Monday, September 19, 2022

Extemporal Lobe: Lol Coxhill 90

Lol Coxhill - Sextet

We're back, and we're hoping your weekend was as spontaneous as today's birthday guy.

He's been dead ten years, but somehow I always find myself looking at the personnel of whatever I am listening to and he's on it.

These free improvisers, it's hard sometimes to distinguish them in the non-idiomatic, extemporaneous context, which can often resemble a cacaphonous maelstrom of unrelated sounds to the uninitiated ear.

A few of them are recognizable from a passel of notes or noises, as with Derek Bailey's guitar scrapings or Evan Parker's half-hour-long, circular breathing displays.

None more so than Lol Coxhill, perhaps along with Steve Lacy the primary exponent of the soprano saxophone since Coltrane.... and no, Kenny G doesn't count.

What I adore about the music of Lol Coxhill is the playfulness of it. The free improv stuff sometimes lacks that and takes itself so seriously, but his stuff always retains a sense of fun and of the wonder and joy of being alive.

If I had to boil it down to one word, that word would be humor.

If you love or are at all interested in the free improvising scene -- especially in the UK -- of the last 50 years, it's nearly impossible to avoid him.

Anyway he'd have been a big 90 today, and I've always wanted to have him on here despite the fact that unissued recordings of him are kind of scarce.

But here's one! So well captured by RAI Radio 3 too, with all the elements that make Lol Coxhill a giant in this kind of musical expression.

Lol Coxhill
Centro Produzione Radiofonica
Sala A
Via Asiago
Rome, Italy

01 Solo
02 Quartet
03 Trio
04 Sextet

Total time: 51:45
all titles are fully improvised

Lol Coxhill - soprano & sopranino saxophones
Roberto Bellatalla - bass (Tracks 02 & 04)
Luca Venitucci - piano & accordion (Tracks 02 & 04)
Luca Tilli - cello (Tracks 02 & 04)
Mike Cooper - guitar & electronics (Tracks 03 & 04) 
Fabrizio Spera - drums & percussion (Tracks 03 & 04)

pre-FM reels of an "Il Cartellone - Suite Jazz" broadcast on Italian Radio 3, presumably sourced from the RAI archives
diginoises at the end of all tracks removed by EN, September 2022
337 MB FLAC/direct link

I shall return with one more super milestone birthday -- this one's still alive and kicking! -- towards the end of the month.

Until then, I hope you find this lovely Lol Coxhill tape -- he was born this day in 1932, you know -- your cup of tea, and it finds you Frog Dancing with the stars for the rest of September!--J.

9.19.1932 - 7.10.2012

1 comment:

  1. What a treasure. Lol Coxhill was truly a one-off, a master of his instrument, and an amazing improvisor. Thanks so much for this posting.