Being released this Friday the 22nd Feb, Turtle Records continue their exploration into previously un-released historic British Jazz.
The unsung band leader and drummer (Fat) John Cox led several modern jazz line ups through the 1960s, and rather like Alexis Korner in the Blues and John Mayall in R&B, his bands were incubators of young and talented English musical performers. With the likes of Alan Skidmore, Art Themen, Harry Beckett, Dave Castle, John Mumford, Ron Mathewson going through the ranks.
Inspired by the Afro Cubists led by Kenny Graham whom Cox would watch regularly in native Bristol, and the BeBop movement in general, John Cox eventually set up his first band in 1962.
The bonus tracks on disc two were recorded by one of the early line ups a in mid-1962, at this time playing mainstream compositions by Miles Davis, Ray Bryant and Ernie Wilkins, on the cusp of finding their own sound, these three tracks being the only recordings of a Fat John Cox band that ever got released.
By the end of 1963 Cox had shaped his group into a sextet with a mainstream sound. The line-up of Chris Pyne: trombone, Ray Warleigh: alto sax, flute, Tony Roberts: tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet, Peter Lemer: piano, Danny Thompson: bass, John Cox: drums.
In December 1963, this sextet were invited to PYE Studios to make a demonstration recording, testing the studio and its equipment, not the band. The results, which turned out to be over 90 minutes of capture-the-moment-or-you’ll-miss-it early British mainstream jazz, subsequently lay in a dusty attic for 55 years until now.
The session includes two compositions, ‘Fictive’ written by Pete Lemer and ‘Blues For Snorty’ written by Tony Roberts which are heard here for the first time.
With the help of Peter Lemer and Tony Roberts, both of whom at the time were on the cusp of notable careers in music, augmented by a definitive contextual essay by Simon Spillett, and photographs by Henk Visser, we have reconstructed that snap shot in time.