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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Down Another Road/Songs For My
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on 27 October 2013
Graham Collier was quite a big name in British jazz in the late sixties and early seventies. Judging from this 2 disc set, and 2 others issued by the same label, interest in him seems to be reviving. He is certainly a significant figure in the history of British modern jazz but was never wholly my cup of tea, and after listening to this reissue, that is still the situation. The set comprises 3 original records spread over 2 C.D's, all recorded in the period 1969 to 1971.
The first set,'Down Another Road' is by a sextet consisting of Harry Beckett, Nick Evans on trombone, Stan Sulzmann on alto and tenor saxes, Karl Jenkins on piano and oboe, Graham on bass and John Marshall on drums. Evans, who later went into rock music, has a full tone and plays well, although he doesn't have the fastest of techniques. Sulzmann plays with a much harder tone than later in his career and is probably the best soloist. Jenkins plays some fairly firm piano and his oboe, featured quite extensively, is very adept and gives a whole new tonal variation to the band. Collier is very supportive on bass, as is Marshall on drums. The music is very varied and quite complex but also descriptive of its subject matter. 'The Barley Mow', for example, does picture a bucolic country pub quite accurately. At least, it convinced me.
'Songs For My Father' has Beckett again,Alan Wakeman and Bob Sydor on saxes,John Taylor on piano, Collier and John Webb on drums, but this time other musicians are added track by track. They include Tony Roberts and Alan Skidmore on tenors, Phil Lee on guitar,and Derek Wadsworth on trombone. This results in all four tenors playing on some tracks, which does not help tonal variety. Wadsworth throughout and Wakeman when playing soprano are the pick of the soloists, but John Taylor (very early in his career and Phil Lee (an oasis of calm) also play well. Indeed, nobody plays badly. The songs are simply numbered 1 to 7 with nothing to indicate any personal meaning they may have. They are more complex than on the earlier session but less attractive.
'Mosaics' is by the same sextet as the second session but with Geoff Castle in for John Taylor and no guests. The sleeve describes the music as 'musical fragments' but does not say of what. It's not free music and seems fairly controlled although there are no tunes as such. The solo work is competent but not memorable. To me this is much the weakest of the three sessions.
What I have not mentioned is Harry Beckett, apart from Graham the only ever present. He plays with a soft tone and it can be difficult to tell when he is on trumpet or flugelhorn. A lot of the time he starts a solo well but it gradually trails off into some involved muttering. Having said that some of his solos are quite literally beautiful, as on 'The Barley Mow' where he traces delicate attractive lines.
All in all, a bit of a curate's egg.
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on 14 September 2010
These three records stand comparison with any records from the late sixties ... I simply can't recommend this reissue strongly enough.
Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

Whether the music is sketch-like structure or more formal composition, the music on this double-disc set leaps out of the speakers with the kind of life, sensitivity and expressionism that's defined this seminal British musician then, and ever since.
John Kellman, All About Jazz

An exemplary reissue in terms of plotting the course of a music coming into its own. Equally importantly, both of these discs pass the repeated listening test with aplomb.
Nic Jones, All About Jazz

The overall impression created by the three albums is one of a young composer bursting with original ideas and revelling in the skills of the musicians at his disposal. Recommended.
Chris Parker, Vortex Jazz Club web site

Submitted by Graham Collier, the composer of this music.
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on 25 October 2012
As someone born in the UK in 1945 how could I get to being over sixty before even hearing Graham Collier? Was it because when the three LP's on this CD came out I was living on the Isle of Arran? Was it because that modern British jazz of the late 1960's was rarely played on BBC radio programmes, at that time, that were supposed to be dedicated to jazz? Did these musicians get lost in the alternative listening of progressive rock? At the time I knew of Coliseum and Soft Machine, but Graham Collier? For instance, drummer John Marshall, featured on this re-issue, played with Soft Machine.

Anyway, never mind that - here are three LP's that will make your jaw drop open in disbelief that in Britain there was music of this stunning quality, and music that was owing less to what was happening in the States, and finding it's own sound. There were so many others of course: Michael Garrick, Mike Westbrook.....

One track on this re-issue - 'Aberdeen Angus' - features on a You Tube clip and comments from jazzers across the pond in the U.S. are also going, like me: 'What!!'

The various line-ups include Harry Beckett, Stan Sulzmann, Nick Evans, John Marshall, Alan Wakeman, Derek Wordsworth, Phil Lee, Alan Skidmore... the list goes on and on.

Buy with confidence, play, and prepare to be stunned.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 February 2015
There is a pretty thorough review here already from Bob Murray so I shall refrain from repeating the valuable information that he has given.
However I rate these three albums higher than he does. I owned "Mosaics" from the start, but not the other two, and I bought this for the album "Mosaics" which I think is a masterpiece of "modern music": not quite free form in the style of some Ornette Coleman; has experimental time signatures and rquiring empathy between the participating musicians.
The other albums are full of unusual time signatures (eat your heart out Mr Brubeck) more in the style of Don Ellis plus some beautiful playing especially from Harry Beckett. The term "free" may conjure up thoughts of a cacophony; nothing could be further from the truth. Much of these albums is extremely melodic.
The British jazz scene at this time was so verdant and flourishing and Graham Collier was a major player.
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on 26 November 2014
Bought all box-sets because it was very important in it's time. Historical.
Think it is essential to have them on the shelves.
Still a joy to listen too, very good musicians, nice recordings, good feel, but after these years i also notice the clean side, the maby a bit over-arranged caracter of this music ? Not as deary as the potential of this band..?? There are parts that are so good, that a listen-in is richly rewarded.
Best is to just take only one of the suites and drink it in the ears like a good glass of ripened wine. Just enjoy the ride back in time, but then, put it away for a year or so.
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on 16 March 2014
This is outstanding music from some fantastic musicians - Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, Harry Beckett to name but three. There is great ensemble playing and soloing from all concerned. If you like the first Nucleus albums, you will love this (unsurprisingly, given the personnel involved). It's more jazz than jazz-rock, but heading in that direction. I love jazz/ jazz-rock of this era (early seventies) and can't believe I haven't heard this before! A great find, and a revelation!
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on 18 September 2013
not what i thought it would be. so its going to be given away to a jazz fanatic if i can find one
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