139

Lol Coxhill: Spectral Soprano

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Lol Coxhill: Spectral Soprano
To describe Lol Coxhill as an eccentric English improviser would be redundant, maybe redundant times two. The saxophonist known for his wicked sense of musical humor is a true original voice. These two discs contain 29 tracks, over two hours of music recorded between 1954 and 1999.

Compiled by the artist, these tracks take in the breadth of his career. The early work finds some hauntingly beautiful music, such as his straight take on “Autumn In New York,” circa 1954. We also hear his R&B/rock gig with Tony Knight’s Chessmen. Coxhill is probably best known in improvising circle for his soprano saxophone sound. His command of the most difficult of instruments finds him in the elite company of Evan Parker and Steve Lacy. His path is definitely one of most resistance. Coxhill has a passion for traditional music, playing it ‘straight’ within the context of free shows. He takes on Charlie Parker’s’ “Quasimodo” and Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” as a lounge lizard singer before ripping through Bird’s changes. Is he serious or a kitsch dealer?

This scrapbook of Coxhill’s career has the voyeuristic effect of being admitted into his inner circle of friends. Coxhill makes musical theatre, eschewing the serious nature creative music has taken on. The company he keeps is with his friends and sympathizers like Veryan Weston, Pat Thomas, Lu Edmonds, and Dave Green. Coxhill can honk and squank with the best and also deliver a musical punch line. The session assembles reveal more depth to his music too. He plays some hauntingly beautiful passages as on Jimmy Van Heusen’s “I Thought About You” and his original title “Two Out Of Three.” But you just never know what to expect, one track he plays the ‘elbow piano’ and on another he announces “the saxophone is not a condiment.” Indeed!

Track Listing

Disc One: Autumn in New York; Bad Boy; Strictly Legal; Vermillion Sands; Not the North; Three Go To Letchworth; Embraceable You/Quasimodo; Union Dues; Turned Out Nice Again; Happy Birthday Bob Cobbing; I Thought About You; Aquaslide; Experiments With Temperature; Two Out of Three; Messin' With The Man. Disc Two: A Brief Introduction to Sax; Magic Buffalo; Uptown Top Ranking; Perdido; Out of Nowhere; Brits Abroad; Tourism in Crisis; Verstehen Und Sprechen; Murder in the Air; Sweet Hawaiian Kisses; Victory Walk; C.A.K.; Resonance; Introduction to the Orchestra.

Personnel

Lol Coxhill: saxophones, piano, voice, etc; and others too numerous to name.

Album information

Title: Spectral Soprano | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Emanem

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.