The Bebop Shop : Changes: Post-Bop Modernists : British Postmodernism
The second setting is of three poems by W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and Lewis Carroll, beautifully sung by Norma Winstone with the large jazz orchestra. In its first ever CD release, re-mastered from the studio tapes, the album concludes with a bonus track in Ardley's jokey setting of the National Anthem that segues effortlessly into a light tango.
Ardley's music, the performances of a veritable jazz who's who - including Frank Riccotti, Dave Gelly (who writes the notes for this reissue), Jon Hiseman, Barbara Thompson, Norma Winston, Stan Tracey, Jeff Clyne, Henry Lowther, Harold Beckett and Dick Heckstall-Smith, and the production values of Denis Preston, render 'A Symphony of Amaranths' one of the most important British jazz albums ever made. (Proper Music) Price: £12.99
Humphrey Lyttelton helms proceedings; musicians include Ardley, Harry Beckett, Ian Carr, Henry Lowther, Derek Wadsworth, Mike Gibbs, Don Rendell, Barbara Thompson, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Dave Greenslade, Dave Clempson Jeff Clyne, Jon Hiseman and Frank Ricotti .
Fast forward to September of that year, and we have Ardley's epic 'The Time Flowers' on 'Jazz in Britain'. Inspired by JG Ballard's sci-fi short story, 'The Garden of Time', he plays alongside Carr, Rendell, Ricotti, Barry Guy, the London Studio Strings with Keith Winter on electronics in a 30-minute set that declares Ardley's growing intentions toward the electronic media that were to become increasingly integral to his later recorded work.
Bearing faultless performances from the cream of modern British jazz, this latest Dusk Fire release is another essential purchase for connoisseurs of the genre. (Proper Music) Price: £12.99
The Flute & Nut album contained a mix of standards and original compositions. Of the former, a gorgeous orchestration of the Rodgers & Hart evergreen My Romance provided the backdrop for Harolds sinuous, lyrical alto sax, whilst the furious swing of the John Cameron original Burnt Amber is arguably one of the best numbers in Harolds entire discography. These are just some of the highlights from two albums that clearly demonstrate Harold McNairs standing as one of the all-time greats in the jazz pantheon. Remastered from the original stereo master tapes. (Dutton Vocalion) Price: £11.99
This album of Taylors surviving orchestral music, jazz tunes and songs serves both as a memorial to him and to preserve his work as a composer and song writer for posterity. It presents the full set list, re-mastered from Neil Ardleys original tapes, and includes a generous 20-page booklet with extensive booklet notes on Taylor and the albums recording by Dave Gelly, complemented by previously-unseen photography. (Proper Music) Price: £12.99
'2081' draws inspiration from Kurt Vonnegut s short story 'Harrison Bergeron', published in 1961. John Taylor was commissioned to write the music by BBC Radio 3 for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Originally written for octet, it was then readapted for quartet. Alex Taylor explains: 'Vonnegut s story depicts a dystopian future in which everyone is equal. Nobody is allowed to be smarter, better looking or more physically able than anyone else. Those individuals who are gifted with intellect, talent and so on are made to bear handicaps '. At times, John Taylor s musical realm is reassuring and consistent with his own standards, while, at other times, it conveys the mysterious, unsettling future depicted by Vonnegut, by pursuing a hybrid sound, mingling jazz, pop and a moody soundtrack vibe. This pursuit definitely benefits from the sonic scenarios opened by Marshall s tuba, as well as the drumming style of Leo Taylor (already launched on a brilliant career on the indie-rock scene with his band The Invisible), who very often introduces modern, offbeat hypnotic rhythms here. (Harmonia Mundi) Price: £13.99