Jazz Cafe London England
Just nine days before stepping onto the stage with Bill Bruford and Tony Levin, Trey Gunn and Robert Fripp had been recording ProjeKct Two’s Space Groove with Adrian Belew - a double album with Ade playing drums! It was an exciting time to be a Crimson fan given the liberating and exploratory nature of the ProjeKcts venture.

The four nights at the Jazz Café provided a great opportunity for UK fans and those from further abroad to see the second ProjeKct attempting to work its way out KC’s creative stalemate.

Perhaps the most different-sounding of the ProjeKcts on account of Bill’s acoustic drums presence and jazzy inclinations, it’s Bruford who often provides the shape of many of the improvisations. 1i2 charts a shifting line between rock and jazz made all the more porous thanks to Fripp’s use of an Hammond organ-like setting and the mournful tones of Levin’s bowed bass.

As many observers commented at the time, Gunn’s contributions are revelatory. Whilst the meaning of the “Bite Me Bagel Boy” message that ran across the display screen of his rig may have caused heads to be scratched, there was nothing enigmatic or obscure about Gunn’s playing on this or any other of the nights – check out the buzz-saw solo on 1i3.

Of course it doesn’t always work. Not everything that starts off leads to a satisfactory resolution and sometimes the choices made on the fly turn out to be the wrong ones. Yet for every moment that clunks and falls to the fall unloved and unwanted, there are many more to carry the listener aloft.

AUDIO SOURCE: Adat Multi-Track



1 i 1
1 i 2
1 i 3
1 i 4
1 i 5
1 i 6
1 ii 1
1 ii 2
1 ii 3
1 ii 4
1 ii 5
1 ii 6
1 ii 7

