GARY WINDO – Steam Radio Tapes

Gonzo 2013

GARY WINDO - Steam Radio Tapes

GARY WINDO –
Steam Radio Tapes

Top brass has a ball in the company of kindred merry pranksters including members of SOFT MACHINE and PINK FLOYD.

Intrepid in a live situation, be it with Chris McGregor’s BROTHERHOOD OF BREATH or Keith Tippett’s CENTIPEDE, who he toured with in mid-’70s, Gary Windo didn’t think much of a solo career, which began with 1983’s "Dogface" but wasn’t to last, as the saxophonist died in 1992. Windo surely didn’t plan to record an album when, in 1976, Nick Mason invited him for a jam with some friends with a prospect to test Britannia Row Studios that PINK FLOYD had just built in London and that Gary’s motley coterie kept on visiting over the course of the next two years. Yet tapes were rolling, and the most memorable moments of those sessions, largely unheard before, make a nice collection.

Improvisatory in nature it might have been, especially “Stand Fast” that pairs Mason with Peter Van Hooke in drumming department and Windo’s sax with Harry Beckett’s flugelhorn, but all the originals on offer are finely structured, although it would take the reedsman more than a decade to polish “Ginkie,” gleefully tempered here, and “Sweetest Angel,” and put them out on "Deep Water", the latter as not-so-playful “Blonde Country.” Much less inventiveness went into the soulful burn of “Is This The Time?” with Robert Wyatt on vocals and into standards: traditional “Red River Valley” and Jimmy Forrest’s “Night Train,” a slab of good-time boogie oiled with Mike Hugg’s clavinet. Still, there’s a grace in “Come Into My Garden” – voiced by Terri Quaye and given a funk drive by Steve Hillage’s guitar jive and Hugh Hopper’s bass bubble – and in “Letting Go” wherein Julie Tippetts pours emotion.

The result, and impression, is more cohesive than one could imagine given the sessions’ character, much more than a sum of their parts. It’s steaming, indeed.

****

January 18, 2015

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