This historical and worthy reissue from the original 1975 Incus LP parlays the vibrant, British free-jazz/improvisational scene of the era. With saxophonist Evan Parker, guitarist Derek Bailey, and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble leading charge during the 1960’s and beyond, this album showcases the nascent talents of five, soon to be prominent artists.
Producer Martin Davidson recorded these tracks at London’s fabled Unity Theatre in 1974 and 1975 during the time when he founded EMANEM, which sprouted as a leading chronicler of improvised music to this day. Davidson’s seemingly endless wealth of material strikes a proverbial chord, spanning a hearty array of extrapolations by large and small ensembles, solo artists or musicians banding to explore the output of unorthodox instrumentation. Hence, Teatime projects a sum of the moving parts mindset, instilling a creative launching pad for past and present performers.
With a free-spirited and infinitely creative mode of operations, the unit incorporates depth, calamity, and electronics into a frothy improvisational soundscape, complemented with abrupt detours. At various occurrences, the musicians inject a bit of polytonal mayhem, partly due to John Russell’s scratchy guitar voicings and Garry Todd’s edgy sax parts amid the collective’s changeable motifs. In effect, they keep the listener at bay by instilling a tremulous flow.
Track 12 "Low-Fi" is a previously unissued blowout and aptly titled jam, sparked by Russell’s off-center phrasings and distortion atop percussionist Dave Solomon’s rumbling fills and accents. Besides the historical significance, this nicely-packaged relic is a joy to behold. It’s new music/improvisation, underscored by a highly-entertaining form factor.