Spontaneous Music Ensemble

Question And Answer 1966

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If there was one sound guaranteed to shock in British jazz during 1966 it was that of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, the free-improvising collective centred around drummer John Stevens which that year helped establish London’s Little Theatre Club as a stronghold of the ‘new wave’. Although the avant-garde were slow in gaining a toe-hold on British jazz tastes, every so often a grass roots jazz club would take a chance on the new style, such as the night in June 1966 when the SME alighted on Greenwich’s Prince Albert pub, eager to deliver their message to fresh ears. This CD set contains all the music played that night plus a 30 minute Q&A session, creating what must surely be one of the most important early documents of British ‘free’ jazz.

CD2 also adds a studio-taped session from later that year. Both sets are previously unissued and both are essential listening for those interested in the course of modern jazz development within the UK. 12 page booklet with notes by Simon Spillett. Personnel - CD1 & CD2 (1) – (4) Trevor Watts (alto sax); Paul Rutherford (trombone); Bruce Cale (bass); John Stevens (drums). June 22nd 1966, The Prince Albert, Greenwich, London. CD2 (5) – (8) Trevor Watts (alto sax); Bruce Cale (bass); John Stevens (drums, glockenspiel*). August 30th 1966, Unknown Studio, London. 


1. Unknown Title
2. Give Me That Old Time Perversion
3. You Can Be Happy
4. Judy’s Smile
5. Questions And Answers

1. Themeless Improvisation
2. Chant
3. Little Red Head
4. Day of Reckoning
5. Judy’s Smile
6. Unknown Title
7. Bruce’s Departure
8. Peaceful Farewell