James Last – Voodoo-Party (1971)

FrontCover1James Last born Hans Last; 17 April 1929 – 9 June 2015), also known as Hansi, was a German composer and big band leader of the James Last Orchestra. Initially a jazz bassist (Last won the award for “best bassist” in Germany in each of the years 1950–1952), his trademark “happy music” made his numerous albums best-sellers in Germany and the United Kingdom, with 65 of his albums reaching the charts in the UK alone. His composition “Happy Heart” became an international success in interpretations by Andy Williams and Petula Clark.

Last is reported to have sold an estimated 200 million albums worldwide in his lifetime (figures vary widely, for example British Hit Singles & Albums (2006) reports 100 million at that time), of which 80 million were sold by 1973 – and won numerous awards including 200 gold and 14 platinum discs in Germany, the International MIDEM Prize at MIDEM in 1969, and West Germany’s highest civilian award, the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) in 1978.

James Last

His album This Is James Last remained a UK best-seller for 48 weeks, and his song “Games That Lovers Play” has been covered over a hundred times. Last undertook his final tour months before his death at age 86, upon discovering in September 2014 that an illness (the exact illness was never disclosed) had worsened. His final UK performance was his 90th at London’s Royal Albert Hall, more than any other performer except Eric Clapton.


Last’s trademark sound employed big band arrangements of well-known tunes with a jaunty dance beat, often heavy on bass and brass. Despite at times being derided by critics and purists as the “king of elevator music” or “acoustic porridge”, his style and music were popular in numerous countries and cultures, including Japan, South Korea, the former Soviet Union, the US and UK, and his native Germany, where it became “the archetypal soundtrack of any German cellar bar party”,[8] and made him the “most commercially successful bandleader” of the second half of the 20th century. Last’s composition Jägerlatein is also widely celebrated in Ireland as “The Sound of Summer” due to use as the theme tune to The Sunday Game, a live sporting show which follows GAA hurling and Gaelic football All Ireland Championships since 1979. (wikipedia)


And here´s another “party album” by James Last:

“A long time ago a cult of  very special kind developed beneath the burning sun of western Africa. In othe equatorial ares mime, gestures, dances, rhythms, taboos and other characteristics blended into one another to form a new facet in music.

At the beginning of the Colonial era negro slaves took the Voodoo-cult over to the American continent. Voodoo spread in the new world just as fast as the number of the coloured population, and then slowly vanished in those areas where it frist started.

Today the Voodoo-cult is only to be found on the Antilles, expecially on the islabd of Tahiti and as “Macumba” in Brazil.


Most Europeans will never get a chance to experience Voodoo in the place of its origin. But listening to this record will make up for this loss. Accept James Last´s invitation to his Voodoo-party.

Among the beating rhyths of congas, bongos, rattles and drums you will experience the magic of Voodoo” (taken from the original liner notes)

And we hear some “Santana” tunes .. usually not the music James Lanst played otherwise.

Enjoy this very special party album !


James Last & Band

Alternate frontcovers:

01. 01. Se A Cabo (Chepito/Areas) 3.33
02. Sing A Simple Song (Stewart) 4.29
03, Heyah Masse-Ga (Traditional) 2.20
04.  Mamy Blue (Giraud/Trim) 4.31
05. Jin-Go-Lo-Ba (Olatunji) 3.52
06. Mr. Giant Man (Reeves/Last/Bendorff) 4.13
07. Everybody’s Everything (Santana/Brown/Moss)
08. Everyday People (Stewart) 3.17
09. U-Humbah (Traditional) 2.44
10. Inner City Blues (Gaye) 3.07
11. Babalu (Lecuona) 3.39
12. Voodoo Ladys Love (Reeves/Last/Bendorff) 3.23



More from James Last:

Steve Marcus + J. Inagaki & Soul Media – Something (1971)

FrontCover1Steve Marcus (September 18, 1939 – September 25, 2005) was an American jazz saxophonist.

He was born in The Bronx, New York, United States. Marcus studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, between 1959 and 1961. He gained experience playing in the bands of Stan Kenton, Herbie Mann and Larry Coryell from 1963 to 1973. His first album as a leader included an arrangement of the Beatles’ song, “Tomorrow Never Knows”. He worked with jazz drummer Buddy Rich for the last twelve years of Rich’s life. After Rich died, Marcus led the band and renamed it Buddy’s Buddies.

Marcus died in September 2005 in New Hope, Pennsylvania. (wikipedia)

Steve Marcus01

Masahiko Satoh (Satō Masahiko, born 6 October 1941) is a Japanese jazz pianist, composer and arranger.

Satoh was born in Tokyo on 6 October 1941. His mother was Setsu and his father, who owned small businesses, was Yoshiaki Satoh. The house that his family moved into in 1944 contained a piano; Masahiko started playing it at the age of five. He began playing the piano professionally at the age of 17, “accompanying singers, magicians and strippers at a cabaret in the Ginza district”

By 1959 Satoh was playing in Georgie Kawaguchi’s band, together with alto saxophonist Sadao Watanabe and tenor saxophonist Akira Miyazawa. Satoh graduated from Keio University.

Masahiko Sato

At the age of 26, Satoh moved to the United States to study at the Berklee College of Music.He stayed for two years, during which he read about composing and arranging. He earned money working in a food shop and playing the piano in a hotel. In 1968 he wrote the music for, and conducted, a series of pieces that were combined with dance and performed in New York. After returning to Japan, he recorded Palladium, his first album as leader, and appeared on a Helen Merrill album.

In his early career in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Satoh played in a free, percussive style. Satoh played at the 1971 Berlin Jazz Festival as part of a trio; he used a then-unusual ring modulator to alter the sound. Also in the early 1970s, he recorded with Attila Zoller, Karl Berger, and Albert Mangelsdorff. He wrote the psychedelic music for the 1973 anime film Belladonna of Sadness.

Satoh has written arrangements for recordings led by, among others, Merrill, Kimiko Itoh, and Nancy Wilson. He also arranged for strings and quartet on Art Farmer’s 1983 album Maiden Voyage.

Masahiko Sato3

In 1990 Satoh formed a large group, named Rantooga, that combined various forms of folk musics from around the world. In the early 1990s he composed music for a choir of 1,000 Buddhist monks. In the early 1990s he was reported as stating that 70% of his time was spent on arranging and composing, and the rest on playing and recording.

Satoh has composed for film, television and advertisements. For instance, he made the music of Kanashimi no Belladonna, a film in which the sound is very important ; all the songs of this movie are performed by his wife, Chinatsu Nakayama.

