December 24, 2013

Bad news for Christmas: Mel Davis, original founder of the People Band, died last November...


Mel Davis, the original founder of the People Band, friend of Glen Sweeney, Clive Kingsley and Lyn Dobson, died at the beginning of last November. His old musicians and friends played a moving funeral lament on November 6th at Woodlands Crematorium in Scunthorpe documented on YouTube at the page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8dgUAnyFRw&feature=youtu.be.

                                    The funeral lament for Mel Davis.

Excellent jazz & avantgarde pianist/multi-instrumentalist, Mel Davis played the cello in TEB's "Alchemy" (1969) being a real key figure in the British jazz, most of all for playing with The People Band.

The People Band in the Sixties
At the beginning of 2012 The People Band was reformed for some concerts. Reviewing a gig in London played in March of this year, Sammy Stein of "All About Jazz" wrote that "another wonderful moment was provided by Davis' piano solo, demonstrating why he is still one of the most respected players in the business".

And in an other occasion, analyzing The People Band's music: "Free jazz is what the People Band play and perhaps this is an odd term for music which is actually highly controlled by individual players and the right notes are played around a root chord – just not necessarily in the right order to form what we know as a ‘tune’. (...) Words used to describe The People Band’s playing include visceral, free wheeling, forceful and anarchic and all of these are true but what 

The People Band on stage in 2012.
makes a People Band performance special is that the musicians do not stick to the tune but rather, the music takes on a life of its own, invading the spirit and souls of performers and listeners alike. With the People Band, the audience are encouraged to take part should the muse take them. Instruments are swapped, players mingle with the crowd and the music takes the lead.

"With root chords to guide, the players come in or fall silent as the muse takes them. One moment blowing a complicated sax riff, the next tapping out a simple rhythm on a tambourine. Yet, all have an innate understanding of where the piece is going. Unfettered by convention of traditional rhythms, tempos or dynamics, the players are led by the spirit of jazz who joins them on stage, tempting, cajoling, pushing, getting them to overblow to get more notes, creating music of teeth crunching discords working alongside sublime and divine sweetness, yet all working together to explore every avenue of jazz – this is free form".

Music losts another great musician, a pure innovator, an experimental mind... a fundamental protagonist of the TEB's glorious story!



A Mel Davis Discography
Third Ear Band - "Alchemy" (LP/CD - Harvest 1969) Davis played the cello
The People Band - "The People Band" (LP/CD - Transatlantic, 1970)
Loverly - "Play World Wild Music" (CD - ITM REecords, 1988) Davis composed some tracks and played the piano
Various Artists - "Resonance Volume 8 Number 2 / Volume 9 Number 1: LMC…The First 25 Years" (CD - London Musicians' Collective 2000) compilation with a track played by Mummy
Various Artists  - "Not necesserily 'English Music'" (2CD - EMF, 2001) compilation with a track by The People Band
The People Band - "People Band 69/70" (CD - Emanen 2009) an anthology with unrealised tracks

Web sites
http://www.terryday.co.uk/
http://www.londonjazznews.com/2012/03/feature-people-band.html
http://www.charliehart.com/subpages/people.htm 


 no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

December 16, 2013

English musician Michael Tanner quotes TEB's "Stone Circle" as one of his inspirations...


From the blog called "Grounding Sounds" (http://wp.me/p3tXEW-O) we find out Dorset musician Michael Tanner quotes "Stone Circle" as one of his favourite tracks. 

Tanner is behind several projects including his solo work as Plinth and collaborations as part of The A.Lords, Thalassing, Cloisters, Taskerlands. He has records as himself too. His works have been released through several labels including Second Language, Time Released Sound, Rif Mountain and Deadslackstring. 
  
                        The cover of "The Cloisters", Turner's last album.

His sound sits somewhere between folk, modern classical and experimental ambient music. Lot of his albums are listenable at http://iamplinth.bandcamp.com
His last record, titled "The Cloisters", is a beautiful, organic, ambient music.


About "Stone Circle" he sustains: "No band sums up the Dark, Olde England quite like the Third Ear Band. The music occasionally induces the horrors but then veers back trance-like. This is the music Steve Reich would have made if he were a Pict" 

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)      

December 05, 2013

Finally also first TEB cellist BRIAN MEREDITH has emerged from the fogs of time!


A new Great Miracle of the Web for all the Third Ear Band's fans around the world: disclosing his obscure and quite legendary identity, just today Brian Meredith has posted this few words on that old file I wrote on August 2012 titled "Who knows Brian Meredith?" (http://ghettoraga.blogspot.it/2012/08/who-knows-brian-meredith.html ):


Brian Meredith and Glen Sweeney on stage for one of the first TEB show in 1967!


"Call off the hunt, Luca! I am Brian Meredith, one of the four founders of TEB, the cellist Clive Kingsley thought may have been named Graham. BTW, I tracked down and called Clive a few years ago after somebody drew my attention to his misrememberances. I stayed with the group for its first 16 months before moving to live overseas (first to Sydney, then to New York). These days, I'm a 69-year old living in Southern California, and have had my attention drawn to this "Who Is Brian Meredith?" topic by someone who saw me acknowledging the passing of 94-year old master cellist (and founding member of the original Chico Hamilton Quintet) Fred Katz. I'll be happy to continue this conversation, Luca, and to help clear away the fog I'm becoming aware has gathered around Third Ear Band's origins. But right now, I shall attempt to add a photo to this comment. I have today posted a pic online that shows Glen and myself on stage. Carolyn Looker may recall that, once she had designed, cut and sewn all our band uniforms, Glen picked one of our first 1967 club appearances to have a photographer take a whole bunch of pictures of us from various angles. This was one of those shots".

Brian Meredith today.
Another very interesting post by him is included on another file of this Archive after a Carolyn Looker interview at http://ghettoraga.blogspot.it/2012/04/at-last-proper-interview-with-carolyn.html

So we'll have a long interview with Brian soon to discover other obscure things from the Third Ear Band past!  
Keep in touch!

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

December 04, 2013

Rare Harvest anthology with TEB track available for free download.





"Picnic. A breath of fresh air", a double LP anthology published by Harvest Records in England on June 1970 to celebrate the first year of the label, is available for free downloading at http://plixid.com/2013/11/29/va-picnic-a-breath-of-fresh-air-vinylrip-remastered-1970-mp3/
The  anthology, among tracks by Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Syd Barrett, Edgar Broughton Band, Roy Harper..., includes "Water" played by the Third Ear Band taken from the "Elements" album.

 
I'm particularly close to this record because when in 1976 I bought it  in a little record shop of the smalltown where I lived I could listen for the first time to the Third Ear Band. Just then I decided to find all the records the band had produced. So in some ways "Picnic" was the beginning of all: the     researches on the TEB, the first attempts to contact Glen to convince him to reform the band, the following management of the group for the Italian tours/records, finally this Archive with many unexpected contacts and discoveries...

In these last years the vinyl edition (Harvest SHSS 1/2), not too hard to find, is a collector's item valued around 15-20 euros.
In 2007 E.M.I. edited also a 3CDs with similar title ("A Breath of Fresh Air") but a different (enhanced) tracks selection: Third Ear Band is included here with two tunes - "Druid One" (from "Alchemy") and "Overture", from the 1972 "Macbeth" film soundtrack.

The inside LP cover
 no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)