IT'S A MYSTERY

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, saxophones, trumpets 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, 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
 
ReR MEGACORP records
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