One of the founders of jazz-based free improvisation in the U.K., from 1963-1966 Oxley was one-third of Joseph Holbrooke, a pioneering group based in Sheffield that also included guitarist Derek Bailey and (then) bassist (later composer) Gavin Bryars. The group started out as a relatively conventional jazz outfit, but by 1965 it had begun playing totally improvised pieces. The group's relative isolation from other currents in British free music -- drummer John Stevens' London-based Spontaneous Music Ensemble was a contemporary -- purportedly helped the band develop a unique approach. After the members of the band moved to London in 1967, Oxley became house drummer at Ronnie Scott's, a famous mainstream jazz club. He also continued working in experimental contexts. After winning a reader's poll in the magazine Melody Maker, Oxley was ...
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