The Tony Oxley Quartet - s/t

Oxley's experimental electronics album. Anyone who has heard Pat Thomas do Black Top will hear Pat in this - high end keys, spoken word samples, worked with Matt Wand on drum machine and percussion, rather than Orphy Robinson.  In fact, Derek and Tony sit out and let them record "Duo MP" - a sparse, alien affair with fantastic tape loops. The following "TD Duo" is Bailey and Bevan all skittering and brittle, just as you'd imagine. Overall it's the quartet that really works, and you can tell how much fun they're having. A natural foreground to Derek's exeriments on Limescale, and again, Pat Thomas's work on Re-rectangle's And (with Steve Noble and Derek Bailey) and later his duo Black Top. 

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Matt Wand / drum machine, electronics, tapes
Derek Bailey / electric guitar
Pat Thomas / electronics, keyboard
Tony Oxley / percussion

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Recorded on 8th April 1992 at WDR, Cologne, by Werner Srasser & Peter Eichenseher. Edited by Ulrich Kurth. Design by Karen Brookman. Painting ‘The Singer’ by Tony Oxley. Photography by Max Lautenschlager. Post Production by John Haddon. 

Available as a 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC download.     

Tracklisting:

1. Quartet 1 - 16:00
2. Duo MP - 5:03
3. Duo TD - 13:06
4. Quartet 2 - 4:49
5. Duo TM - 8:41
6. Duo TP - 4:49
7. Trio PMD - 10:14
8. Quartet 3 - 5:40

Tony Oxley

Tony Oxley, with Derek Bailey and Gavin Bryars, created one of the foundations of free improvisation in the UK through their explorations in the group Joseph Holbrooke. A detailed retrospective view of Joseph Holbrooke can be found in Bailey (1992, pp. 86-93) but, briefly, the group existed in Sheffield from 1963 to 1966, initially playing conventional jazz though by 1965 playing totally improvised pieces. The fact that the three were 'isolated' in Sheffield from developments elsewhere (John Stevens and the SME) provided an ideal environment for experimentation and development. After that the participants moved to London, Oxley becoming the house drummer at Ronnie Scott's while all the while continuing with experimental music. He was in at the beginning of the Incus label with Bailey and Evan Parker and some of his work for that label is recognised as landmarks in the development of free music. He also appeared in various (early) versions of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra

Pat Thomas

Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill. 

"Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that’s immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude." - The Jazzmann 

Derek Bailey

Derek Bailey was one of the most influential and adventurous experimental guitarists to come from England (Sheffield), evolving out of the trad-jazz scene of the fifties into the avant/jazz scene in '60s London. By the late sixties he was a member of the Joseph Holbrooke Trio, Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Music Improvisation Company which later became the amorphous Company under his leadership. These groups were at the birth and center of the British free-jazz scene. In the early seventies, Derek Bailey and Evan Parker started their own record label called Incus Records - one of the first artist-run labels. 

Although Derek played with members of the British free/jazz scene, he also forged relationships with a number of European players like Han Bennink & Peter Brötzmann, Japanese free players like Abe Kaoru, Toshinori Kondo, as well as American improvisers like Anthony Braxton, George Lewis and John Zorn to name a few. 

Derek organized an annual festival called Company Week in the 80's & 90's, which brought together a unique group of international improvisers from varied backgrounds.

"He was a man who repelled pretension, refused to be shoehorned into comfortable categories, and played amazing guitar." - John Butcher

"I do not subscribe to the idea that free improvisation began or ends with any individual. This only suggests that somehow the music Derek made was so individualistic that it failed to communicate anything beyond personal expression." - Eddie Prevost