I believe I saw the band at The Band In The Wall in Manchester in '77 or '78. It was a time of experimentation in jazz that saw fusion with rock, free and Township music, some of which has stood the test of time. I'd really enjoyed Keith Tippett's groups, prior to this line-up; his rolling chord technique set up a powerful base for the collective riffs/themes and the often anarchic solo imrovisations. Containing some of the same players, Ninesense was even better, sounding at times like a trad band on LSD; always highly entertaining, despite the intentional lack of complex chord changes and melodies. There was a joy and energy about the music and an infectious interaction between the band members. Oh yes, and the 'rhythm section' was awesome! Moholo, Miller and Tippett were exceptional in their ability to generate excitement.
Anyone who'd grown up with the 'new' British jazz from the mid-60s onwards would have had no difficulty listening to and enjoying this band. Unfortunately, as with experiments in other areas, such as Progressive Rock, this was something of a swan song for such music. At the end of the gig at BITW, Alan Skidmore left the stage playing Body And Soul, which amused everyone; someone else retorted with "Play a tune, you b***ers!", to equal amusement. A great time was had by all.
In the next decade and beyond, the fun of such music was largely replaced by more serious or retrospective styles. So, are Ninesense relevant today? Does the music stand up? It's probably as bewildering to a new listener as it would have been to my dad - but I love it.