Wednesday, October 7, 2015

BOB DOWNES – Open Music (LP-1970)




Label: Philips – SBL 7922, 844 253 BY
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: UK / Released: 1970
Style: Free Jazz, Avant-Garde, Jazz-Rock
Recorded at PHILIPS studio, 1969, England.
Design [Sleeve] – Phil Duffy
Engineer – Roger T. Wake
Liner Notes – Richard Williams
Producer – Wendy Benka

A - Dream Journey ........................................................................................ 21:59
      (composed as the score to Ballet Rambert's "Blind Sight")
        baritone saxophone – John Warren
        flute – Jim Gregory
        performer [acetate paper] – Bob Downes
        tenor saxophone – Clive Stevens
        trombone – Chris Pine
        trumpet – Butch Hudson, Henry Lowther, Nigel Carter
        timpani, vibraphone, tam-tam [large], finger cymbals – Derek Hogg
        tam-tam – Dennis Smith
B1 - Birth Of A Forest ..................................................................................... 5:25
B2 - Integration .............................................................................................. 0:23
B3 - Contact ................................................................................................... 0:45
B4 - Ghosts In Space ..................................................................................... 8:14
B5 - Desert Haze ........................................................................................... 4:55
B6 - Electric City ............................................................................................. 6:28

Bob Downes – alto sax, flute [alto, bamboo], concert flute, tenor sax, 
                         saxophone [mouthpieces], bells [Chinese]
Chris Spedding – guitar
Harry Miller – bass, bass buitar
Dennis Smith – drums, percussion
John Stevens – drums, percussion

All the music was composed and arranged by Bob Downes.

Bob Downes and Ray Russell

Open Music was Bob Downes' debut album, recorded for the Philips label in 1969 (released 1970) and his impact on the UK scene was such that he was voted top place in the flute category of the Melody Maker jazz poll's British musician section for three consecutive years from 1972. This rare vinyl copies have attracted high sums in second-hand markets. Although Downes is best known for his flute playing, he is a genuine multi-instrumentalist, playing no fewer than seven instruments on this album, including the less conventional, acetate paper.

The recording's centerpiece is "Dream Journey." The piece — which received its premiere by Ballet Rambert on November 27, 1969 in London—runs just over twenty minutes. Divided into two parts, the first eleven minutes of the track are devoted to flute and percussion, with special emphasis on the sporadic, dramatic interspersions of timpani. The whole piece is very cinematic and reflects music of a more classical nature, but the second half is considerably more jazz informed. The ensemble sax sections are dynamically engaging, underpinned by acoustic bass and drums building to repeated crescendos with Downes providing an exciting flute solo.

The next five tracks are either solo flute, flute and drums, or flute, drums, and bass. These largely improvised tracks are predominantly quiet, ruminative pieces dominated by Downes' intricate flute. However, "Ghosts in Space" is more structured with a strangely hypnotic head defined by flute, arco bass, and drums, while the middle collective improvisation section is enlivened by Downes screaming in the noisier parts. The final track, "Electric City" which was to give its name to a succeeding album, recorded by Downes for Vertigo (1970), is effectively a jazz-rock piece. Again, Downes inserts some scat singing—or more accurately, shouting—all against a backdrop of ostinato bass guitar, Chris Spedding's unmistakable guitar work, and wild multi-tracked saxophones, all conjuring up an exciting mêlée of sound. This album surely explains Downes high-ranking in the Melody Maker polls. Open Music is an unusual and innovative collection of flute mastery.


