14 December 2009

Amalgam - Play Blackwell & Higgins

Continuing with the Amalgam/Jeff Clyne-oriented posts, this was recorded after the "Prayer for Peace" we posted here before. After this recording, Amalgam was to head off in a more explicit fusion direction with a change in personnel with John Stevens vacating the drum chair and Jeff Clyne leaving the bass to others. Interestingly, Clyne became a member of Nucleus and in the mid-70s started his own fusion project under the name of Turning Point. Stevens himself started the band Away, but we'll get to all of that in due course.

Meanwhile, here they are all in tribute mode - to the drummers of the early Ornette Coleman combos and to Coleman himself, of course. In the liner notes, Watts credits the natural melody and the pure rhythm approach of Coleman and the influence both drummers had on the evolution of Stevens. This is not tribute by way of emulation, but by feel - by playing what's right in the given context. Only two tracks here, both recorded live with Stevens down in the steam room, the bassists plying lightly in the background and Watts up front with short bursts of melodic rhythm. Perhaps that is a key characteristic of Watts - the sense of rhythm - strongly explored in later years with his various percussive combos under the moniker of Moire music. Still active, I'm happy to say and just recorded for the Berlin-based Jazz Werkstatt label. Amalgam was a vehicle for the development of the more convential side of the duo's playing; the Spontaneous Music Ensemble another vehicle for going beyond the conventions. And Stevens is a thrill here - his stamina is just amazing!

1. Blackwell (Stevens). Live at Birmingham Arts Lab 23.3.1972
Trevor Watts - alto, John Stevens - drums, Ron Herman - bass
2. Higgins (Stevens) Live at Phoenix, London 24.1.1973
Trevor Watts - alto, John Stevens - drums, Jeff Clyne - bass

This is off a 2004 cd rerelease on FMR Records, originally issued in 1973 on the A label.

Recorded by Trevor Watts, re-mix by Dave Pickett and sleeve design by Margaret Richards


kinabalu said...






1009 said...

Thanks a lot! As cool as live recordings are, it's always nice to check out a proper studio album every now and again -- to hear a document the musicians expected to circulate as opposed to one that was expected to expire in the moment.

Anonymous said...

Thks¡ great album and great group.
Can you post , if you have it , WIPEOUT from this band?

kinabalu said...


actually, it IS a live album, though a legit one.


yes, I do have the cd reissue of Wipe Out, but I want to make sure that it's certifiably out of print before posting it here. I'm not entirely sure about that one.

angelito said...

I think is actually out of print but i´m not totally sure . If it´s out of print please post it , i´m looking for it for years also.

my best regards and thanks for all

sotise said...

thanks K, fantastic,... the fusion albums of theirs youreffer to , it has to be said are far from straight... keith rowe on guitar!!

Anonymous said...

A re-up of the great John Stevens would be greatly appreciated!

unitstructure said...

thank you.watts and stevens always make for interesting listening.

Anonymous said...

any chance of a re-up - need more Stevens

kinabalu said...

New link:


More Stevens coming up!

francisco santos said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks again - have to say one of my favourite gigs was at Bracknell late 70's with John Stevens Trevor Watts and Barry Guy - Wow