Some of his compositions are influenced by the space in the works of composer Toru Takemitsu. Satoh has also composed for traditional Japanese instruments, including the shakuhachi and biwa. (wikipedia)

Masahiko Sato2

A jazz-rock match madein heaven between East and West. Both Steve Marcus and Jiro Inagaki are formidable saxophone stalwarts of the 70s jazz scenes in their respective countries. Exciting to have had both artists join forces for a once-in-a-lifetime session. A linear and concise listen that gives you a taste of what Jiro Inagaki & Soul Media’s early sounds where like. A must for fans who also like Ryo Kawasaki, Masahiko Sato and Larry Coryell.

Interestingly, Jiro Inagaki’s long discography started out in the 60s primarily with easy listening pop-rock albums in the vein of The Shadows and The Ventures. It is fascinating to hear how he has slowly moved away from that style towards serious jazz-fusion styles. Leading to 1969 where he formed his most well known group, Jiro Inagaki & Soul Media, which is also the subject of this post. I believe this is his most successful period which had artists like guitarist Ryo Kawasaki, pianist Hiromasa Suzuki and bassist Yasuo Arakawa pass through his ranks.

The album is a straightforward listen clocking in at just under 30 minutes with 3 tracks. Though on the 2013 CD reissue an unreleased alternate take of “Something” was included

Masahiko Sato + Steve Marcus

The instantly recognisable opening notes of The Beatles’ classic “Something” kicks off this album with Masahiko Sato on electric piano. Steve Marcus’ soprano sax is the first to come in, sweetly crooning the verse while the guitar and drums create textural splashes slowly filling out the gaps. Inagaki’s tenor would join during the chorus creating a harmonious unison akin to Lennon and McCartney. Marcus’ lead sax lines during this song are a joy to listen, played with soulful intent and provides a much appreciated depth which can be lacking on jazz covers of pop songs.

In comparison to its alternate take, the track is identical in arrangement however the musicians are filled with a bit more vitality on this upbeat run. The timbre in Marcus’ sax is higher and Kawasaki’s guitars fills are played with more urgency. With the length of this take doubling that of the original, there is more time for the musicians to explore and take turns on extended solos expressing themselves thoroughly. Overall it’s comparing apples and oranges between takes, I do enjoy the original take a bit more as it did capture the original song’s mood and emotions better while I do appreciate the solos on this alternate as well.

The next two tracks are originals written by Sato, “Fairy Lights” is a bluesier affair that lightly skirts around avant-garde elements and patterns. Where the instruments are let loose and allowed to get aggressive on their runs. The electric piano and guitar alternates to create arpeggiated sonic staircases, moving onto a call and response between sax and guitar.

Masahiko Sato + Steve Marcus2

“Serenity” is a through and through free jazz number, I had a deja vu while listening to this as I realised this album structurally was similar to Motohiko Hino’s First Album (1971). In terms of how it progressed, length of album and having the last track being the most experimental. Maybe it was in vogue during the period with both being recorded around 1970/71? I’m not entirely sure.

Arrangement-wise “Serenity” begins beautifully, slowly building up with each instrument orbiting around the piano. Of course leading to the inevitable breakdown where each instrument jets off into space. Each one howling and clashing into and around the other while still curiously occupying their own pocket throughout. Ending off on a satisfying cacophony of sax, toms and cymbals.

On the whole, my only quibble with this release is with “Serenity”. I do think it was beautifully played however in terms of arrangement it was a bit formulaic and I had expected more involvement from the twin saxophones having stronger highlights during this tune. On the flip side, “Fairy Lights” is my favourite off this album and I would’ve liked to see more being done in that direction as it was well arranged and balanced with interesting elements.

Considering the length of the release and accessibility of the tracks included. With only the closing track really going off tangent into heavier free jazz territory. This would be a decent quick sampler for getting into Inagaki’s work, though 1970’s Head Rock would still be a more comprehensive entry point. In addition, this album featured his early core Soul Media members Ryo Kawasaki and Yasuo Arakawa who both appears on multiple releases.

One last interesting note is that Masahiko Sato would go on to score the fantastic psychedelic free jazz unholy grail to notorious adult anime, Belladonna of Sadness. (zujago.com)


Yasuo Arakawa (bass)
Jiro Inagaki (saxophone)
Hajime Ishimatsu (drums)
Ryo Kawasaki (guitar)
Steve Marcus (saxophonne)
Masahiko Sato (piano)
Seiji Tanaka (drums)

01. Something (Harrison)6:45
02 Fairly Rings (Sato) 9:45
03. Serenity (Sato) 11
04. Something (alternate version) (Harrison) 13:13



Steve Marcus02

Thin Lizzy – Same (1971)

FrontCover1Thin Lizzy are an Irish hard rock band formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1969. Their music reflects a wide range of influences, including blues, soul music, psychedelic rock, and traditional Irish folk music, but is generally classified as hard rock or sometimes heavy metal.

Two of the founding members, drummer Brian Downey and bass guitarist and lead vocalist Phil Lynott, met while still in school. Lynott led the group throughout their recording career of twelve studio albums, writing most of the material. The singles “Whiskey in the Jar” (a traditional Irish ballad), “The Boys Are Back in Town” and “Waiting for an Alibi” were international hits. After Lynott’s death in 1986, various incarnations of the band emerged over the years based initially around guitarists Scott Gorham and John Sykes, though Sykes left the band in 2009. Gorham later continued with a new line-up including Downey. In 2012, Gorham and Downey decided against recording new material as Thin Lizzy so a new band, Black Star Riders, was formed to tour and produce new releases such as their debut album All Hell Breaks Loose. Thin Lizzy plan to reunite for occasional concerts.


Lynott, Thin Lizzy’s de facto leader, was composer or co-composer of almost all of the band’s songs, and the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in the field of rock music. Thin Lizzy featured several guitarists throughout their history, with Downey and Lynott as the rhythm section, on the drums and bass guitar. As well as being multiracial, the band drew their early members not only from both sides of the Irish border but also from both the Catholic and Protestant communities during The Troubles.

Rolling Stone magazine describes the band as distinctly hard rock, “far apart from the braying mid-70s metal pack”.


Thin Lizzy is the debut studio album by Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, released on 30 April 1971. The album was followed by the EP New Day, produced and recorded by Nick Tauber at Decca Studios on 14–17 June 1971 and released on 20 August 1971. The songs from the EP were included in later editions of the album.

Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic described the album as “surprisingly mellow” and wrote that a number of songs sound “confused and unfinished”. However, he did describe “Look What the Wind Blew In” as a “hint of things to come”, and that Canadian journalist Martin Popoff appreciated the experimental flavour of the album “drawing mainly from bluesy non-metal influences” and found the compositions “astonishingly well written, very Irish, very heart-felt”

The song “Honesty Is No Excuse” was covered by Cass McCombs on his 2013 album Big Wheel and Others. (wikipedia)


Thin Lizzy was originally conceived as a power trio in the image of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but Eric Bell lacked the charisma of those groups’ guitarists, forcing vocalist/bassist Philip Lynott to take center stage from day one. Despite his already poetic, intensely personal lyrics, Lynott was only beginning to develop as a songwriter, and the band’s unfocused, folk-infused early efforts are a far cry from their mid-’70s hard rock glory. Recorded on a shoestring budget, their self-titled debut is surprisingly mellow; many songs, such as “Clifton Grange Hotel” and “The Friendly Ranger of Clontarf Castle,” sound confused and unfinished. Quiet ballads like “Honesty Is No Excuse,” “Eire,” and “Saga of the Ageing Orphan” abound, while supposed rockers such as “Ray-Gun” and “Return of the Farmer’s Son” fall remarkably flat. In fact, Lizzy only bare their claws on “Look What the Wind Blew In,” a gutsy rocker that hints at things to come.

The bonus track “Dublin” from the “New Day” EP contained Lynott’s first great lyric.(by Eduardo Rivadavia)


Eric Bell (guitar)
Brian Downey (drums, percussion)
Philip Lynott (vocals, bass, guitar)
Ivor Raymonde (mellotron on 02.)
Eric Wrixon (keyboards on 07.)

The EP “New Day”:
EP New Day

01. The Friendly Ranger At Clontarf Castle (Bell/Lynott) 3.02
02. Honesty Is No Excuse (Lynott) 3.42
03. Diddy Levine (Lynott) 7.08
04. Ray-Gun (Bell) 3.08
05. Look What The Wind Blew In (Lynott) 3.27
06. Eire (Lynott) 2.10
07. Return Of the Farmer’s Son (Lynott) 4:14
08. “Clifton Grange Hotel (Lynott) 2:26
09. “Saga of the Ageing Orphan (Lynott) 3:40
10. Remembering (Lynott) 5:59
11. Dublin (Lynott) 2.30
12. Remembering, Pt. 2 (New Day) (Bell/Downey/Lynott) 5.08
13. Old Moon Madness (Lynott) 3:52
14. Things Ain’t Workin’ Out Down At The Farm (Lynott) 4.30



More from Thin Lizzy:

B.B. King – In London (1971)

FrontCover1B.B. King (born Riley B. King; September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015) was an American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter. Rolling Stone magazine said that King was the third “Greatest Guitarist of All Time” in 2003.

He was born in Indianola, Mississippi. His father left the family and his mother was too poor to raise him, and so he came to his grandmother, Elnora Farr, in Kilmichael, Mississippi. There he sang in the gospel choir at Elkhorn Baptist Church. At the age of 15 he bought his first guitar. His idols were T-Bone Walker, but also jazz musicians like Charlie Christian and Django Reinhrad. 1943 he left the town and worked as a tractor driver. He performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program on KWEM in West Memphis, Arkansas and reached a local audience with his sound. For this reason he got appearances in the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis and later, a ten-minute spot on the Memphis radio station WDIA. This became so popular that it was expanded and became the “Sepia Swing Club.” During his work for the radio station he got his nickname “Beale Street Blues Boy” which was later shortened to B.B.


In 1949, King began recording songs for RPM Records from Los Angeles. King formed his own band; the B.B. King Review, under the leadership of Millard Lee and went on tours.
Lucille-European Tour 2009

In winter 1949 he played at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. The hall was heated by burning barrels filled with kerosine. During his performance two men started a fight knocking over one of them and the hall was burning. Outside he learned that he had left his guitar and he ran inside to get it. Next day he found out that the fight was started over a woman named Lucille. Since that time he named the guitar “Lucille.”


In the 1950´s B.B. King became one of the most important blues musicians. He toured regularly. In 1956 he gave 352 concerts. Among his hits were “3 O’Clock Blues”,[4] “You Know I Love You,” “Woke Up This Morning,” “Please Love Me,” “When My Heart Beats like a Hammer,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “You Upset Me Baby,” “Every Day I Have the Blues”, “Sneakin’ Around,” “Ten Long Years,” “Bad Luck,” “Sweet Little Angel”, “On My Word of Honor,” and “Please Accept My Love.”

In the 1960 King lost importance for black listeners but could reach the white music fans. A lot of white guitarist like Eric Clapton named him as influence. King played at rock concerts and venues of the hippie culture like the Fillmore West. He also reached #15 in the US-popcharts with his title “The Thrill Is Gone”. From the 1980s onward he had continued his career, appearing on numerous television shows and performing 300 nights a year. The title “When Love Comes To Town”, which he performed together with the rock band U2 introduced him to a younger audience.


B.B. King was married two times. The marriages ended because of the burden of more than 200 concerts a year. It is reported that he is father of 15 children.[2] He has lived with Type II diabetes for over twenty years and is a high-profile spokesman in the fight against the disease.

King died at the age of 89 in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 14, 2015 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease along with congestive heart failure and diabetic complications.[5][6] On May 30, 2015, King’s funeral was held at the Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Indianola, Mississippi. He was buried at the museum.


B.B. King has made guest appearances in numerous popular television shows, including The Cosby Show, The Young and the Restless, General Hospital, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sesame Street, Married… with Children, Sanford and Son, and Touched by an Angel. He has also made a cameo in the movie Spies Like Us. In the movie Blues Brothers 2000 he was the leader of The Louisiana Gator Boys, a bluessupergroup, which battles against the Blues Brothers.

He is the owner of a chain of restaurants with concert venues in the United States. The first was opened on Beale Street in Memphis 1991. (wikipedia)


When ‘In London’ was released, the legendary blues guitarist and singer B.B. King was 46 years old and already had a great career behind him: he had started as a live musician, recorded various singles from 1949 and defied the emerging rock & roll with urban blues for a predominantly dark-skinned audience.

He had released well over 20 longplayer albums plus various compilations since 1957 alone, including classics like ‘Live At The Regal’ (1965) and ‘Live In Cook County Jail’ (1971), when a new path began to emerge: Besides competition from white rock & roll and the rock scene of the 1960s, the civil rights movement also robbed him of many fans: Young Afro-Americans no longer wanted to listen to the “blues of oppressed slaves”, they converted to funk, soul and other black music. Instead, more and more white kids came to the blues concerts, not least inspired by a few prominent fans from England: Eric Clapton, John Mayall, the Rolling Stones, Them, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Auger and others had triggered enthusiasm for African-American music in London in the late 1960s.


