Into The Archives Vol. 1

by Jazz In Britain

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  • A remarkable new and groundbreaking study from Jazz In Britain’s very own Matt Parker.

    Subversion Through Jazz examines the beginning of the British progressive jazz (BPJ) movement from 1956 to 1964, attempting to identify and plot the progress of its coming into being. This eight-year period of inception was set against the backdrop of two specifically relevant world events: the failed Hungarian revolution in 1956; and the Cuban Missile Crisis, a potentially apocalyptic nuclear standoff between the United States and the USSR in the Gulf of Mexico in 1962. Like many art forms in the UK, British jazz underwent a paradigm shift during this period, transforming from imitator to innovator. A new generation of post-war musicians - spearheaded by the West Indian alto-saxophonist Joe Harriott - discovered their own sound, no longer aping American Jazz traditions but instead seeking out their own methods of expression within improvisation, embracing hugely diverse influences such as Blues, Indian music, twentieth-century Classical music, Rock’n’roll, African music, classic and contemporary poetry and literature, Caribbean music, Folk, R&B, and Soul, forging them into a uniquely British identity which would in turn influence musicians across the globe.

    The obsession with British art and culture which was all-pervasive in the pop and rock music of the UK from 1965 onwards had its roots in BPJ. The musicians involved in the movement were the first post-war contemporary jazz players outside the U.S. to meld an artistic nationalism to their music, introducing non-musical influences from the worlds of British and European art and literature, left-wing politics and musical influences from outside the sphere of jazz, such as the abstract classical compositions of Cornelius Cardew and Anton Webern, brass bands, and the music-hall traditions of Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

    The location of most of these artistic developments – an area of roughly four square miles in and around Soho, London - was simultaneously the covert battleground of the British Secret Service department MI5 and their adversaries the Soviet Russian KGB, an old empire pitted against a new one, and at least one significant Communist of concern to MI5, the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, took a very serious interest in the British jazz scene at this time. Inspired by his cousin, the British jazz record producer and label-owner Denis Preston, and the Italian Communist intellectual Antonio Gramsci, Hobsbawm embedded himself in the movement, authoring a study of it in 1959 entitled The Jazz Scene, for which he adopted, as jazz writer for the New Statesman magazine, the pseudonym Francis Newton, an alias he had been developing for three years prior, unbeknownst to the British agents who were surveilling him.
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  • Full Digital Discography Full Digital Discography

    Get all 26 Jazz In Britain releases available on Bandcamp and save 20%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of The Complete Hopbine '69, Ken Wheeler: Some Gnu Ones, Inclusivity, Formation: Live '61, Revisiting Tanglewood 63: The Early Tapes, Solar Session, Blue Beginnings, Mandala, and 18 more. , and , .

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  • Limited Edition 12" Vinyl LP
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Beautifully packaged 180g vinyl. Flip-back sleeve. Strictly limited pressing run of 300 copies worldwide

    Includes unlimited streaming of Into The Archives Vol. 1 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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about

Illuminating the talents of:
Geoff Castle · Alan Cohen · Dick Crouch · Lyn Dobson · Martin Fry · Mike Gibbs · Jon Hiseman · Allan Holdsworth · Henry Lowther · Ron Mathewson · Ken McCarthy · Mike Osborne · Alain Presencer · Chris Pyne · Ron Rubin · Alan Skidmore · Brian Smith · John Surman · Trevor Tomkins · Ray Warleigh · Kenny Wheeler

Those already familiar with the output of Jazz In Britain to date will by now have a fair idea of our modus operandi, but for the uninitiated there is no better place to start than with this collection. Whilst none of these recordings could be considered ‘reference’ standard audio, our aim is always to present them in the best possible light, and offer the optimum listening experience to the fan. Unlike the famous master tapes of major labels, often (but not always) stored in hermetically sealed, environmentally controlled areas, much of the source material entrusted to us by our numerous kind patrons has spent its life in places entirely unsuitable to the preservation of media. For example, one such patron, who shall remain nameless, stored their not-inconsiderable collection in two large black bin bags buried at the back of a musty cupboard under their stairs for four decades. Therefore, a great deal of the material we have to work with is somewhat less than pristine to begin with, but is usually the only remaining/known copy of a particular, historically interesting, session. Consequently, the pieces brought together for this album should be viewed in this context - as beautiful, but patinated trinkets.

Into The Archives Vol. 1 represents an essential possession for any serious aficionado of the players and the period. All of the tracks featured here make their debut on a physical release, and Group Sounds Five’s ‘near-mythical’ performance of Black & White Raga, a piece allegedly composed by the legendary British progressive jazz pianist Mike Taylor specifically for the quintet, appears for the first time in any format, having been previously thought lost. Be sure to look out for more exciting volumes in this series coming soon.

credits

released December 11, 2020

Tracks 1,3,4 from the Ron Mathewson tape archive
Track 2 from the Neil Ardley tape archive, kind courtesy of Viv Ardley

Digital transfer by John Thurlow

Produced by Matt Parker for Jazz In Britain Ltd.

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Jazz In Britain London, UK

A not-for-profit organisation, whose aim is to collect, curate, preserve, celebrate and promote the legacy of British jazz musicians. The archive collects, curates and preserves off-air and other recordings of British jazz performances.
The organisation will publish books, release vinyl, CDs and downloads, working in partnership with musicians and their families.
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