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on 18 December 2009
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.
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on 7 December 2009
I saw this band at Lincoln Bishop Grosseteste College back in the late 70s (or 1980*) when I was studying at the Art College. This group (the concert and the people playing the music) changed my whole life and so I ended becoming a professional musician - whatever that means. However the music on these albums stayed with me and I listened to umpteen vinyl copies whilst at music college and in later years. Every-time I heard the first album (Happy Daze) I was amazed at how it kept it's freshness. The solos are without pretensions and the group playing is just sublime ....... and very powerful.

The second (in fact the first) album 'Oh, for the Edge' is also excellent but due to the live recording the sound quality isn't so good (although good for the period).

As for the music - stylistically - the best way to describe it is modern/free. The music passes from very free moments to strong melodic riffing and solos. Of course anybody who knows anything about the UK jazz scene in the 60s/70s will recognize the players and probably will also of heard this mythic band.

Those who are interested by Soft Machine, Brotherhood of Breath, Mingus etc should get themselves a copy ....... don't hesitate.

* = If you look at the comments C. Devilrod tells me that the gig was in 1980.
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on 27 August 2010
I remember buying this music on vinyl, but I had forgotten just how good it is. All of the players are (or were - some have passed away) virtuosos and the combination of structure and free blowing is just right for my taste. All the soloing is fantastic, but the revelation for me was Tippet's piano. Check out his solo on Seven for Lee in particular, although his playing throughout is splendid - as is the case for all the musicians involved. If you have any liking for the jazz of this era this is a must buy.
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