Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sorry, I wasn't listening...

Keith Tippett has been around the fringes - and centre - of the jazz/rock crossover for decades. He has played with King Crimson and Keith Christmas (vive les KC!), married Julie Driscoll, and done loads more that I don't know about. Now I'm *not* a jazz fan, and what jazz I do like has often been approached via rock connections. So I arrived at keith Tippett from Blossom Toes, Crimso, Jools, Soft Machine, and others.

I've no idea what his more recent stuff sounds like but these are the first three solo albums that he made. I say 'solo', though the first two are credited to The Keith Tippett Group and the third to Centipede - a great lumbering behemoth of around a hundred members.

I have the vinyl of 'Septober Energy', one of only two or three that I have on the RCA Neon label (along with 'Tonton Macoute', another cracker), and I'm fairly certain that the gatefold photo has a key to all the people on the album and lists - and numbers - them. Elton Dean (sax), Mark Charig (trumpet & cornet), Nick Evans (trombone), Robert Wyatt (drums), Brians Godding and Belshaw (guitars), Roy Babbington (bass)...

Robert Fripp produced the Centipede album at about the same time that he was recording King Crimson's Lizard album, and there are crossovers and parallels musically and personnel-wise.

The first two albums are akin to Soft machine 5, and if you like that you'll probably like them.

Septober Energy is a magnificent sprawling mess.
I love it - but I don't play it very often 'cos there are too many aimless bits. A bit like the Dead live - but whereas you can forgive Garcia & co for wandering off too far in a live performance it's a bit more difficult to love the whole 90-minute beast. A bit of judicious editing - and I'm talking to *you*, Mr. Robert Fripp producer - might have tightened it up and got rid of some of the worst excesses while leaving a side or two free for some other stuff. On the other hand it is (or was) a brave experiment and deserves to be heard warts'n'all. Part four is basically an extension of "Green And Orange Night Park' from the second album, and '###' is 'Let It Be' if I'm not mistaken. Which I may be.

I haven't checked whether the following companion albums are still available on CD, if not I may well post them soon. If they are available, I should buy Jools' ones if I were you. I have the B B Blunder on vinyl but never liked it much. Not sure that I do now, either.

B B Blunder - Worker's Playtime (essentially the 3rd Blossom Toes album)
Julie Driscoll - 1969
Julie Tippetts - Sunset Glow

Keith Tippett Group – You Are Here, I Am There (1970)

01 - This Evening Was Like Last Year (to Sarah)
02 - I Wish There Was A Nowhere
03 - Thank You For The Smile (for Wendy and Roger)
04 - Three Minutes From An Afternoon In July (to Nick)
05 - View From Battery Point (to John and Pete)
06 - Violence
07 - Stately Dance For Miss Primm
08 - This Evening Was Like Last Year (short version)

Download You Are Here, I Am There

Keith Tippett Group – Dedicated To You (But You Weren’t Listening) (1971)

01 - This Is What Happens
02 - Thoughts To Geoff
03 - Green And Orange Night Park
04 - Gridal Suite
05 - Five After Dawn
06 - Dedicated To You, But You Weren't Listening
07 - Black Horse

Download Dedicated To You (But You Weren't Listening)

Centipede – Septober Energy (1971)

01 - Septober Energy part 1
02 - Septober Energy part 2
03 - Septober Energy part 3
04 - Septober Energy part 4

Download Septober Energy