Friday, January 6, 2012

Reflections on Keith Tippett's Ark, Fire! Orchestra & Stuff

13 days since Christmas Eve, the Christmas tree still looks great, not a needle on the floor.
Sitting by the kitchen table, writing some diary notes, looking out trough the window, the sky is all blue, it looks a bit cold outside, no snow, but a beautiful winter day in this normally rainy city.
The music that recently has been played is the 2LP version of Keith Tippett's Ark "Frames - Music for an Imaginary Film", a FANTASTIC album with as well FANTASTIC players (Keith Tippett, Stan Tracey, Elton Dean, Trevor Watts, Brian Smith, Larry Stabbins, Marc Charig, Henry Lowther, Dave Amis, Nick Evans, Maggie Nicols, Julie Tippetts, Steve Levin, Rod Skeaping, Phil Wachsmann, Geoffry Wharton, Alexandra Robbins, Tim Cramer, Peter Kowald, Harry Miller, Louis Moholy, Frank Perry - Homage to all of them!). Jazz (or "jazz?") composition can't be much better than this. It invites to improvisation and collective joy.
But the reflection goes: Why are there so few of them, these compositions for big ensembles? And I'm not talking Big Band jazz. Ok, it might be a matter of time, money and lots of grey hair (for the composer/director), but nevertheless, why are there so few of them?
Do I have any answer? Of course not.

Which brings me to next Fridays event at Fylkingen, Stockholm, where Fire! Orchestra will bring something to us. The core of Fire! (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling & Andreas Werlin) will lead (or maybe like Miles did, Directions by...) an ensemble of about 30 people coming from highly skilled improvisation, jazz, psych, etc scene of Sweden.
Where to put the expectations? Well, maybe a bit unfair to the involved (they're only humans, aren't they?), but the expactations might be a bit sky high, or at least close to the tree tops, the star of the Christmas tree, or where you put it yourself... Whatever it will be, I hope they record it.
And the two bums of Joxfield will be sitting there in the audience...



  1. Hi Oax!
    I loved this stuff. Do you happen to know if any of Tippett's Centipede recordings are still available? Now that's something I would REALLY like to hear again. :-)

  2. Hello ol' PP.
    Tippett's Centipede did only record/release one item, the 2LP/2CD Septober Energy.
    The 2CD can be bought for some reasonable price from a lot of places, the 2LP is rather expensive (eBay etc).
    If you just want to hear it I might be able to help you. Give me a sign at

  3. I heard it a long time ago, I was just wondering if it had ever made it to CD... I'll keep an eye out for it at the next Record Fair!