In this time of distancing and rapprochement in equal measure, B.B. King did exactly what had always kept his music alive: he sought encounters with other artists, used the crossover effect when he appeared alongside Ike & Tina Turner on the Rolling Stones’ US tour as the opening act. During that time, his song ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ charted and King was reportedly the first blues artist to be invited on TV highlights such as The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1970, the album ‘Indianola Mississippi Seeds’ was produced in collaboration with white artists – and the repetition of such categories alone shows us how commonplace racial segregation and discrimination still was at that time – Carole King and Leon Russell.

Jim Keltner

In 1971, another big step followed, namely across the Atlantic to London, right in the middle of blues-loving Britain. To speak of studio and guest musicians in connection with the various top-class line-ups on this album would be an understatement, because B.B. King met some real stars here who developed a fabulous joy of playing with him: Ringo Starr (dr), Gary Wright (p), Jim Keltner (dr), Peter Green (g), Klaus Voorman (b), David Spinozza (g), Steve Marriott (harp), the fat horn section of Jim Price, Ollie Mitchell, Chuck Findley, Bobby Keys and Bill Perkins, Alexis Korner on acoustic guitar, Dr. John alias Mac Rebenack also on guitar and The Mystery Shadow on Hammond organ – behind this pseudonym was Steve Winwood, presumably for contractual reasons.

Musically, King was very deeply embedded here in a slightly echoing whole, on a few songs his voice is perhaps a tad too far back for me. But by track 5 at the latest, the album highlight ‘Ghetto Woman’, with its wacky strings, the funky rhythm guitar of Mac Rebenack and the expressive vocals of Mr. King, one understood that here great Phil Spector cinema was applied to contemporary blues. The number made it to number 25 in the US R&B charts as a single. It’s just a pity that King’s final solo quickly falls victim to a fade-out.


In the following instrumental number ‘Wet Hayshark’, his over-clean tone and his very brittle rhythmic approach stand out – absolutely unique! Part-Time Love’ shows the king in his familiar form: sovereign in the lyrics, perfectly fat soling and in front of a cleanly swinging band. Alexis Boogie’ with King & Korner on acoustic guitars goes in a completely different, for B.B. rather unusual direction, just like the very soulful ‘Ain’t Nobody Home’ or the minimalist original funk ‘We Can’t Agree’ with an outstanding bass work by Klaus Voorman.


Conclusion: This is not an album for purists or dogmatists, because ‘In London’, B.B. King & collaborators were aiming for a contemporary sound image of the blues in progress. They succeeded. Encounters remained the salt in the blues soup in the following years: B.B. King later met The Crusaders, U2 and Eric Clapton, Gary Moore invited various icons as album guests and thus into the pop charts, which gave them late career highs, Muddy Waters worked with Johnny Winter and Johnny Winter on his last record once again with many old and young guitar greats. The blues lives on. (

And I add an interesting article about these legedndary recording sessions.


Duster Bennett (harmonica on 01.)
John Best (bass on 08.)
Paul Butler (guitar on 08.)
Peter Green (guitar on 01.
Chuck Findley (trombone on 01.)
Barry Ford (drums on 08.)
Jim Gordon (drums on 01., 05., 06.
Jim Keltner (drums on 02., 04. + 09.)
B.B. King (guitar, vocals)
Bobby Keys (saxophone on 01., 07. + 09.)
Alexis Korner (guitar on 03.)
Steve Marriott (guitar, harmonica on 03.)
Ollie Mitchell (trumpet on 01.
Bill Perkins (saxophone, clarinet on 01.
Jim Price (trumpet, on 01.,  06., 07. + 09., piano on 05.)
Dr. Ragovoy (piano on 09.)
Mac Rebennack (guitar on 05.)
Greg Ridley (bass on 03.)
Jerry Shirley (drums)
David Spinozza (guitar on 09.)
Ringo Starr (drums on 05. – 07
Klaus Voorman (bass on 01., 02., 04. – 07. + 09.)
John Uribe (guitar on 02., 04. + 09.)
Pete Wingfield (piano on 08.)
Steve “The Mystery Shadow” Winwood (organ on 02., 04.
Gary Wright (organ on 01., 07. + 09., piano on 02., 04. – 06.)
Rick Wright (piano on 01.
background vocals on 09.:
Carl Hall – Joshie Armstead – Tasha Thomas


01. Caldonia (Moore) 3.59
02. Blue Shadows (Glenn) 5.08
03. Alexis’ Boogie (Korner) 3.27
04. We Can’t Agree (JordanGray) 4.42
05. Ghetto Woman (King/Clark) 5.14
06. art-Time Love (Hammond) 3.12
08. Power Of The Blues (Wingfield) 2.20
09. Ain’t Nobody Home (Ragovoy) 3.10
10. May I Have A Talk With You /Burnett) 3.51


More from B.B.King:



The Byrds – Straight For The Sun (1971)

LPFrontCover1The Byrds  were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn (known as Jim McGuinn until mid-1967) remaining the sole consistent member. Although their time as one of the most popular groups in the world only lasted for a short period in the mid-1960s, the Byrds are today considered by critics to be among the most influential rock acts of their era. Their signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn’s jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar was “absorbed into the vocabulary of rock” and has continued to be influential.

Initially, the Byrds pioneered the musical genre of folk rock as a popular format in 1965, by melding the influence of the Beatles and other British Invasion bands with contemporary and traditional folk music on their first and second albums, and the hit singles “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!”. As the 1960s progressed, the band was influential in originating psychedelic rock and raga rock, with their song “Eight Miles High” and the albums Fifth Dimension (1966), Younger Than Yesterday (1967) and The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968).The band also played a pioneering role in the development of country rock, with the 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo representing their fullest immersion into the genre.

The Byrds1965

The original five-piece lineup of the band consisted of Jim McGuinn (lead guitar, vocals), Gene Clark (tambourine, vocals), David Crosby (rhythm guitar, vocals), Chris Hillman (bass guitar, vocals), and Michael Clarke (drums). This version of the band was relatively short-lived and by early 1966 Clark had left due to problems associated with anxiety and his increasing isolation within the group. The Byrds continued as a quartet until late 1967, when Crosby and Clarke also departed. McGuinn and Hillman decided to recruit new members, including country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, but by late 1968, Hillman and Parsons had also exited the band. McGuinn elected to rebuild the band’s membership; between 1968 and 1973, he helmed a new incarnation of the Byrds that featured guitarist Clarence White, among others. McGuinn disbanded the then-current lineup in early 1973 to make way for a reunion of the original quintet. The Byrds’ final album was released in March 1973, with the reunited group disbanding later that year.


