Wednesday, July 11, 2012

R.I.P Lol Coxhill (1932-2012)

Where to begin... I can't really say. I do remember the first time I read his name. It was WIRE magazine in 1999. and what I didn't realize then was that I would read his name in almost every issue for the next thirteen years. His name is associated with what a friend and I dubbed "WIRE Babies". Examples would be David S. Ware, Anthony Braxton, Derek Bailey, etc. The beautiful thing about these names is that I actually engaged myself enough as to grasp their importance on an intimate level, recognizing their relevance not because I was supposed to but because they spoke to me, because I felt their souls, and everything they did eventually made sense. The genius I'd read about was no longer esoteric but familiar.

The brilliant Lol Coxhill has passed away. His legacy will be appreciated forever by a small group of people that still hold improvisational music and forward thinking jazz dear to their hearts.

I've always been partial to sax players, particularly those that toyed with soprano. I am familiar with soprano sax due to Coltrane's occasional outing with it. A large chunk of my childhood was based on obsession with anything pertaining to Trane (Stravinsky, Astrology, sweet potato pie. etc.), so when I hear of any musician working in any sort of similar vein, I have to investigate. After reading an article on Coxhill, I gathered as much of his music as I could and plunged in. I discovered that he had played with a vast list of incredible artists which included Derek Bailey, Robert Wyatt, Mike Oldfield and even The Damned. He was a wild experimenter that never ceased to impress all who witnessed any given performance. I only wish I'd had the opportunity.


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