Morris Pert: Composer, percussionist and member of Brand X

Throughout the 1970s and most of the '80s, Morris Pert was an in-demand session musician, adding an array of percussion instruments – conga, gong, marimba, tambourine, timbales, timpani, Vibraphone – to big-selling albums by Bryan Ferry, Judie Tzuke, Nick Heyward, Elvis Costello and Elkie Brooks. Pert's contributions particularly enhanced the more recherché output of percussive-minded artists like Mike Oldfield, John Martyn, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Talk Talk.

Still, he is probably best known for his association with Brand X, the formidable jazz fusion group featuring the Genesis drummer and vocalist Phil Collins, and his participation in the recording of their albums Moroccan Roll (an unlikely Top 40 album in 1977), Livestock (also 1977), Masques (1978), Product (1979) and the collection of out-takes, Do They Hurt? (1980).

The classically trained musician also played piano and other key-boards; his symphonies drew on lifelong interests in mythology, astronomy and cosmology. His first, The Rising of the Moon, was premiered in Tokyo in 1981. The Beltane Rites, was commissioned by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The Ancient Kindred was premiered by the Munich Opera Orchestra in 1980. He had recently completed a fourth, De Situ Albanie.

Born in Arbroath in 1947, Pert studied music at Edinburgh University. After graduating he was awarded a scholarship to study composition and percussion at the Royal Academy in London. He was taught by James Blades and Alan Bush and made a strong impression with a 20-minute orchestral work Xumbu-Ata, which won the 1970 Royal Philharmonic Society Award. At the Aldeburgh Festival, he saw Stomu Yamash'ta perform and struck up a friendship with the virtuoso Japanese percussionist and composer. Kindred spirits keen to merge jazz, rock and avant-garde music, they collaborated on Yamash'ta's Red Buddha Theatre and Come to the Edge projects, particularly the Floating Music album issued on Island Records in 1972 (subsequently used as part of the soundtrack of The Man Who Fell to Earth, the 1976 Nicolas Roeg film starring David Bowie).

The following year Pert formed jazz-fusion group Suntreader and em-barked on a career as one of Britain's foremost percussionists. He proved adept at crossover ventures such as the New Symphonia live album (1974), the quirky Quantum Jump and Isotope, which brought him into contact with keyboard-player Robin Lumley.

Collins, Lumley, guitarist John Goodsall and bassist Percy Jones drafted Pert into Brand X in September 1976, three months after their debut Unorthodox Behaviour. Pert composed half of the Masques album and toured with Brand X in 1978 but left the next year. As well as recording the albums Ommadawn, QE2, Platinum, Five Miles Out and the soundtrack to Roland Joffé's The Killing Fields with Oldfield, Pert co-wrote "Family Man", the Oldfield single which was also a hit for Hall & Oates.

While compositions like "Sirian Blue" showcased a certain edginess, Pert's own albums – The Voyage, The Music of Stars and Desert Dances – often had the same bucolic serenity and fluid, other-worldly quality as Oldfield's, and mirrored his gentle, thoughtful, self-effacing personality.

In the early 1980s his Ancient Rites (Nine Incantations from the Hebridean Isles) for choir and strings was performed by the John Currie Singers and Orchestra. Pert blurred the lines between contemporary classical and chamber music, electronics, ambient music and free jazz. He enjoyed mixing pre-recorded tapes and live instruments to create groundbreaking works such as Continuum, an electronic ballet score for the London Contemporary Dance Theatre at Sadler's Wells, Chromosphere, Luminos, Eoastrion, The Ultimate Decay, The Book of Love and Ankh, which used the carnyx – an ancient Celtic warhorn – and premiered in Tromso, Norway in 2004.

Pierre Perrone



Morris David Brough Pert, composer, percussionist, pianist: born Arbroath, Scotland 8 September 1947; died Sutherland, Scotland 27 April 2010.

Suggested Topics
Sport
Lionel Messi pictured after reaching the final
world cup 2014
Sport
Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?