Several former members of the Byrds went on to successful careers of their own, either as solo artists or as members of such groups as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Flying Burrito Brothers, McGuinn, Clark & Hillman, and the Desert Rose Band. In 1991, the Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an occasion that saw the five original members performing together for the last time. Gene Clark died of a heart attack later that year, while Michael Clarke died of liver failure in 1993. McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman remain active.. (wikipedia)


And here´s a great bootleg from their last period:

In the fall of 1971, the Byrds were only a few months away from breaking up after several years of diminishing commercial returns, but the final edition of the group happened to be one of the best and most stable. With founder and 12-string guitarist Roger McGuinn joined by guitarist Clarence White, bassist Skip Battin, and drummer Gene Parsons, this version of the Byrds didn’t achieve the same magic as the first edition with Gene Clark, David Crosby, and Chris Hillman, but they were inarguably better pickers (especially with White on board), and they delivered some of the best and most distinctive country rock of the era. Straight for the Sun was drawn from a live AM radio broadcast of a show the Byrds played in September 1971 at American University in Washington, D.C., and given how late in the day it was for the group, this disc is a pleasant surprise.

Alternate CD front + backcover:

The Byrds sound at once relaxed and tight, playing a broad cross-section from their catalog (from early hits like “Mr. Spaceman” and an extended workout on “Eight Miles High” to late-period rarities such as “Citizen Kane” and “Tiffany Queen”) with genuine enthusiasm and no small skill, and the interplay between the guitarists is excellent, as McGuinn never had a better foil on-stage than White. The recording is in mono, but the sound is clear, with a few minor glitches, and the balance is quite good for a live mix, with the vocals and instruments giving one another a proper amount of room. Straight for the Sun is highly recommended for serious Byrds fans, capturing a great band sprinting for the finish line; this isn’t as strong as the live material on Untitled, but it comes close enough to confirm McGuinn gave the Byrds his all right up to the bitter end. (by Mark Deming)

Live College AM radio broadcast from the McDonough Gym, American University, Washington DC, 12th September 1971.


Skip Battin (bass, vocals)
Roger McGuinn (guitar, banjo, vocals)
Gene Parsons (drums, vocals)
Clarence White (guitar, vocals)


01. Intro 1.03
02. Lover Of The Bayou (Levy/McGuinn) 4.15
03. So You Want To Be A Rock N Roll Star (Hillman/McGuinn) 2.58
04. Mr. Spaceman (McGuinn) 3.24
05. I Want To Grow Up To Be A Politician (Levy/McGuinn) 2.41
06. Medley: 5.01
06.1. Soldier’s Joy (Traditional)
06.2. Black Mountain Rag (Traditional)
06.3. Mr. Tambourine Man (Dylan)
07. Pretty Boy Floyd (Guthrie) 2.53
08. Nashville West (White/Parsons) 2.25
09. Citizen Kane (Fowley/Battin) 3.27
10. Tiffany Queen (McGuinn) 2.25
11. Chestnut Mare (Levy/McGuinn) 5.07
12. Jesus Is Just Alright (Reynolds) 2.59
13. Eight Miles High (Crosby/Clark/McGuinn) 9.39
14. Hold It (unknown) / Roll Over Beethoven (Berry) 3.02


More from The Byrds:

Hot Tuna – Historic Live (1985)

FrontCover1Hot Tuna is an American blues band formed in 1969 by former Jefferson Airplane members Jorma Kaukonen (guitarist/vocals) and Jack Casady (bassist). Although it has always been a fluid aggregation, with musicians coming and going over the years, the band’s name has essentially become a metonym for Kaukonen and Casady’s ongoing collaboration.

Historic Live Tuna is an album by the band Hot Tuna. It was released in 1985. Side A contains previously unreleased tracks from a live acoustic performance played on KSAN radio in 1971. Side B contains previously unreleased material from a live electric performance in 1971 recorded at the Fillmore West auditorium in San Francisco. The album was Hot Tuna’s second release on Relix Records, and would be their last release until after the 1989 Jefferson Airplane reunion tour and reunion album, when they were signed to Epic Records for a short time before returning to Relix.

In 1996 the A-side of Historic Live Tuna was expanded and released as the CD Classic Hot Tuna Acoustic, and the B-side was expanded and released as the CD Classic Hot Tuna Electric.

Another song from the Fillmore West concert, “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning”, was included in the album Fillmore: The Last Days. (wikipedia)


Relix’s second Hot Tuna release was another archival work, its two sides containing two KSAN-FM radio broadcasts from the spring and summer of 1971; one side was taped at the station, the other chronicles the band’s appearance at the closing of the Fillmore West. In his liner notes, Jorma Kaukonen acknowledges that the band has encountered criticism for releasing such “so-called antique material,” but counters that “If you like it, you like it … if you don’t you don’t.” Hardcore Tuna fans will be pleased with the existence on record of these performances by a Hot Tuna that featured Kaukonen (acoustic guitar on side one, electric on side two), Jack Casady, Papa John Creach, and Sammy Piazza. Others may find that the rudimentary sound quality and the generally restrained performing level render this inessential. (by William Ruhlmann)

And I m pleased, because I´m a real Hot Tuna fan …


Jack Casady (bass)
Papa John Creach (violin)
Jorma Kaukonen (guitar, vocals)
Sammy Piazza (drums)

01. New Song (for the Morning) (Kaukonen) 5.06
02. Been So Long (Kaukonen) 4.16
03. Oh Lord, Search My Heart (Davis) 4.31
04. True Religion (Traditional) 7.01
05. Space Jam (Casady/Kaukonen) 0.09
06. Intro by Bill Graham / Rock Me Baby (King/Josea) 9.24
“Want You to Know” (Bo Carter) – 4:58
“Come Back Baby” (Lightning Hopkins) – 9:14




More from Hot Tuna:


Ahmad Jamal – Live In Paris (1971)

FrontCover1For five decades, American pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator Ahmad Jamal has been one of the most successful small-group leaders in jazz. In 1958, he released the live album, At the Pershing: But Not for Me, which stayed on the Ten Best-selling charts for 108 weeks. Ahmad’s recording of the well known song “Poinciana” was first released on this album. Clint Eastwood featured two recordings from Ahmad’s But Not For Me album – “Music, Music, Music” and “Poinciana” – in the 1995 movie The Bridges of Madison County. Ahmad is the main mentor of jazz piano virtuosa Hiromi Uehara. On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Ahmad Jamal among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. (by wikipedia)

Joining him is Jamil Suliemann on bass and Frank Gant on drums in this 1971 Radio France studio concert, rebroadcast in 2014 by France Musique. One of the most eloquent practitioners of America’s Classical Music – which Jamal considers Jazz to be and a sentiment I agree 1000% with, Ahmad Jamal continues at 86, performing, recording and spreading the message throughout the world. And this 1971 concert gives some indication just how strong and luxuriant that message has always been.