Very rare LP UK pressing ORIGINAL PHILIPS / Stereo / SBL 7922 / 1970   
Matrix - Side 1:  844253 1Y/3 420  /  Side 2:  844253 2Y/3 420

Bob Downes was a well-known "studio rat" or a "session man" that played on many 60's records, from MANFRED MANN to ANDWELLA'S DREAM (and later on EGG); and his fantastic flute was second to JETHRO TULL's Ian Anderson only. By the turn of the decade, he had decided to try his own luck and 1970 was a particularly fruitful year for him: 2 full solo album and one collaboration. Released on the legendary Vertigo swirl label, Electric City was a strange album between avant-garde jazz and hard rock. The album failed to sell and by the time Bob Downes was ready to record his second album, Phillips had demoted him to their "normal" label (only GRACIOUS suffered the same treatment). Actually "Open Music" came out as his more successful release and has been a collector item for years, now.

The same year, Bob Downes also released a wild album called "Deep Down Heavy" (and its spectacular artwork) with poet Robert Cockburn reading out his text, making another unusual record.

None of the three albums sold enough for Downes to keep trying out his solo stint. Comes then a gap where I guess he returned to studio sessions for the next couple of years, most likely appearing on avant-garde jazz albums. This in turn led him to be noticed by some Modern Artistic Dance companies and in 72, he was commissioned for two "dance" project. Forming his own trio OPEN MUSIC, named after his more successful album, "Diversion" proved an interesting release where jazz-rock alternated with free form music, while the catastrophic "Episodes At 4AM" (74), which was a Welsh project, filled with obtuse free-form music. The following year saw Downes release "Hell's Angels", then later "Dawn Dreams", "South American Journey" and "Inside Stonehenge", before taking a long break.

Bob Downes moved to the continent in the late 80's and is now currently based in Germany, and continues to perform as a solo artiste, playing during the execution of paintings and art exhibitions running flute workshops and releasing the odd album now and then, such as 93's "Dreams of Nature".

_written by Hugues Chantraine



If you find it, buy this album!

23 comments:

  1. BOB DOWNES – Open Music (LP-1970)
    Vinyl Rip/FLAC+Artwork

    1fichier:
    https://1fichier.com/?c5ixo4f7cg

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't seem to get Side A (first track) to work. Anyone else having this problem?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I checked the link, everything is fine. Probably something happened accidentally. Try again later.
      Regards.

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  3. Thanks Vitko! New to me. Always great to find different perspectives :)

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  4. as usual great stuff, never heard of bob downes. and i didn't know the ray russell record. i have others of ray russsells but not that one.. exciting.
    thanks robert

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  5. Who is this Downes ? I'm furiously impatient to hear him. Thanks a lot, Vitko.

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  6. Is it possible to get that from another downloader? Maybe Mediafire! This downloader is a real pain! Thanks anyway! keep the great work...

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  7. Thanks, but... It's not so bad to have a little more patience. I have invested a lot more, especially money, time, effort and love. So you do not have to download all at once. Two or three albums a day for serious listening are more than enough :)
    Cheers.

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  8. Thanks again for all the amazing work you are doing in here.

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  9. many thanks fot this vinyl rip!!

    I'm the owner of the blog El Jardin De Las Delicias Psicodelicas, I would like to share this vinyl rip in my blog, so i wonder if you give me license to share it?, I obviously gonna tag you as the original owner of the vinyl rip working and posting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ok, its done, I re posted the this material in my blog, obviously guiving you thnaks at the top of the post.

      thanks againg, and here is the psot if you want to see, cheers! :)

      http://delicias-psicodelicas.blogspot.com.ar/2016/12/bob-downes-open-music-1970.html

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    2. Very nice Jimi, your blog is highly interesting. For me it is a little inconvenient because of the Spanish language, but I get by somehow with google translate. If you find something more for you on my blog, feel free to use if you want.
      I wish you all the best and happy Christmas.
      Cheers!
      V

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  10. Hey Vikto, do you happen to have any other Bob Downes albums (except for Open Music, Electric City and Deep Down Heavy) ?
    I'm having a trouble finding any..

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    Replies
    1. http://bob-downes-openmusic.de.w013d96c.kasserver.com/index.php/en/shop

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  11. Alright ! Didn't saw that, thank you

    ReplyDelete