Album: Clear Frame, Clear Frame (Continuity)

This first release on Charles Hayward’s Continuity label finds the former This Heat drummer involved in a series of absorbing improvisations with a select crew of free-jazz stylists: Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper, veteran sax eccentric Lol Coxhill, young vibes/steel pans innovator Orphy Robinson, and national treasure Robert Wyatt on cornet.

They’re like musical cartographers mapping changes in the terrain. The unhurried, reflective opener “Clean Slate” is typical, with rippling eddies of Robinson’s steel pans and Coxhill’s soprano sax riding the undulating rhythms.

Wyatt’s asthmatic cornet pairs well with Coxhill’s wheezing sax on “Tin Plate”, while elsewhere, Robinson’s vibes and Hayward’s percussion on the excellent “Better Late” recall Stomu Yamash’ta’s early-Seventies recordings.

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