Album label: 
Release date: 
Recording location: 
Little Theatre Club london
Recording date: 
Monday, January 1, 1973
Trevor Taylor
  • 1. IMPROMTU 1 (09:09)
  • 2. IMPROMTU 2 (16:21)
  • 3. IMPROMTU 3 (08:04)
  • 4. IMPROMTU 4 (14:41)
  • 5. IMPROMTU 5 (09:50)
  • 6. IMPROMTU 6 (12:32)

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar Electric Stereo Guitar – Derek Bailey
Drums, Cornet – John Stevens
Soprano Sax – Trevor Watts

The winter of 1973/74 was as bitter as they bloody well come. I can still remember it like it one great sharp cold icicle around my brain. In those days l did not make it up to London very often. lt’s true, l was aware of what was going on in Garrick Yard at the Little Theatre Club. In the 7O‘s Melody Maker still covered left field projects. in truth I never went to the Little theatre club and in truth, it even half the prople who say they went the place, went, it would have been regualry full, it wasnt!

The legend that has become the Spontaneous Music Ensemble in their home base ott St Martins Lane is the stuff of dedicated recording- (both in terms of written text and musical Tape) by a relatively small band of cognoscenti. Martin Davidson should get a mention in this context, not just because he has done so much to promote this music through his own Emanem |abe|’ also because he was there in the first place and had the forthought to tape what was going on

"Dynamics of thr Impromtu" is a great place to start investigationg the mid period SME. although Entropy do not use the title 'Spontaneous Music Ensemble", in fact that is what this recording is about. Mr Watts and Mr Stevens were operating SME at the time, but the Ensemble always had a bit of a revolving door in terms of membership and Derek Bailey was certainly someone who regulary walked his way in. The Sound on 'Dynamics of the impromtu may not ne absolutely digital mint, but it is gold star quality with decent seperation between the three protaganists. If what ishappening here can't be heard here, it won't be heard anywhere. This is hard music made in hard times, by musicians who were in themselves hard up and getting harder.

Anyone in the least bit intersted in the developemnet of improvised music in England and itd wider frame of reference within the 'Jazz' community needs to hear what John Stevens, Trevor Watts, and Derek Bailey were doing at the Little Theatre Club

By 74 this particular scene had already been in operation for 8 years. What we get on this cd is the recorded evidence is the cauldron of experimentation that had been on the boil for some time.

both John Stevens and Trevor Watts had already formed iindependent bands,("Away" and "Amalgam") respectively which were acting to a broader brief than that of the SME. The effect on the continuing impro studies was to create a densly integrated music that constantly operated on a microtonal tryst. A click of sticks. The soprano sax played so the notes splayed out like an aural fan. Derek Bailey’s electric guitar still fitting tone and volume together as one slash of colour, selected out into stubborn little ringing pieces. This the sound ot a secret place. Here is an opportunity to share it.

Earlier this year l went to hear Trevor Watts‘ l\/loire Music Quartet down at Dartington. A fine gig with everyone on the case; fusing a rush of rhythms and improvisation inside a set of written pieces which were crying out to be recorded. Okay, so the l\/lolre Music rational is a long way from the “ Dynamics of the impromptu” (25 years it anyone is counting) but, in the end, it is just not possible to com- partmentalise a life. Somewhere in the joyous hoolahoop of Moire l\/lusic is the same soprano saxophone that is investigating a total ' impromptu musical enquiry. lt may not be too obvious; it needs a little effort to hear it. Why bother with a two decade old set of total improvisations? lt we don’t hear history, how - do we know whether the present is not merely a reinvention of the past? The only reason to keep continuing to add up the same sum, is that something is going to be done with it. This Derek Bailey, John Stevens, Trevor Watts session is some serious multiplication. Don’t re~invent the wheel, ride it.