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Whatmusic.com presents bassist Graham Collier's debut LP 'Deep Dark Blue Centre' originally released in 1967. Collier's compositions are fully realised by a Septet of emerging British jazz luminaries through a set including the much-loved 'Crumblin' Cookie'.With 5 original compositions and Charlie Mariano's 'Blue Walls', this LP mixes progressive modality with a 'blue' timeless jazz essence.
  • Reissued on vinyl for the 1st time in 34 years
  • Features Kenny Wheeler, Mike Gibbs & Harry Beckett
  • Liner notes by Graham Collier
  • Digitally Remastered
  • "A most noteworthy addition to the growing number of really worthwhile British LPs". -The Sunday Times

Check the 30 second clips from the album...

The whatmusic.com interview...

Deep Dark Blue Centre Re-Centred

Deep Dark Blue Centre was my very first record, released in 1967. Trying to cast my mind back more than 30 years to the recording sessions that produced this LP produces some vague memories of studio settings and musicians' performances, but quite possibly that was another record altogether. Looking at scrapbooks of old pictures and reviews, I get some sense of what it was like then, but as one musician's wife said recently about a photograph of one of my early bands: "didn't you all look young". Well, we were young. Not precociously so, but, in our 20s and 30s, experienced enough to know what worked and what didn't, and young enough to want to try some new things rather than copying our elders. (This period of British jazz is covered in detail by John Wickes in his excellent book Innovations in British Jazz, Volume One, 1960-1980. Soundworld Publishers, UK, 1999).

Because DDBC was the first album I made, it does have some historical resonance for me. There were, I'm pleased to say, some good reviews, and they helped us find gigs and fans. The favourable reviews of the CD reissue in 2000 suggest also that we must, as the saying goes, have been doing something right.

What the something was has become clearer over the years. I'm now living in southern Spain, approaching what society calls retiring age. Given the creativity of musicians now in their 70s such as Max Roach, Cecil Taylor, Sonny Rollins and George Russell, one would feel ashamed if one actually did quit. Like them, I have no intention of doing so. In fact, again like them, many new and interesting things seem to be on offer at this stage of my life. And in most of those things there is a direct relationship with what we did on Deep Dark Blue Centre.

I was extremely lucky to discover what I consider to be some of the truths of jazz fairly young. These are not found in particular styles or orchestration techniques, but in the actual creative processes used by the musicians. What Duke Ellington demonstrated above all is not shown in exactly where he placed the baritone sax in the midst of his trombones. (Although this sort of knowledge will be of some interest to music students, I'm tempted to respond with Duke's phrase "too much talk stinks up the place".) No, Duke's great influence was in how he drew out and used the individuality of his musicians. Like him, I've been blessed to have worked with great musicians all my working life. As a jazz composer, I need them to add their voices to what I have written before the piece can come alive. This is as true of the pieces on Deep Dark Blue Centre as it is of everything I have performed since.

The second jazz truth (to my mind, at least) is that good jazz needs to possess a sense of musical space. As cited on the original liner notes, you can hear this in the work of Gil Evans, one of my great influences, of course, and in most of Miles Davis's output, the prime example being Kind of Blue. Whatever vision I have as a jazz composer is rooted in this sense of space and can be seen in the compositions on this LP as well as in my subsequent output.

Despite the reference to my awareness of this aspect of jazz in the notes to the original LP, much of the realisation that I was creating a language and that this was "what we were doing right" with the first record came much later. With maturity one starts to articulate what one did almost intuitively when we were younger. However, what maturity doesn't solve for me is the "Did I really write that?" syndrome. I guess I did write all the tunes on this LP, except for Charlie Mariano's brilliant tune Blue Walls, but, like my other music, some written only a month or so ago, I can't remember any of the actual writing process. As the novelist Conrad Aiken said: "I now look back on the curious process with pure astonishment… it wasn't me that wrote it but an invisible company of tiny visiting firemen."

Happily, the music and the credits are still there. As indeed are all the musicians involved in this record. Nowadays, although we may have re-defined our individual goals, we are still concerned, as we were as young musicians, with the day-to-day problems of making good music. Whether some of what we are doing today will be considered worthy of reissue in 30 or so years time will be one possible test of whether we are still doing it right.

Graham Collier, Ronda, Spain December 2001

Graham Collier is the co-founder of and contributor to Jazz Continuum. www.jazzcontinuum.com

Digitally remastered by by Marc Doutrepont 1999

© 2002 whatmusic.com

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