Downes, Bob - It's A Mystery
21-ReR BDOM 01
Downes is a reed player (saxes and flutes) who is most often thought of as a jazz flautist, composer and group leader, but throughout his varied career that has included such diverse musical activity as working with the John Barry Seven and playing on Egg’s second LP.
He also had his own fluid conceptual group “Open Music”. Until very recent releases on the Esoteric and Reel labels, he was pretty much a forgotten figure of Brit-jazz. And now he has a cool collection on ReR. His work tends to have a lot of space in the music.
"Bob Downes was a name you'd see everywhere in the late '60s/early '70s - always up to his neck in something interesting and experimental.
Last year I tracked down a composition of his for Alphorns for the Probes series (it will be in No. 22) and a few months later he sent me an unreleased recording of his 1970 Dream Journey, a great dance composition that speaks volumes about the general musical climate of the time (it's for 3 percussionists, two flautists, saxophone, trumpet and bass).
I asked if there were more and we soon shuffled this compilation together, which covers a lot of ground: from solo to 65-piece wind band, recording experiments to library music and the years 1970 to 2004. And, of course, Alphorns.
Several tracks feature the legendary John Stevens, classical percussionist Derek Hogg and bassist Daryl Runswick. It's constantly engaging, inventive and a pleasure to listen to; and it's also a fascinating window onto a (sadly) vanished aesthetic."-Chris Cutler