282

Splinters: Split the Difference

Andrey Henkin By

Sign in to view read count
Splinters: Split the Difference One imagines that there must be literally thousands of sessions like this, live gigs by groups that only a small handful of people got to enjoy. The record industry being what it is, only the smallest percentage of musical interactions are documented and released. Reel Recordings, focusing its efforts on a particularly fruitful period in British jazz and progressive music, is trying to change that.

Splinters is an illustrative name for this band. As was more common in Europe, musicians separated by generation and musical aesthetic collaborated in the nebulous area between written and improvised music. The lineup of this 1972 concert (apparently the group, albeit with different personnel, played several times during this year), from London's 100 Club, might seem irreparably segmented: saxophonist Tubby Hayes and drummer Phil Seamen were part of the British hard bop scene in the '50s-60s while drummer John Stevens and saxophonist Trevor Watts were firmly ensconced in the avant-garde radiating from their Spontaneous Music Ensemble. In between this irresistible force and immovable object are pianist Stan Tracey, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and bassist Jeff Clyne, three players equally comfortable in either camp.

But special things happen in live settings and Hayes and Seamen were the progressives of their day while Stevens and Watts never rejected tradition. So this septet sounds remarkably integrated, approaching the two long tracks (47 and 30 minutes respectively) without preconceptions or agendas. The term free-bop has become overused but it is apt for this recording. The drummers are not afraid to keep time or abandon it and Hayes is unparalleled in fortitude; had he been born a little later, he could have easily challenged the Brötzmanns and Breukers, Parkers and Portals. But much of the credit for the success of the session goes to the pliant swing of Clyne, theRon Carter of British jazz.

Hayes would die just over a year after this concert and Seamen in less than six months. The rest would continue pioneering, though rarely together. Enjoy this moment as much as they surely did.


Track Listing: One in One Hundred; Two in One Hundred.

Personnel: Tubby Hayes, Trevor Watts: saxes; Phil Seaman, John Stevens: drums; Stan Tracey: piano; Kenny Wheeler: trumpet; Jeff Clyne: bass.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Reel Recordings | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Black Orpheus" CD/LP/Track Review Black Orpheus
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "Fierce Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Fierce Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Shoebox View" CD/LP/Track Review Shoebox View
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Dixie Chicken" CD/LP/Track Review Dixie Chicken
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: May 28, 2016
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Near Life Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Near Life Experience
by John Kelman
Published: June 27, 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!