If you’re just getting into Jazz, discovering bits and pieces here and there, either on your own or via samples, since Jazz has been a base-coat of sounds in contemporary Hip-Hop/Trip-Hop/Trance over the years; here’s the real deal – where some of it came from. With the vast spectrum of music out there, being a sponge soaking everything up is practically a requirement – and not being familiar with the work of Ahmad Jamal really deprives you of a great experience.

Check out this concert and go exploring – all you need are ears and an open mind. (pastdaily.com)

Recorded live at the Studio 104 de la Maison de la Radio, Paris, France; June 25, 1971. Very good satellite broadcast.


Frank Gant (drums)
Ahmad Jamal (piano)
Jamil Sulieman Nasser (bass)

01. Intro 0.26
02. Bogota (Evans) 15.25
03. Effendi (Tyner) 13.47
04. Manhattan Reflections (Jamal) 10.24
05. Extensions (Jamal) 23.51
06. Poinciana (Simon) 10:38



Alternate frontcover:

Keith Tippett Group – Dedicated To You, But You Weren’t Listening (1971)

FrontCover1Keith Tippett (born Keith Graham Tippetts; 25 August 1947 – 14 June 2020) was a British jazz pianist and composer. According to AllMusic, Tippett’s career “..spanned jazz-rock, progressive rock, improvised and contemporary music, as well as modern jazz for more than half-a-century”. He held ” an unparalleled place in British contemporary music,” and was known for “his unique approach to improvisation”. Tippett appeared and recorded in many settings, including a duet with Stan Tracey, duets with his wife Julie Tippetts (née Driscoll), solo performances, and as a bandleader, and appeared on King Crimson albums.

Born in Southmead, Bristol, Tippett was the son of an English father who was a policeman and an Irish mother named Kitty. He wrote music dedicated to her after she died. He was the oldest of three siblings and went to Greenway Secondary Modern school in Southmead. As a child he played piano, church organ, cornet, and tenor horn.
At fourteen he formed his first band, KT Trad Lads, with school friends Richard Murch, Mike Milton, Terry Pratt, and Bob Chard, performing traditional jazz. He formed a modern jazz trio in Bristol and played regularly at the Dugout Club in Park Row, Bristol.


In 1967 Tippett moved to London to pursue a career in music, taking menial jobs while performing in jazz clubs. With a scholarship he attended the Barry Summer School Jazz Course in Wales, where he met Elton Dean, Nick Evans, and Marc Charig and with them started a band.The Keith Tippett Sextet was hired for a residency at the 100 Club in Oxford, leading to a contract with Vertigo Records, which released their first two albums, You Are There… I Am Here (1970) and Dedicated to You, but You Weren’t Listening (1971). Robert Fripp hired Tippett to play piano on the King Crimson album In the Wake of Poseidon. Evans and Charig joined Tippett on the King Crimson album Lizard. Tippett performed on the single “Cat Food” and appeared with King Crimson on Top of the Pops.

Tippett declined the offer to join King Crimson in order to continue to lead his own group, but he and Charig played on the band’s album Islands. After leaving Vertigo, Tippett formed Centipede, a 50-piece band that included his wife Julie Driscoll as well as members of King Crimson and Soft Machine, and brought together much of a generation of young British jazz and rock musicians.[2] As well as performing some concerts (limited economically by the size of the band), they recorded one double-album, Septober Energy, a Tippett composition, which was released on the RCA label in 1971. Despite substantial publicity, the album failed to sell in sufficient numbers to justify the expense of maintaining the project.


For his next album, Blueprint (1972), he used a smaller group comprising himself and Julie Tippetts with bassist Roy Babbington and drummer Frank Perry. The band then expanded slightly to become Ovary Lodge, who recorded two albums, one for RCA (produced by Robert Fripp of King Crimson) and a second for the Ogun label. Tippett and his band also recorded in the 1970s for Giorgio Gomelsky’s label, Utopia, releasing the Julie Tippetts album Sunset Glow. Tippett continued to play with various combinations of musicians through the 1970s, playing improvisational jazz and jazz-rock with such musicians as Stan Tracey, Robert Wyatt, Dudu Pukwana, Harry Miller, Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, and Louis Moholo. From 1979, he also started to release many live albums of solo piano performances, beginning with The Unlonely Raindancer.

Keith+Julie Tippett

In the late 1980s, he, along with Paul Dunmall saxes, Paul Rogers bass, and Tony Levin drums, formed the quartet Mujician, playing purely improvised jazz. Mujician released 6 albums from 1990-2002. He also formed a trio with Julie Tippetts and Willi Kellers, and wrote film and television scores. He also wrote music for string quartets and piano, and taught at summer schools. Tippett also continued to record and to tour in Britain and Europe with various ensembles. He also worked with musicians Andy Sheppard, as well as with his frequent collaborators Elton Dean, Louis Moholo, and Howard Riley.

He married singer Julie Driscoll in 1970.

In 2018, he had a heart attack and pneumonia but returned to performing in 2019.

He died on 14 June 2020 at the age of 72. (by wikipedia)

4 stars With an arresting artwork, depicting a brainchild, on its cover, the KTG managed to climb up from the Phillips generalist label to the Vertigo Swirl prestigious and progressive label, and I can’t think of a better promotion. Line-up wise, Jeff Clyne shares the bass with Roy Babbington and the drums are shared between Wyatt, Brian springs and Phil Howard (who would go on to replace Wyatt in Soft Machine), but on the horns, the Dean/Charig/Evans trio remained. Please note the pun title is from Soft Machine’s “Dedicated To Hugh…”

The album opens on a conga-driven groovy track that gets its inspiration between the three horn players, but in the background, Keith’s piano is the one thing that makes this piece so rollicking. Followed up by the tough to grasp Thoughts To Geoff, a 10-mins corker that often veers dissonant and improvisational, which strangely enough becomes more fluid and melodic as it unravels. Even young Gary Boyle (out of auger’s trinity) manages to follow this difficult track, which had to faded out to be stopped. In Green & Orange Night Park, McCoy Typpett then shows with all three horns holding the Trane in the station, until Elton pulls his best solo (I would almost add ever in such a fanboy moment) while the other two are providing a descending line behind him that slowly morphs into another lead line, which had to be terminated again by a fade-out. Absolutely flabbergasting and jaw-dropping piece.

Keith Tippett Group

The flipside starts on the most difficult Gridal Suite, an Elton Dean improvised piece that he shares well with Phil Howard (just think of side 1 of Soft Machine’s 5 album), this track probably being the low point of the album. Five After Dawn might appear at first to be just as difficult, but it’s not quite the same nature, this one is written and impressionist track, evoking early life movement after the dead of night. After your stupor segued into surprise, it should normally give into joy and eventually glee. The short but sweet reprise of SM’s theme is only a wink, leading us to Black Horse, which is a bit the book- ending of the opening track (both tracks are written by trombonist Nick Evans, a very rhythmic groove with plenty of enthralling horn-section arrangements (a bit ala brass-rock), and it comes complete with a superb guitar solo from future Isotope Gary Boyle.

