Between 1947 and 1949 the teenage Lol Coxhill organized club sessions comprising live contemporary jazz plus recordings of modern jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Lennie Tristano, Miles Davis and Stan Kenton. From 1950 to 1951 he was 'temporarily inconvenienced by national service in the Royal Air Force' but for the rest of that decade he was a member of: Denzil Bailey's Afro-Cubists (Dizzy Gillespie, Machito compositions/ arrangements); the Graham Fleming Combo touring US air bases in England (Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker compositions); and Sonny G and the G Men (R&B, standards). He also guested with established British contemporary jazz players, including Joe Harriott, Tubby Hayes, Oxford University Jazz Band as well as playing solo jazz and improvisations on the saxophone.
Much of the early to mid 1960s was taken up with touring and accompanying/supporting visiting US artists such as Rufus Thomas (with the television and video release of Walking the dog), Martha & the Vandellas, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Mose Allison, and to some extent this continued into the 70s with tours by Otis Spann, Champion Jack Dupree, Lowell Fulson and Alexis Korner. However, between 1968 and 1972 Coxhill formed 'Delivery' with Steve Miller, Jack Monck, Pip Pyle and Phil Miller, was a member of the 'Whole World' with Kevin Ayers, David Bedford, Mike Oldfield and numerous drummers, as well as performing in the Coxhill/Bedford duo and the Coxhill/Steve Miller duo.
The twelve years from 1973 saw Lol Coxhill become more well known as an improvising musician and solo player, with appearances throughout Great Britain, Europe, the US, Japan and Canada. At the same time he undertook numerous collaborations with improvisors (as a member of Company), jazz musicians (as a member of the Brotherhood of Breath), rock and blues musicians (The Damned), as well as appearing with experimental theatre groups such as Welfare State. Other collaborations included Trevor Watts 'Moire Music', The Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and AMM. The Recedents (with Roger Turner and Mike Cooper) was formed in this period to perform electro-acoustic improvisations and has been a long-standing interest along with the Melody Four (with Steve Beresford and Tony Coe) - performing original and standard songs, film music, theatre music, jazz and improvisations - a duo with Pat Thomas, a duo with Adam Bohman (both electo-acoustic improvisations though of a rather different hue) and membership of the Dedication Orchestra.
Between 1978 and 1981 Coxhill recorded and toured extensively with Andrea Centazzo in duo and in combination with trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini and trumpet player Franz Koglmann, releasing 4 albums on ICTUS Records: Moot, Situations, Darkly and Darkly Again.
Lol Coxhill has also worked occasionally in television and films with a part in Sally Potter's London story, Ken Campbell and Nigel Evans' The madness museum and Derek Jarman's Caravaggio.
What the critics say:
"Lol Coxhill [has] total openness to explore radically new directions as and when they present themselves..." - Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic Magazine
"There are very few versatile artists that hold the importance Lol Coxhill has in European improvised music. His highly personal style on soprano and tenor saxophone (fluent, lyrical yet capable of shrieking outbursts), his ability to perform with everyone and in every style, from jazz standards to the weirdest electro-acoustic improv, backed by his enduring sense of humor, all draw the figure of a maverick musician." - François Couture, All Music Guide
"Soprano sax maverick Coxhill is a musician who's touched on nearly every area of music over the past half century. In the '60s he jacked in his day job to accompany soul singers like Rufus Thomas. He'd sit in with bluesmen like Alexis Korner and Champion Jack Dupree. He was signed to John Peel's label Dandelion and played bebop with the likes of Bobby Wellins and Stan Tracey, prog rock with Steve Miller and Kevin Ayers, and dabbled in ska and rocksteady with Rico Rodriquez and Jazz Jamaica. In 1977 he even toured with the Damned. In the last decade I've seen him play with assorted avant jazzers, drone rockers and electronic mavericks. I've seen him busking near the Thames, and seen his old LPs selling for $100 in New York record shops. And I've also heard him playing beautiful, straight versions of standards.... A true national treasure and a top geezer.' - John Lewis, Time Out