The People Band – Live at Cafe OTO

Collection of live performances by free flux improv icons The People Band. Recorded at OTO between 2008 and 2014 and bookended with solos by the late Mel Davis, the clan create a hubbub of frenetic free jazz and chaotic, polyrhythmic thrusts. 

The origins of the people band can be traced back to 1965 and the core members of the band had all arrived by 1969 / 70. Although all the musicians involved are playing within other genres - the love and power of this collective has inspired all to maintain and develop the work for over 50 years. 

This album is dedicated to the memory of the founder member, pianist, teacher and continued inspiration - Mel Davis - who left us in 2013. Two solo tracks open and close this album by way of our deep respect. 


Mel Davis / piano, thrumb piano, perc. 

Terry Day / percussion, reed pipes etc. 

Mike Figgis / pocket trumpet, guitar

George Khan / saxes, flute

Davey Payne / saxes

Paul Jolly / saxes, bass clarinet

Charlie Hart / bass, violin

Tony Edwards / percussion

Adam Hart / piano, trombone 

and featuring:

Tony Marsh 

Maggie Nichols

Ed Deane

Terry Holman 

Ben Higham

Dave Chambers

Brian Godding

and with thanks to:

Jim Dvorak

Dave Fowler

Oly Blanchflower


Recorded by Arlen Figgis. Mastered by Nick Pugh at Session Corner. New artwork sourced from a Fabio Lugaro photograph. Previous artwork by Gina Southgate (original CD release). Produced by 33 Jazz / Paul Jolly. Thanks to Tim Powell and to the audiences that keep this remarkable band alive, and thanks to 33 Jazz who originally released the recordings as a CD. You can find the CD here.  

Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC


1. Solo Piano Intro - 3:05

2. Fanfare - 0:15

3. Extract 19/12/2008 - 7:00

4. Extract 08/07/2009 - 2:36

5. Extract 1 06/03/2013 - 3:53

6. Extract 1 28/10/2014 - 4:56

7. Extract 2 28/10/2014 - 5:31

8. Extract 2 06/03/2013 - 5:04

9. Extract 3 28/10/2014 - 9:17

10. Extract 3 06/03/2013 - 3:03

11. Extract 2 19/12/2008 - 14:49

12. Piano Solo Epilogue - 1:46

The People Band

The People Band is a musical collective functioning in the UK, which started in the mid to late 60s. Its music is inclusive: Genre, style, audience and environment are all enveloped into the music making. The group has a particularly liquid membership - any combination of People Band associates can function as the unit - but if its central figures were to be narrowed to two, they would likely be drummer Terry Day and pianist Mel Davis. It is Day's exceptional technique at the drums that attracted Charlie Watts, who financed the band's only studio album in 1968. People Band was issued in 1970 on the Transatlantic label, and remained largely forgotten until Julian Cowley wrote an incisive feature on the group in the June 2002 issue of The Wire. Now Martin Davidson's Emanem label has reissued the 1968 album along with additional material from the original studio session.