Not that this second album is that much better than their debut, but it grabbed all of the sunshine, shadowing all of the debut album, which consistently remains more difficult to find. Both are much worth the discovery and are excellent early UK jazz-rock. (by Sean Trane)


Marc Charig (cornet)
Elton Dean (saxophone, saxello)
Nick Evans (trombone)
Keith Tippett (piano)
Roy Babbington (bass)
Gary Boyle (guitar)
Phil Howard (drums)
Bryan Spring (drums)
Tony Uta (percussion)
Neville Whitehead (bass)
Robert Wyatt (drums)


01. This Is What Happens (Evans) 4.58
02. Thoughts To Geoff (Tippett)
03.Green And Orange Night Park (Tippett)
04. Gridal Suite (Dean)
05. Five After Dawn (Tippett)
06. Dedicated To You, But You Weren’t Listening (Dean/Hopper/Charig)
07. Black Horse (Dean)



KeithTippett04Keith Tippett (25 August 1947 – 14 June 2020)

Mott The Hoople – Two Miles From Heaven (1980)

FrontCover1Mott the Hoople are an English rock band, popular in the glam rock era of the early to mid-1970s. They are best known for the song “All the Young Dudes”, written for them by David Bowie and appearing on their 1972 album of the same name.

Two Miles From Heaven is a compilation album of tracks recorded by British rock band Mott the Hoople during their period with Island Records from 1969 to 1972. It features the original band line-up of Ian Hunter (vocals, piano, guitar), Mick Ralphs (guitar, vocals), Peter Watts (bass guitar, vocals), Dale Griffin (drums) and Verden Allen (organ). Incomplete tracks from original sessions were supplemented by overdubs of vocals, keyboards (by later Mott the Hoople and Mott member Morgan Fisher) and guitar (including contributions from Mott guitarist Ray Majors).

Of significance to followers of the group were the inclusion of alternative versions of extant Mott the Hoople songs (a vocal version of “You Really Got Me”, the discarded mix of “Thunderbuck Ram” and early demo tapes of songs that were later recorded for their All the Young Dudes album once the band had left Island and signed to Columbia Records: “One of the Boys”, “Ride on the Sun” (better known as “Sea Diver”) and “Black Scorpio” (Momma’s Little Jewel). “Until I’m Gone” was an otherwise unreleased Ralphs track.


The initial vinyl release was on Island’s German label (202 429-270), in 1980, but it has subsequently been re-released on Angel Air SJPCD 161 in 2003 with additional bonus tracks. (by wikipedia)

After British Lions broke up, Dale Griffin, Overend Watts, Ray Majors and Morgan Fisher went in the studios to put together this compilation of rare and unreleased Mott The Hoople material from Island’s vaults. Mott recorded virtually everything they wrote, and just about any day not spent gigging was spent in the studio. As a result, there is a lot of unreleased (and unfinished) material in there.

What an absolute peach this collection is. Unreleased tracks, rare b-sides and early versions of songs that would be recorded later on… this album has long been sought after by fans, and is now at long last available on CD.


It starts with a rare vocal version of the Kinks’ You Really Got Me. Next up is Ian’s first stab at social commentary, Road To Birmingham which was the b-side to Rock And Roll Queen, Mott’s first single. Then there’s the alternate version of Thunderbuck Ram, with Verden’s organ featuring much higher in the mix. The studio version of Keep a Knockin’ is fast and furious, and an absolute belter.

Movin’ On is next – slated for the original vinyl but withdrawn at the last minute is a medium-paced rocker that Mick Ralphs would eventually re-record with Bad Company. Ride On The Sun is beautiful – this again would be re-recorded (as Sea Diver) later on – and is possibly one of Ian’s best ballads. Growin’ Man Blues is another fast rocker which I never grow tired of hearing. Till I’m Gone is another ballad, beautifully sung by Mick Ralphs (for a version of him sharing the vocals with Ian, check out the Anthology). One Of The Boys is an acoustic version of the song that would be re-recorded later on. Black Scorpio (Momma’s Little Jewel) is faster than the version that would be recorded for the Dudes album.


Two more bonus tracks close the album, The Debt (which was the b-side to Midnight Lady) and the non-LP single Downtown, with Mick Ralphs again supplying the vocals for this Neil Young/Crazy Horse cover.

Sound quality throughout is excellent (a lot better than the original LP). Strangely, tho’ the running order on the “Bald At The Station” side is different from the original LP. No matter – this is an important album in Mott’s history, and I for one am glad it’s finally available on CD! (hunter-mott.com)

An even more overlooked album from an already overlooked band, this was released at the beginning of the 80’s without too much fanfare. Having heard the album I have no idea why; this is so much more than just a collection of B-Sides and out-takes. 75% of this album is made up of songs that could have been on albums in their present state. I hardly know where to begin; “The Road to Birmingham” for example is a song that should have been on “Brain Capers” or “Wildlife” and the re-mix of “Thunderbuck Ram” actually outshines the original and it’s interesting to hear the pre-Bad Company version of “Movin’ On” and a few of the covers thrown in as well. This was such an interesting band and this is a real gem of a collection that would do YOUR collection well. (by Jacob Koehler)


Verden Allen (organ, background vocals)
Dale “Buffin” Griffin (drums, background vocals)
Ian Hunter (vocals, piano, guitar)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, background vocals)
Pete “Overend” Watts (bass, background vocals)
Guy Stevens (piano, percussion)


01. You Really Got Me (Davies) 3.08
02. The Road To Birmingham (Hunter) 3.30
03. Thunderbuck Ram (Ralphs) 4.41
04. Going Home (Ralphs) 3.00
05. Little Christine (Ralphs) 3.06
06. Keep A Knockin'” (Richard Penniman) 3.25
07. Black Hills (Ralphs) 1.32
08. Movin’ On (Ralphs) 2.44
09. Ride On The Sun (Hunter) 3.38
10. Growin’ Man Blues (Hunter) 2.46
11. Until I’m Gone (Ralphs) 3.14
12. One Of The Boys (Ralphs, Hunter) 4.19
13. Surfin’ U.K. (Ralphs) 2.37
14. Black Scorpio (Hunter/Watts) 3.36
15. I´ll Wind Blowing (Hunter) 3.53
16. The Debt (Hunter) 4.15
17. Downtown (Whitten/Young) 3.03

Dale Griffin tried hard during the production process to improve on the original recordings. All material was transferred from the original 8- and 16-track tapes to 24-track tape. All were remixed, and many were overdubbed, as follows:

