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Shpincter Ensemble - Harrodian Event #1


Recorded in January 1972, this rare recording features a unique event where seven gifted Progressive musicians came together to record a session of unique experimental music. Keyboard player J. Peter Robinson (a member of Quatermass, later in Brand X), John Gustafson (Bass) had also been in Quatermass and would go on to play with Steve Hackett, Ian Gillan and Roxy Music), Martyn Ford had been an arranger for Barclay James Harvest before working with the major names in rock, Paul Buckmaster had worked with David Bowie, Third Ear Band and many more, whilst Trevor Morais would find fame in Quantum Jump and working with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. The music of the Harrodian Event touches on the styles later developed by artists such as Henry Cow or even Frank Zappa. It is experimental, unique and rewarding.

Tony Walmsley - guitar
Anode L. - organ / electric piano
J. Peter Robinson - electric piano / organ
John Gustafson - electric bass
Martyn Ford - french horn
Paul Buckmaster - electric cello
Trevor Morais - drums
John Cheers - drums


It could so easily have turned out disastrously – or, worse, it could merely have been a pointless, prolix, inspiration-vacuum of lacklustre tedium. Assembling a few mates for an informal jam on 2 January 1972, when the New Year hangover has passed beyond physical voiding and plunged headlong into the “existential dread” stage? Yes, good luck with that.

And yet, the result of this jam – or “event” – recorded at the Harrodian Club in Barnes, alluringly illustrates the potential for unbridled joy in spontaneously generated music. (It undoubtedly helped to have names such as Paul Buckmaster, Quatermass alumnus John Gustafson and Peddlers drummer Trevor Morais in the collective address book.) Herein, the seven players are clearly listening to each other – and the rapidity with which they pick up and tease out each other’s ideas (particularly on the watchful, free-jazz plain of Sylvan Interlude In A Petunia Patch) defies explanation.

It’s all the more impressive considering they started with a blank page, though even one pre-discussed melody line or chord progression to boot around, dissemble and/or reinstate might have taken this avant-jazz-funk bunfight to the next level. Nevertheless, there’s plenty to recommend here for, say, devotees of Henry Cow-style tumescence seasoned with vaporous organ spiracles a la Larry Young. (source)

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