TIPPETT DOWN UNDER
Posted by Sid Smith on Dec 6, 2016

Keith Tippett, whose work with King Crimson included In The Wake Of Poseidon, Lizard and Islands, has been enjoying a residency in Australia. In addition to some solo performances, Tippett has been working with the State Theatre of Western Australia for a one-off show.

It marks the end of a busy year for the UK-based pianist and composer which saw the release of two major albums. Mujician Solo IV - Live In Piacenza captures an outstanding 2012 solo performance, of which The Guardian said, “Even the improv-averse might be astonished by the romanticism of this remarkable gig.”

A different aspect of his work is presented via the Keith Tippett Octet’s, The Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon, a suite of nine tunes partly inspired by Irish folk music. The album is available from Discus Records and other online retailers.


Aside from the pianist’s connections to King Crimson in the 1970s, Robert Fripp also produced a number of Tippett albums, perhaps notably Centipede's epic double album, Septober Energy. However one Fripp-produced album, involving Tippett, reported in the press at the time but never released, was Guilty But Insane. Led by trombonist Nick Evans (Lizard) and cornet player, Mark Charig (Lizard,Islands and Red),Keith Tippett was joined by bassist Harry Miller (Islands) Blue Notes bassist Johnny Dyani, drummer Keith Bailey and trombonist Paul Nieman.

Recorded just a few days before embarking on the final American tour with the Islands-era King Crimson in February 1972, Fripp was back at Command Studios, acting as ‘safe pair of ears’ according to Tippett, overseeing production of some of the very best players of the UK jazz scene.


This double quartet worked both as a large ensemble and in smaller combinations with Miller and Dyani as the only constants in each permutation. Although initially given the go-ahead by Ronnie Scott Productions, the resulting double album was declined and the master tapes ultilised on another Ronnie Scott-related project. Amazingly, thirty-six years after they were thought to be lost forever, Nick Evans found a rough stereo mix of what would have been sides two and four of Guilty But Insane.  With sides one and three still missing in 2009 the remaining sessions were released by Reel Recordings, retitled Curiosities 1972 by a line-up now dubbed, Command All Stars.  



Although now out of print the album stands as another fascinating moment when the worlds of Crimson and collective improvisation frequently collided.

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