P119971201London - Simon Calkin


Written by Andrew Thomas
Excitement, uncertainty, inspiration, frustration
The first night of ProjeKct One, the beginning of an exploration, and it's...well, it's a beginning. The first night is tentative, probing, tantalizing, but it's not a confident dive right in. The opening minutes set some wonderful expectations, but 1 i 2 and 1 i 3 struggle to take flight. The atmosphere and tonal directions are there, but the string players aren't in sync yet and some of Bruford's jazzier fills are making it hard for them to find a groove. So they back off and get ambient with it. They spend the next segment probing around, almost purely exploring the space they're in, and when they lock back in to a more aggressive pulse on 1 i 6, they're together now, and the P1 experiment really begins to take shape. As the roiling bassline begins the second set, they're able to lock in immediately. The tightness doesn't last as long as you'd like - they lose the thread a bit and retreat again into ambient territory, but they're better at it this time around. Gunn really takes charge on 1 ii 5 with some great high-end soloing, forging a new role for himself in the larger Crimson as he goes along. Bruford isn't really in step with the others on this night - he's never uninteresting, but many of his early attempts to take charge don't really work out, though he gets stronger as the night progresses. 1 ii 6 is a wonderful Bruford-driven stomper, and a nice example of how good this peculiar beast could get when it all came together. 1 ii 7 ends things with a slow tease of what would become the Frying Pan riff, a brooding excursion that brings a sinister end to the night. Is the first P1 show a success? On one hand, hell no, but on another hand, absolutely. Of the four ProjeKcts from this time period, P1 is the one that most defies an attempt to compile a "best of" compilation. "Live At The Jazz Cafe" from the ProjeKcts box is a suitable sampler, but it's not a great representation. The best way to experience P1 is to get the bundle and work through it in order, because the moments of uncertainty and unfocus are just as important as the ones that work well. This night is short on instant-classic improvs, but you get to hear the musicians finding their footing in real-time, responding to what isn't working and trying to seize upon the moments that do, and that's what makes this show worth acquiring.
Written by William Jenks
Night 1: A bit noodly, but still interesting.
Two quick remarks: (1) If you are a Bruford fan, there is a lot of Brufordism in this show for you to enjoy. Not fancy all the time, but unmistakeable and inventive; (2) Levin (I assume) plays some stuff way,way down low that is fun to really hear, so this is best heard on nice speakers or good headphones that can play 20-40 Hz. The first few tracks here are more "noodly" than my favorites (improvised or not). They are seeking direction and just playing something, or at least that's how it feels to me. Yes, of course there are some great moments. However, toward the end of the first set, we start to get more consistently fun stuff. Set ii opens the same way, with 1ii1 having some great coordinated guitar lines and some great base work. Tune 2ii1 brings us some of those "electronic marimbas" (pseudorimbas?) over soundscaping before going elsewhere. 3ii1 is also interesting – the "instruments" include some kind of digitized vocal work, and there are hints of Marley's "Get Up Stand Up" (whether intentional or not) near the 5 minute mark. 1ii6 steps off the edge from time to time, but also brings some very familiar phrases to go along with the pseudorimba work. 1ii7 has its own spots of brilliance and range as well. Overall, an excellent show.
Written by Christopher DeVito
Jazz Cafe 12/01/97
The ProjeKcts were presented as "research and development" arms of King Crimson, but I quickly found that I had no interest in listening to them on those terms. Instead, I simply listen to each ProjeKct on its own terms, as a musical end in itself. The ProjeKcts were primarily improvising groups; this means the tunes don’t always (or even often) lead to a "proper" resolution, or follow the rules of composition -- or even "good taste" (the enemy of art). This is a positive attribute. ProjeKct One feels, to me, like the most fully realized of the ProjeKcts. I think that each of the eight sets played and recorded over this four-night gig is a great album in itself and the whole thing would make a great eight-disc box set. (Actually I made my own 12-disc set, adding an 80-minute "best of" disc for each night.) Set one of the first night has a spacious, loose feel to it. There’s a wide variety of textures and moods to this music; I never get bored listening to it. For me, the sound of Bruford’s acoustic drums is a perfect complement and contrast to the electronic instruments. All of the improvs in this set are small gems, and combined the set has the effect of being a coherent whole that’s somehow greater than the sum of the parts. Maybe it’s the way 1i5 (which I call "Bomp--Bomp--Bomp" -- I’m not really comfortable with numbers as titles) melts into 1i6 (aka "Night Drive") and Levin’s funk-flamenco bass solo, before settling into a patented Levin groove. Gunn takes a great solo on this one. Set two starts off with a monstrous Levin fuzz bass groove (1ii1, or "The Grunch"). The guitars join in, Bruford lays down a beat, and the tune settles into some midtempo heavy-metal atmospheres. Gunn takes a particularly intense solo while Fripp supports with organ chords, then solos as the rhythm becomes choppy and nervous, eventually breaking down. Fripp opens things up with some Soundscape chimes to start the next improv, which meanders down some interesting paths in no particular hurry. The rest of set two continues to provide varied textures, rhythms, and tempos. 1ii3 (or, "Man Jogging in Luminescent Fog at Dawn through Bladerunner Landscape") is an irresistible groover, with an intense solo from Gunn, a galloping rhythm from Levin and Brubord, and soundscapes from Fripp holding it all together. This flows into a slow, stately tempo (1ii4, or "Swan") with some beautiful Fripp guitar playing swooping over and around and through the music. The rest of the set continues to move through varied territory, from Gunn and Fripp melodies over slow soundscapes to exaggeratedly abstract, almost THRAK-ish blues-rock, with vibes along the way (real ones from Bruford, who drops a stick for comedy, and digital vibes from Fripp). The set closer (1ii7, or "MenaceScapes") builds a cathedral of leaded-glass guitar lines from Gunn and Fripp. P1 was a great band, and we’re lucky all four nights at the Jazz Cafe were recorded, since the group was a one-off. If you have any appreciation for the improvising side of Crimson, I think you’ll really like ProjeKct One (and all the other ProjeKcts). --Chris DeVito
Written by Dan Summers
10 years ago tonight
Tonight, 1 December 2007, is the 10 year anniversary of the first ProjeKct One show at the Jazz Cafe. I’m going to play the CD download tonight in it’s honor [as with the other nights the next few days].