• 1. HOME TRIO (04:34)
  • 2. PART 1 (04:16)
  • 3. PART 2 (08:30)
  • 4. CONDUCTION 1 (01:51)
  • 5. SKIP TO PART 3 (11:28)
  • 6. PART 3 (06:45)
  • 7. CONDUCTION 2 (01:36)
  • 8. PART 4 (03:10)
  • 9. PART 5 (04:12)
  • 10. CONDUCTION 3 (01:04)
  • 11. PART 6 (06:05)

1968

MEL DAVIS - electric organ, piano, trombone, cello, vibraphone. (Also conducted the 3 Conductions.)
TERRY DAY - drums, alto saxophone, bamboo pipes.
LYN DOBSON - tenor saxophone, piano (on track 1 only).
EDDIE EDEM - trumpet, congas.
TONY EDWARDS - drums, congas, djembi (hand drum), vibraphone.
MIKE FIGGIS - trumpet, flugelhorn, Spanish guitar.
FRANK FLOWERS - double bass.
RUSSELL HARDY - piano, electric organ, bamboo pipes, (possibly) accordion.
TERRY HOLMAN - double bass, violin, baritone saxophone, one-string thing-a-phone, tuba.
GEORGE KHAN - tenor & alto saxophones, flute, piccolo.

An expanded reissue of the only recording published at the time by one of the pioneering free improvisation groups. The People Band took a much more 'anything goes' approach than their contemporaries, so they covered a lot of ground from chamber-esque music and free jazz to free improvisation and conductions. Featuring Mel Davis, Terry Day, Lyn Dobson, Eddie Edem, Tony Edwards, Mike Figgis, Frank Flowers, Russell Hardy, Terry Holman & George Khan. 54 minutes.

The vibraphone was in the studio. Possibly Davis, Edwards, Figgis, Hardy and Holman all had a go on it that day.
All the band played percussion, whistles, etc.. Only Tony Edwards and Terry Day played their respective kits in the studio.

Excerpts from sleeve notes:
The People Band (originally known as the Continuous Music Ensemble) was founded around the same time as AMM and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. However, unlike those other two pioneering groups, it did not develop its own distinctive methodology and language. Its approach was more laissez faire - anything goes. So the music on this 1968 recording covers a wide spectrum, both looking back to free jazz and chamber music and forward to free improvisation and conductions.

To quote the notes on the original LP: "The music is free, but it is not really free jazz: the music supersedes all boundaries and limitations, and becomes a spiritual experience. This is a music whose very essence is communication, and one finds it very difficult to conceive of any art form which could be more total than this. But let us not get bogged down with philosophy; it's not philosophy that matters - just the sound - and this is a beautiful album."

In general the People Band considered that the word 'spontaneous' meant 'spontaneous', i.e., without boundaries, methodology or pre-imposed structure - a music that was 'arrived at' without spoken pre-conditions or methods. The People Band were, in fact, as a whole 'anarchic' towards any individual who did want to structure the proceedings. The conductions and various scores were only briefly entertained.

Around 1960, Russell Hardy, Terry Holman and Terry Day formed a trio (later sometimes augmented by Henry Lowther). This group was probably the first in London to perform free improvisation exclusively. It was also probably the first in which the drummer (Terry Day) reduced his volume using a small kit played with reduced sticks and knitting needles, in order not to drown out the generally quiet pianist.

The Russell Hardy Trio (as it was generally known) met up with the other musicians around 1965 when performing at the Starting Gate pub in north London. The merger of these two groups became the Continuous Music Ensemble whose founder members included the ten musicians on this recording.

Chance formed a strong element of People Band music. Also free jazz, Charles Ives, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Eric Satie, etc., and the classical backgrounds of individuals in the band formed elements of People Band music too. Eddie Edem provided the African flavour.

The People Band collaborated with the People Show - painters, poets, dancers, mime artists, eventists and installationists. The basis of the music was primarily improvisation, and the concept of music being continuous without beginning or end - one merely plugged into it.

Some notes on the music:
Home Trio was recorded at MEL DAVIS' home some time before the studio session. Davis played the initial prepared piano chords then moved on to cello, LYN DOBSON started on tenor sax, then moved to plucking piano strings. TERRY DAY played a small drum kit with a small high hat. The echo on recording was added by Davis. Dobson did not participate in the studio session as he was performing with Soft Machine.

On Part 3 an acoustic guitarist called JOE MORRETTI gatecrashed the studio recording. He was an early rock ’n’ roll session musician. Apparently he had been in Olympic Studios that day doing a rock ’n’ roll recording, and was on his way out when he heard the People Band recording, walked in, took out his guitar and joined in. He gets that very brief solo spot near the start of the track. It's intriguing because some saw him come in, while others had their eyes closed, but the band implicitly knew there was something new, another voice.

On this piece, Day is initially on drums and cymbals. After Joe Morretti's guitar, there is a Day fluster on cymbals, then Edwards on drums with brushes and a time thing. Day is on the initial alto sax with bamboo pipe reed, then Khan and Day exchange alto phrases.

TERRY DAY and/or MARTIN DAVIDSON (2003)

Album label: 
Release date: 
01.01 / 2004
Recording date: 
01.10 / 1968
Recording location: 
London (Olympic Studios) - except for track 1
Credits:
Mastering engineer : Martin Davidson
Producer : Charlie Watts

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