Graham Collier

The Day of the Dead/October Ferry/Symphony of Scorpions/Forest Path to the Spring

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Great Britain's BGO label continues its ambitious reissue of bassist/composer/arranger Graham Collier's works with this fourth volume of recordings cut between 1976 and 1978, all inspired by, and/or based upon, works by author Malcolm Lowry. Disc one contains Collier's extended The Day of the Dead suite, which is over 70 minutes in length. It contains read passages from Under the Volcano as well as Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend Is Laid, read beautifully by John Carbery. The music, which is by turns impressionistic and expressionistic, leaves room for short periods of improvisation; it is performed by an ensemble that includes Collier, Alan Wakeman, Roger Dean, Mike Page, Harry Beckett, and Peter Duncan. Disc two contains the truly strange long-form Canterbury-influenced jazz-rock work "October Ferry," which was also on the original The Day of the Dead LP, based on the author's October Ferry from Gabriola, but with no narration. The remainder contains Collier's glorious "Symphony of Scorpions," relating to The Day of the Dead. Played by Collier's working ensemble (Beckett, Henry Lowther, Dean, and Art Themen), it may be called a "symphony," simply because of the unification of theme and relational harmonic ideas -- in other words, it's as loose and shambolic as Lowry's writings. The set ends with the lovely, brief "Forest Path to the Spring," based upon a Lowry poem, played by the same group according to a closely defined chart by Collier. The sound here is greatly improved from the Disconforme editions of these works from 2001, and these sets were approved by Collier before his death in 2011.

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