15 February 2015

TONY OXLEY - INCUS 8 (1971 - 1975)

This is a re-up (my rip in flac) of Sotise's post from February 26, 2007.
I've added a new pic above and the line-up etc.
The following is his text from seven years ago.....

hi all here's a riveting long unavailable album by tony oxley. incus8 1975

most of the tracks are solo percussion and electronics,a couple feature ensembles with the usual suspects,derek b ,barry g
,paul r,etc.

this has remained sadly unissued for some inexplicable reason.

its a very rewarding listen guaranteed to reverse

any received opinion /assumption you may have about solo percussion being boring.

oxley also happens to be a visionary painter and graphic artist of some note.

here is some biographical info about oxley from the european free improvised music website.

Born Sheffield, 15 June 1938. Drums, percussion, violin, electronics.
Tony Oxley, with Derek Bailey and Gavin Bryars, created one of the foundations of free improvisation in the UK through their explorations in the group Joseph Holbrooke. A detailed retrospective view of Joseph Holbrooke can be found in Bailey (1992, pp. 86-93) but, briefly, the group existed in Sheffield from 1963 to 1966, initially playing conventional jazz though by 1965 playing totally improvised pieces. The fact that the three were 'isolated' in Sheffield from developments elsewhere (John Stevens and the SME) provided an ideal environment for experimentation and development. After that the participants moved to London, Oxley becoming the house drummer at Ronnie Scott's while all the while continuing with experimental music. He was in at the beginning of the Incus label with Bailey and Evan Parker and some of his work for that label is recognised as landmarks in the development of free music. He also appeared in various (early) versions of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra
In the last 25 years he has performed and recorded in an extremely wide variety of situations, from those where an emphasis on time-keeping is important to free situations with perhaps Paul Bley at one extreme and Cecil Taylor at the other. His work with Taylor, as a member of The Feel Trio with William Parker, in duos, or augmented with other musicians (such as the quartet of Taylor, Oxley, William Parker and Derek Bailey for two concerts in London and Manchester in 1991) lasted from 1988 to 1991 and can be seen by the viewing a selection of their concert schedule.
In recent years Tony Oxley has run his own Celebration Orchestra, worked with Bill Dixon - both are painters as well as musicians, and there have been plans for multimedia presentations - and with the Austrians, violinist Andreas Schreiber and pianist Dieter Glawischnig in the trio Cercle. This group briefly toured the UK in 1997 (having played the Beijing Jazz Festival in October 1996), with displays of Oxley's paintings, and had a broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in May 1997. Oxley has also begun to work again in duo with Derek Bailey, playing, for example at the Knitting Factory in New York in September 1995, in London in November 1995 and in Vand'Oeuvre in France in May 1997. He also remains in demand to bring unconventionality to conventional settings, particularly with his 'rainforest percussion', playing for example, on ECM recordings with Paul Bley and John Surman and with the Tomasz Stanko Quartet.
His kit is highly individual and an early version of it was described by Derek Bailey (1992, p. 101) thus:
'The acoustic part is: drums - eight, various sizes and texture; cymbals, fourteen, various sizes, thicknesses, weights, sounds; cowbells - five, from six inches to sixteen inches; wood surfaces - five, wood blocks and oriental skulls; saucepans - two. The amplified section of the kit is: amplified frame containing cymbals, wires, various kitchen equipment, motor generators, springs, used with 3 contact mikes (home-made), 2 volume pedals, 1 octave splitter, 1 compressor, 1 ring modulator and oscillator, 1 amplifier and two speakers.'
More recently the whole kit has been slimmed down and the electronics have (probably temporarily) been put to one side, but the playing, of course, remains individualistic. A transcription of an interview with Oxley, where he discusses his current kit (1997) with Alyn Shipton in a BBC Radio 3 Broadcast is available, complete with sound clips.
Tony Oxley is also a painter and three pages of his paintings can also be viewed: Paintings 1 or Paintings 2 and Paintings 3.



Tony Oxley, percussion, amplified percussion
Barry Guy, bass
Dave Holdsworth, trumpet
Evan Parker, soprano saxophone
Howard Riley, piano
Paul Rutherford, trombone
Derek Bailey, guitar

A1. Never Before Or Again  10:41
A2. M-W-M  6:57
A3. EIROC II  5:27
B1. East Of Sheffield  6:26
B2. South East Of Sheffield  5:47
B3. P.P.1  8:37

Track A1 (Parker/Holdsworth/Rutherford/Riley/Guy/Oxley) recorded 1972;
track A2 (solo Oxley) recorded 1975
Track A3 (Bailey/Parker/Rutherford/Oxley) recorded 1971
Track B1 (solo Oxley) recorded 1971
Track B2 (solo Oxley) recorded 1973
Track B3 (solo Oxley) recorded 1975

INCUS 8  (vinyl rip)


D72. said...


Listening to this as I write, and enjoying it very much. It is strange that Oxley seems to have been relatively neglected in the spate of reissues of recent years. He is a wonderfully inventive and textured performer, and it seems there are all too few recordings available of him at work. I saw him play with Cecil Taylor and Bill Dixon a couple of years back at the Royal Festival Hall - hardly the most sympathetic acoustic environment - and it's interesting to contrast the intensity of what they were able to achieve then with the intimate miniaturism present on these recordings. Thanks for this.

dipmong said...

thanks D72
its a pleasure
i totally agree oxley's one of the most inventive drummers around a true innnovator who expanded what sunny murray, elvin jones et al did in unexpected ways. these guys are getting old now though and living in the southern hemisphere i seldom have the opportunity of seeing concerts half as interesting as the one you describe chances of doing so become slimmer by the year.
so cherish the memory.
i must say though that i found their
fmp live album pretty disapointing
in terms of sound quality mostly,and some of bill dixons playing seemed quite strained,partly the acoustic though i think.
it'dbe nice to have something to compare it to
i dont suppose you have a recording of that festival hall show you'd care to share with us?
stay tuned

Anonymous said...

Great music here.
I've linked your blog.

D72. said...

Sadly I don't have a copy of that performance, but it was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 3 (transmitted some time in December 2004), so I don't know if anyone else had the foresight to record it?
That trio seems to have come in for a lot of stick for their performances of recent years, which much of the criticism aimed at Dixon. That seems a little unwarranted in my opinion - Yes, his playing is pared down, quite distinct from the kind of sensitive interplay which characterises his Soul-Note recordings, but the music's dynamic is different. His presence is almost static against Taylor and Oxley's kinetic, almost liquid layering of sound upon sound. I don't know if I understood it, but I certainly enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

coul you reup?

sotise said...



Anonymous said...

Re-up please? Thanks.

onxidlib said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you onxidlib!

Nick said...

More Alan Davie cover art to come.

bernizz said...

Hi, great rare stuff. If someone knows German, there is a great biography about Tony Oxley: Fourth quarter of the Triad, by Ulrich Kurth.

brian said...

and that one... working! thanks!