23 giugno 2021


La foto di Jack Kilby in copertina può trarre in inganno chi ne ricorda una simile utilizzata per Withdrawal, ma rispetto a quello non ci sono né Wheeler né Guy né Parker né Bailey (pur parzialmente presente, quest'ultimo, nell'immagine). Ci sono però Trevor Watts, Paul Rutherford, Bruce Cale e naturalmente John Stevens nello Spontaneous Music Ensemble qui documentato per iniziativa di Rhythm and Blues Records, che in Question and Answer 1966 mette assieme il loro concerto del 22 giugno 1966 al Prince Albert di Greenwich con una mezzoretta di domande e risposte e una breve sessione di studio prodotta dal medesimo quartetto qualche settimana più tardi.

The Spontaneous Music Ensemble enjoys mythical status, not least among free jazz devotees. Its driving force, drummer John Stevens, determined early in his career to focus upon 'free' and 'improvised' music. From the mid-sixties until his untimely death in 1994, Stevens' story is one of creative achievement with little in the way of financial reward. London's Little Theatre Club supported the attempts of Stevens and others to forge a new music at a time when precious few other venues were willing to do so. The Prince Albert in Greenwich did offer the SME a gig, the session was recorded and it forms the basis of Question and Answer 1966, a two-disc release from Rhythm and Blues Records. Stevens teamed up with like-minded souls Trevor Watts, alto sax, Paul Rutherford, trombone, and bassist Bruce Cale to explore the possibilities of a new approach to music first signalled by Ornette Coleman. Their efforts on the night of June 22, 1966 in a typical pub setting, were committed to tape and it is only now that we can hear the previously unreleased material.