The Road to Birmingham: extra acoustic and electric guitars were added by Overend Watts, together with a few minor edits
Thunderbuck Ram: some keyboard fills were added by Morgan Fisher
Going Home: Overend Watts and Dale Griffin added backing vocals
Keep a Knockin’: Morgan Fisher added piano
Black Hills: Morgan Fisher added piano and mellotron
Ride On The Sun: Morgan Fisher added Hammond organ and mellotron
Growin’ Man Blues: in reality only a minute and a half long, they had to do two dub edits and some covering vocals and instrumental fills
Till I’m Gone: Overend Watts added acoustic guitar
One Of The Boys: Overend Watts added guitar; Dale griffin and Overend added backing vocals
Surfin’ UK: Dale Griffin added backing vocals and percussion
Black Scorpio: Ray Majors added slide guitar, Dale Griffin added backing vocals and percussion
Ill Wind Blowing: Dale Griffin added backing vocals and percussion ((hunter-mott.com))




More from Mott The Hoople:

Neil Ardley & The New Jazz Orchestra – On The Radio BBC Sessions (1971)

FrontCover1Neil Richard Ardley (26 May 1937–23 February 2004) was a prominent English jazz pianist and composer, who also made his name as the author of more than 100 popular books on science and technology, and on music.

Neil Ardley was born in Wallington, Surrey. He attended Wallington County Grammar School and at the age of thirteen started to learn the piano and later the saxophone. He read Chemistry at Bristol University, where he also played both piano and saxophone in jazz groups, and from which he graduated in 1959 with a BSc.

Ardley moved to London and studied arranging and composing with Ray Premru and Bill Russo from 1960 to 1961. He joined the John Williams Big Band as pianist, writing both arrangements and new compositions, and from 1964 to 1970 was the director of the newly formed New Jazz Orchestra, which employed some of the best young musicians in London, including Ian Carr, Jon Hiseman, Barbara Thompson, Dave Gelly, Mike Gibbs, Don Rendell, and Trevor Tomkins.

In the late 1960s, encouraged by record producer and impresario Denis Preston, Ardley began composing in earnest, combining classical and jazz methods. His rich orchestrations were augmented in the 1970s by the addition of synthesisers. His contemporary jazz album Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows was number 22 in the New Musical Express top 24 albums of 1976. However, as he began work on an all-electronic album in 1980, Ardley’s recording contract was suddenly terminated, and he fell back on his writing and publishing career. He continued to play and compose, especially with Zyklus, the electronic jazz group he formed with composer (and former student) John L. Walters, Derbyshire musician Warren Greveson and Ian Carr.


Singing in local choirs in the later 1990s led Ardley to start composing choral music, and this occupied most of his musical attention until his death. At the time of his death, Ardley had begun to gig and record again with a slimmed down Zyklus consisting of himself, Warren Greaveson, and Nick Robinson.

Ardley joined the editorial staff of the World Book Encyclopedia in 1962, when the London branch of the American publisher was producing an international edition. This took four years, during which time he developed the skill of editing and writing introductory material for the young. After a brief period working for Hamlyn, he became a freelance editor in 1968 (which enabled him to continue with his musical career). In the 1970s, he moved into writing introductory books, mostly for children, on natural history (especially birds), science and technology, and music, such as What Is It?.

Just as his composing and performance had been moved forward by the introduction and development of technology, so too with his publishing career, as computers began to become more and more important. In 1984 Ardley began to write mainly for Dorling Kindersley, producing a series of books which included the best-selling (over three million copies worldwide) and award-winning The Way Things Work, illustrated by David Macaulay.

When he retired in 2000 Ardley had written 101 books, with total sales of about ten million.


In 1960, Ardley married Bridget Gantley, and the couple had one daughter. In 2003 he married Vivian Wilson. He died in Milford, Derbyshire. (by wikipedia)

The polymath British composer and bandleader Neil Ardley foresaw much of today’s genre-bending, often via his leadership of the south London rehearsal band that became the New Jazz Orchestra in the mid-60s. These two 1971 BBC radio sessions join music from Ardley, Mike Gibbs, the shortlived piano visionary Mike Taylor, Barbara Thompson and Cream’s Jack Bruce, with Ardley’s and electronicist Keith Winter’s chamber-jazzy experimental suite, The Time Flowers.

Gibbs’s Tanglewood ’63 combines the NJO’s subtlety and rock-savvy rhythm section with characterful improv from trumpeter Harry Beckett and the bluesy saxist Dick Heckstall-Smith. A standout segue of Taylor’s pensive and harmonically audacious Half Blue and Pendulum is warmed by Ian Carr’s glowing flugelhorn sound. The Time Flowers joins glimpses of Miles Davis and Gil Evans’s Sketches of Spain with soft classical strings, electronic chimes and empathic dialogue between Carr and the Coltrane-esque saxophonist Don Rendell, in textural collages that only occasionally have a treading-water feel. Progressive music from almost half a century back, it sounds remarkably fresh. (by John Fordham)


Clem Clempson (guitar)
Jeff Clyne (bass)
Dave Greenslade (keyboards)
Dick Hart (tuba)
Jon Hiseman (drums)
Frank Ricotti (vibraphone, percussion)
Barbara Thompson – Brian Smith – Dick Heckstall-Smith – Don Rendell – Dave Gelly
trumpet, flugelhorn:
Bud Parkes – Harry Beckett – Henry Lowther – Ian Carr – Nigel Carter
Derek Wadsworth – Mike Gibbs Robin Gardner
+on 12:
Barry Guy (bass)
Reginald Leopold (violin)
Don Rendell (saxophone)
Keith Winter (electronics)
London Studio Strings

conducted by Neil Ardley

Colosseum as a part of The New Jazz Orchestra:

‘Jazz Club’, BBC Radio 2 And 3, February 14th 1971:
01. Stratusphunk (Russell) 5.52
02. Introduction by Humphrey Lyttelton 1.03
03. Tanglewood ’63 (Gibbs) 6.31
04. Anouncement 0.35
05. Half Blue (Taylor) 2.21
06. Pendulum (Taylor) 4.35
07. Anouncement 0.48
08. Terre De Miel (Thompson) 5.16
09. Anouncement 0.29
10. The Immortal Ninth (Bruce) 6-09

‘Jazz In Britain’ On BBC Radio 3, September 27th 1971:
11. Anouncement by Brian Priestley 1.01
12. The Time Flowers (Winter/Ardley) 27.54

Tracks 01. to 11. pre-recorded live at the Camden Theatre, London, for ” Jazz Club ” on BBC Radio 2 and 3
Track 12. re-recorded without audience at the Aeolian Hall, London, for ” Jazz in Britain ” on BBC Radio 3