|2-disc import from England.
First Weaving is from the 1998 Le Mans Jazz Festival; a gigantic session which became an underground classic despite never being commercially available. Originally commissioned by the BBC it stayed under wraps because the intention was to produce a studio recording for which the funding never materialised.
Although acknowledged as one of the great founding fathers of Post Modern British ‘jazz’, Keith Tippett is a mysterious figure, always on the edge of contemporary music. Today he is probably best known for his solo explorations in spontaneous composition, an irony given his history in collective music making, (i.e. Centipede, Ark, Mujician and the Georgian Ensemble etc.)
There is a whole debate about the relationship between the ‘jazz orchestra’ and ‘big band’ traditions, one that is complicated still further by a composition such as First Weaving, which draws inspiration from music reaching well beyond the label ‘jazz’. It is not just about orchestrating, Keith Tippett uses written composition to open up space for twenty, thirty, forty other soloists to come together to extend the possibilities of the score sheet.
First Weaving is from a certain place. The Fifth and Sixth Threads commencing Disc Two sound like prophetic elegies for nations which, in 1998, had still to suffer the tragedy of conflict. We know what happened. This music remains a First Weaving. If ever there was music which embraces hope it is here. The Tapestry Orchestra contains musicians who were there right at the beginning in Centipede – among them Larry Stabbins, Louis Moholo, Mark Charig, Paul Rutherford, Dave Amis, Julie Tippetts, Maggie Nicols and the late Elton Dean. First Weaving unites some of the most important innovators on the British scene, playing in a setting well beyond national boundaries. It has taken nine years for this brilliant performance to be heard on CD, now that it is available on Red Eye Music; it needs to be listened to more than ever. (Steve Day)
Gethin Liddington, Pino Minafra, Jim Dvorak, Mark Charig (trumpets); Malcolm Griffiths, Dave Amis, Paul Rutherford (trombones); Oren Marshall (tuba); Paul Dunmall, Simon Picard, Larry Stabbins (tenor saxophones); Elton Dean, Gianluigi Trovesi, Lee Goodall (alto saxophones, flutes, clarinets); Julie Tippetts, Maggie Nicols, Vivien Ellis (voice); Paul Rogers (double bass); Louis Moholo, Tony Levin (drums); Keith Tippett (piano)