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Nick Stephens


Nick started the, free jazz/improvised music, CD label LOOSE TORQUE in 2005 which currently has 22 releases. Born Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire in 1946. Started first group, playing bass guitar, while still at school and was soon out on the road playing the R&B clubs, dance halls and US Bases of England and Europe. In 1966 he bought his first double bass and joined The Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra. In 1976 Stephens was asked to take his bass guitar along for a blow with John Stevens and altoist Trevor Watts. The result was John Stevens Away (mk II) and was the beginning of a long friendship and musical partnership between Stevens and Stephens. Nick was soon joined, in Away, by double bassist Ron Herman (Spontaneous Music Ensemble) and John and his two bass rhythm section were soon playing to critical acclaim. The group made three albums and two singles for Phonogram -VERTIGO the first single Annie was a very groovy Alternate Charts topper featuring John Martyn. They appeared twice on BBC televisions Old Grey Whistle Test and recorded several sessions for Radio 3's Jazz In Britain (available from Konnex Records) and one for John Peel's show.They made two national tours of big rock venues - one with The Jazz Crusaders - but never lost sight of the collective, group improvisation ethic that John had first nurtured in SME and The Little Theatre Club. Nick continued to work with John until his death in 1994 playing in The Dance Orchestra, Folkus, Freebop, Fast Colour and umpteen gigs and workshops. In 1988 he received his first of two Arts Council Bursaries for composition and formed the Nick Stephens Septet which featured a young Courtney Pine, Paul Rutherford and John Stevens and his son Richie on drums. In 1983 Nick and John had flown to Norway to form the group Accent with Frode Gjerstad. The group didn’t last more than a couple of broadcasts and recordings and a few gigs, but Stephens and Gjerstad kept in touch and when, after his death in 1994, an all day festival was held in London, to celebrate the music of John Stevens, Nick and Frode played the penultimate set together with Norwegian drummer Terje Isungset. They were followed onstage by Paul Rutherford. The four got together after the concert and determined to form a quartet ‘Calling Signals’ After gigs in Scandinavia Stephens acquired an Arts Council grant to tour the UK. The second incarnation of Calling Signals featured, Gjerstad, Stephens, South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo and Danish guitarist Hasse Poulson. They played several festivals and concerts in Norway and England and in 1996 recorded ‘Calling Signals‘ in London. Later versions of the group have featured Eivin One Pedersen, accordion and Paal Nilssen-Love. Calling Signals 08 featuring Gjerstad, Stephens, Lol Coxhill, Nilssen- Love released a live recording from London's Cafe Oto in October 09. Gjerstad and Stephens have also recorded together as a duo 'North Atlantic Drift' a trio with Kevin Norton 'Born In Brooklyn' Frode's Circulation Totale Orchestra and a trio with Louis Moholo-Moholo 'Quiddity' released November 09


Article: Album Review

Fred Lonberg-Holm / Nick Stephens: Crackle: Six improvisations for Cello and Double Bass

Read "Crackle: Six improvisations for Cello and Double Bass" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

These improvisations between Chicago's ubiquitous cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and veteran British double bassist Nick Stephens, known for ongoing collaborations with Norwegian reed master Frode Gjerstad and South-African drummer Louis Moholo- Moholo, were recorded in 2011 in Stephens' home-town, Northwood. The duo immediately establish a common language that encompasses organic elements of fiery ...


Article: We Travel the Spaceways

The Dude Abides

Read "The Dude Abides" reviewed by Mark Corroto

To paraphrase Jeffrey Lebowski, aka The Dude (or El Dudarino, if you are not into the brevity thing), “I've had a rough night, and I hate the fucking Grateful Dead, man." Actually, The Dude said the “Eagles" (and I guess I'm obliged to agree with him), but for me the Dead seem to always get under ...


Kongens Gade

Label: Leo Records
Released: 2012
Track listing: 1. Reunion; 2. The Lash; 3. The Last Mehari; 4. Kongens Gade.

Article: Album Review

Jon Corbett Dangerous Musics: Kongens Gade

Read "Kongens Gade" reviewed by AAJ Italy Staff

Ecco un disco impeccabile nel suo genere, ma scontato e inutile in quanto non sollecita alcuna nuova riflessione rispetto a quanto è già stato scritto infinite volte su certa improvvisazione radicale di derivazione free e su buona parte dei CD della Leo. Il fluire continuo di questa performance, registrata dal vivo a Londra nel maggio 2009, ...


Article: Album Review

Jon Corbett's Dangerous Musics: Kongens Gade

Read "Kongens Gade" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Legendary European jazz and free-jazz drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo gels to a higher-power along with prominent exponents of the British jazz scene in this egalitarian rendezvous. Led by energetic hornist Jon Corbett, who seemingly exhausts all possibilities of this expressionistic voyage, bassist Nick Stephens' limber and expansive bottom-end assists with seeding a loose but manifold structural component. ...


A Winter's Tour

Label: Loose Torque
Released: 2011
Track listing: Nine Souls; Five Souls (plus the barman).


Article: Album Review

Calling Signals 09: A Winter's Tour

Read "A Winter's Tour" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

British bassist Nick Stephens has always been a prominent mainstay within Europe's avant-jazz landscape. His affiliation with legendary British free-jazz pioneer and drummer John Stevens looms as one component of the bassist's overall dynamic and legacy. This rendition of Stephen's Calling Signals band was recorded live in 2009 during a brief tour of the U.K., and ...


Article: Album Review

Circulasione Totale Orchestra: Bandwidth

Read "Bandwidth" reviewed by John Kelman

With a group as sonically dense as Circulasione Totale Orchestra (CTO), a single disc can be daunting enough. With Bandwidth, the 25 year-old free-blowing group delivers nearly three hours of relentless collective interplay; three continuous pieces divided into four segments each across three CDs. It's not for the faint-at-heart; even free improv fans may find it ...


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