30 March 2009

John Stevens at the Plough, Stockwell, London 1977

Following the previous John Stevens posting, here is a live set recorded at the Plough, Stockwell, London. The actual date is not entirely certain. The available info indicates it was recorded on 9 December, but it is uncertain whether it was 1977 or 1979. The pic is from the backside of another Stevens album which was recorded there in February 1978, so circumstantial evidence might point to 1977.

This is a quartet recording with the following line-up:

John Stevens Drums
Allan Holdsworth Guitar
John Taylor Piano
Jeff Clyne Bass

Two long pieces, nominally in the jazz fusion bag, but with much more fire and liveliness than what may be expected from that genre. Stevens himself is on overdrive through the entire set, overpowering the other three in the louder passages. I can't discern any specific tunes here, so the whole thing does sound like a fairly loose jam, but with some inspired playing from all concerned. Taylor is on electric piano, Clyne on acoustic bass and Holdsworth on electric guitar, of course. Listening to the entire set, it is a demonstration of the mastery of Stevens' drumming, ear very much attuned to what's going on and another proof that he was not in any way confined to the chamber intimacy of the SME.

Sound quality is fair to middle, so I've taken the liberty of scaling it down to a high-quality mp3, but not much is lost in the process, at least not to these battered ears. Seeded by "kinebee", so thanks for making this fine nugget available for the Stevens aficionadas.

There was a request for some more Holdsworth from Fent99 in the comments section to a previous post, so here is a set recorded for BBC. Basic info:

" Jazz In Britain "
London, UK
October 20, 1981

6. Announcer Intro
7. White Line
8. Shallow Sea ( Excerpt )
9. Where Is One ?
10. Prayer / Drifting Into The Attack
11. Letters Of Marque
12. Announcer Closing Comments

Allan Holdsworth - Guitar
Paul Carmichael - Bass
Gary Husband - Drums & Piano

This is a more subdued set, which is not surprising considering the absence of Stevens, and a more structured one as well with a small series of Holdworth compositions. Listeners may argue what is the best set of the two. I think Holdsworth would go for the second, though I am inclined to go for the first, but that's just me. This was seeded by "dabrooks" so thanks for this little relic from the past.

More Stevens coming up later, so stay tuned ...


kinabalu said...



fent99 said...

Excellent, thanks!

rvd said...

hi and thank you so much for both of your john stevens files. i never saw these before, but they reminded me of my own collection. to express my gratitude i uploaded "4,4,4," for you and everybody else interested in this very special musician. if you can find the time please visit my blog spurensicherung for some more.

thank you again
all the best

kinabalu said...


thanks for the Stevens on your blog. I'm planning to post more Stevens from the 70s, partly released on German labels. Some of it has been rereleased on Konnex, I think, but i'm not sure of its general availability.

Some fine Kraut specimens on your blog, I must say. I saw Faust in its latest incarnation a week or so ago, and they're still going strong with Zappi Diermaier and Jean Hervé Peron from the old group and with three "second generation" members, all from the UK. Two hours of fun time, with the obligatory "Krautrock" as the final, final tune. I did record portions of it on my mobile, but the sound is not good enough for general distribution, so I'll keep it as a private token of having been there.

Pics here:



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Kate Smith

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Geneva Community Radio said...

Hello. I found this post a bit too late, and the file has long been delted from Rapidshare. Being a fan of both fusion and free improv, this sounds like a great session. I'd love to hear it and add it to my collection. If anyone out there still has the John Stevens portion of the post, I would appreciate a re-upload, please. Many thanks in advance. It would be very appreciated.

All the best,
Jason Longwell
Host of the radio program Jazz Progressions

Anonymous said...

does someone still have the file and can rep it?