ELTON DEAN & MARK HEWINS - Bar Torque (CD)

from MoonJune Records

MARK HEWINS - Sampler, Guitar Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar
ELTON DEAN - Saxello, Alto Saxophone

Recorded live at London Jazz Café, November 1992
Released on MoonJune Records in 2001

Last 20 copies available!

This CD presents an improvised duo setting with guitarist Mark Hewins, a longtime partner with a remarkable talent for atmospheric accompaniment. The music on this release focus-es on the most lyrical' dimension of Dean's saxophone playing, with melodic outbursts inspired by and buoyed upon Hewins' delicate, dreamy, harmonic foundation. The aural path treaded by this uncanny pair of musicians is playful, unpredictable, and thoroughly original. Abstract but not amorphous, "Bar Torque" is improvisation at its most touching and universal. This will appeal to fans of alternative rock/pop (Radiohead followers take special note), electronica, experimental and otherwise esoteric styles, and, of course, jazz and progressive rock.

About the Artist
Elton Dean and Mark Hewins have known each other since the late 1970's, when both gravitated around the same circle of improvising musicians on the London jazz scene. Their first collaboration of note was the group Soft Heap, alongside John Greaves and Pip Pyle, a fully improvisatory outfit which toured Europe extensively between 1981-88. Very often Dean and Hewins would open the performance with a duo. Since then, they have kept playing together, and their gig at London's Jazz Café in November 1992 was preserved for posterity and, following minimal editing, has become "Bar Torque".

Elton Dean first came to prominence in 1969 as a member of the explosive Keith Tippett Group, a sextet of young players that made a stir on the London music scene by attempting to bridge the gap between jazz, rock and free music. Along with the rest of Tippett's brass section, Dean was then recruited by Soft Machine, who made a similar attempt coming from the other end of the spectrum. While continuing to work with Tippett, Dean recorded several landmark albums with Soft Machine between 1969-72, the studio efforts "Third", "4" and "5" and numerous live recordings and radio sessions. After leaving the Softs, Dean led his own ensembles - Just Us, Ninesense and various ED Quartets and Quintets - while keeping close ties with both Keith Tippett and the 'Canterbury' scene, from which the Softs originated. Formed in 1978, Soft Heap initially brought together ex-members of Soft Machine (Dean and Hugh Hopper), Gilgamesh (Alan Gowen) and Hatfield and the North (Pip Pyle).

Despite being ten years younger than Elton, Mark Hewins began playing professionally in the very early 1970s, at the tender age of 15, playing in various 'pub-rock' bands around London until his attention turned to the 'Canterbury scene' after a chance meeting with the members of Hatfield and the North. Moving to Kent in 1975, he worked with various Caravan musicians, then returned to London at the turn of the decade to immerse himself into jazz, leading his own ensembles and participating in various sessions and informal gigs. In 1981 he joined Soft Heap after pianist Alan Gowen suddenly died of leukaemia, and was instrumental in converting the band to the virtues of total improvisation. Since then, Hewins has pursued a varied career as producer, Midi consultant, session musician and collaborator with a wide range of artists in all possible genres. Most unique in this recording is Mark Hewins' inspired use of Midi guitar technology, which manages to remain organic while pushing the sonic envelope. Elton notes that Mark's guitar playing has enabled him to emphasize the more lyrical side of his playing.

Both Elton and Mark have worked extensively in duos before. In 1988, Elton released a whole tape of duos recorded with musicians such as Keith Tippett, Howard Riley and Marcio Mattos (it also included his first duo recording with Mark), and more recently a full set with fellow saxophonist Paul Dunmall. Among Mark's most notable duo collaborations were ones with pianist Steve Miller (undocumented as yet) and Hugh Hopper (the pair released a CD entitled Adreamor). As for the Dean-Hewins duo, it remains sporadically active; it was recently reactivated for a London club date in late April 2001, and there are plans for other performances and tours following the CD's release.

"Bar Torque" is a uniquely captivating document of two musicians spontaneously exchanging ideas and emotions in a spirit of total generosity towards each other and the listener. A CD that will surprise and delight the many fans of Elton Dean as well as introduce them to Mark Hewins, an injustly overlooked artist and catalyst on the British jazz and innovative music scene.

Includes unlimited streaming of It Must Be Jazz via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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MoonJune Records New York, New York

MOONJUNE RECORDS came into being in 2001. The focus of MoonJune is to discover and release music by artists from a variety of international settings -- The ongoing goal of MoonJune is to support music that transcends stylistic pigeon-holing, but operates within an evolutionary progressive musical continuum that explores boundaries of jazz, rock, avant, ethno, the unknown and anything in between. ... more

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