It takes a jazz connoisseur today to know about PAT SMYTHE QUARTET, the British foursome commanded by a piano player who, having served in Joe Harriott’s revolutionary ensemble and helped introduce free jazz the UK, gathered a band of his own yet didn’t leave a tangible recorded legacy, stemming mostly from 1967. That alone would be enough for fusion aficionados to focus on the recently released concert album which was recorded in 1973 and captures the then-50-years-old ivories driver in his prime – only there’s another reason to rivet one’s attention to “New Dawn”: the group’s line-up and repertoire involving members of SOFT MACHINE.

To be precise, the eight tracks on this disc got preserved for posterity in the summer of 1973 when drummer John Marshall had been playing in the Canterbury collective for more than a year, while guitarist Allan Holdsworth would join their ranks – thus, rounding off the "Bundles" quintet – in November. So what is here might be the first officially issued document of the two performing together, alongside contrabassist Daryl Runswick, freshly liberated from IF, and Smythe on piano and Fender Rhodes who came-up with four of the pieces on offer and co-penned one with Holdsworth, the composer of two more numbers, leaving “Casa Forte” to be the sole cover, by Edu Lobo, on display.

New Dawn: Live 1973

A thing of historic significance and aural beauty.

Salle Pleyel, Paris, France, July 27th:
1. Golden Lakes
2. Rank’s Vibe
3. Village Greene
4. Casa Forte
Festival de Jazz, Amphithéâtre, Châteauvallon, France, August 21st:
5. Floppy Hat
6. Waiting For The Walrus
7. New Dawn
8. British Rail

April 21, 2024

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