Tony Oxley - A Birthday Tribute: 75 Years (5 stars)

Tony Oxley - A Birthday Tribute: 75 Years

Celebration of British free-jazz drummer features 1993 and 1977 sessions with Derek Bailey


A gathering of archival live recordings to celebrate the 75th birthday of British free-jazz drummer Tony Oxley, this Incus release shows British free improvisation at its spiky, boundary-exploding best. The first set, from 1993, features Oxley on drums and percussion, the great Derek Bailey on guitar, Pat Thomas on keyboards and Matt Wand on sampler. Bailey is on powerful form, forming jagged chords and barbed-wire abstractions around Oxley's boom and clatter. Wand assembles and deconstructs a head-scratching array of test tones, tape spew and radio chatter, while Thomas conjures a demented insect ballet around the top of his keyboard. A riveting session. The 1977 duet between Oxley and trombonist Paul Rutherford sounds like an extraterrestrial transmission, with the electronically treated horn emitting all manner of strange alien tongues, while Oxley's amplified kit sends out UFO blips and metallic space junk clangs. A mind-blowing trip to the outer limits.