Lol Coxhill

Digswell Duets

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Most of the material on Digswell Duets (the side one/side two track titles) were released in 1979 by Random Radar Records. This reissue on Emanem adds over 30 minutes of extra material from the same sessions. Both LP and CD are split in two. The first half features a May 1978 concert by Lol Coxhill on soprano saxophone with Simon Emmerson manipulating his sound output electronically. This is one of the, if not the, first recordings of a saxophonist being processed in real time. Coxhill dialogues with his electronic ghost, interacting with Emmerson's manipulations (20 years later John Butcher and Phil Durrant would use the same technique, with much better technology, on Requests and Antisongs). The electronics are not intrusive at all, letting the saxophonist develop his mellow melodies. The extra track "First Encounter Part Two" and the original "Side One Part One" are both precious moments. The second half of the album is made of excerpts from a duo concert a few days later with pianist Veryan Weston. One of the first recordings from this long standing duo, this set suffers a little from poorer sound quality. The five original LP tracks are found in a different order among much unreleased material, all presented in sequence except for a couple of cuts. Halfway through, the listener has the surprise of finding himself into the Gershwins' "Embraceable You," which retrospectively gives a delicate jazzy flavor this whole half. Both players were in very good shape, but this recording pales in comparison to the duo's 1998 set Boundless.

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