trombonist ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bob Downes: Open Music

Read "Open Music" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Open Music was Bob Downes' debut album, recorded for the Philips label in 1969 and his impact on the UK scene was such that he was voted top place in the flute category of the Melody Maker jazz poll's British musician section for three consecutive years from 1972. It has until now never been reissued on CD and rare vinyl copies have attracted high sums in second-hand markets. Although Downes is best known for his flute playing, he is a ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bob Downes: Electric City

Read "Electric City" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Despite this 1970 album having been previously reissued on CD in Germany and Japan, this is the first time it has received such an accolade in the United Kingdom, its country of origin. Bob Downes is a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer and this album was one of his incursions into the world of jazz-rock, although he was equally at home playing in a free jazz context with his acoustic Open Music trio. Originally released on Polygram's Vertigo label, Electric City ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bob Downes Open Music Trio: Flashback

Read "Flashback" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Bob Downes may be a name unfamiliar to many, but to some his name is synonymous with an electrifying period in British jazz. Downes was on the cusp of this new movement and recorded some idiosyncratic albums between 1969 and 1970. Deep Down Heavy was almost a rock album, whereas the as yet un-reissued Open Music recorded for Philips was much nearer to the free jazz genre. Two others were Diversions a trio album (for his own label Openian) and ...


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