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By Uri Hornstein
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RIP - Lol Coxhill, 1932-2012

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A Darker Shade Of Blue

BIO by Ron Wynn
Famous for his unaccompanied, unorthodox concerts and albums, Lol Coxhill has an immediately identifiable soprano and sopranino style. He’s perhaps Steve Lacy’s prime rival in getting odd sounds out of the soprano with his wrenching, twisting, quirky solos. While Coxhill’s an accomplished saxophonist and can play conventional bebop, it’s his winding, flailing soprano and sopranino lines that make him stand out. He actually started playing more conservatively; Coxhill backed visiting American soul and blues vocalists in the ’60s, playing behind Rufus Thomas, Lowell Fulson, and Champion Jack Dupree. He worked with Stephen Miller’s group Delivery in 1969 and 1970, and played with them at the Berlin Music Festival. But his debut album, Ear of the Beholder, established a new direction for Coxhill. Since then, he’s worked with both bebop and free musicians, among them Chris McGregor, Trevor Watts, Bobby Wellins, and Company. Coxhill’s also played with such groups as the Recedents, Standard Conversions, and the Melody Four.

The two recordings offered up here today pays tribute to one of the distinctive horn players from the British free jazz scene, though much of his recorded material as a sideman was anything but free jazz. But you can’t blame a man for trying…

The first album is “Toverbal Sweet…Plus” which, for the most part, recorded in 1972 with Pierre Courbois and Jasper Van’t Hoff. The final track – “Toverbal Revisited” is solo amalgam of some of the themes from the previous eleven tracks recorded by Coxhill years later. Also, as an illustration of the point I made above regarding Coxhill’s guest spots on mainstream rock albums, listen to John Kongos’ tune “Tokoloshe Man” that features a delightfully angular solo by Coxhill at the end.

The second album is a single duo performance by Coxhill and guitarist Enzo Rocco recorded live at the All Frontiers Festival, Gandisca D’Isonzo, Italy on November 15, 2008.

All in all, a nice pair of musical bookends to pay homage to a great one we lost this week.


And, don’t forget Vitko’s post from a couple of days ago! Lol plays on that one too!

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Uri Hornstein

Read more at A Darker Shade Of Blue


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