SME – Challange

Apr.09, 2012


THE SME – Challange, Eyemark EMPL 1002, 33 1/3 rpm (UK), 1966


Very very rare UK LP


Another holy grail of british free music — the very first Spontaneuos Music Ensemble  (SME) record. And what a debut record! This is music that is in search of something… and it does find it. A music trying to define the rules, to define the music…. But always exploring and making research.

Few records has this amazing collision / conflict  of two different genres. On one hand it is free jazz,  inspired by their US collegues Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Cecil Taylor… on the other hand this is the very starting point of something very new.

There is only a handful records made from this time that reflects this ”conflict” and this might be the most important one.

This ensemble was put together by the icon of british free improvised music, the teacher of them all:  drummer and improvisor John Stevens. Forming his first version of the SME . An ensemble that in such a remarkable way rewrote the whole history of music in the 60´s and 70´s.

But this rare piece of vinyl, with its remearkable constructive cover, is really one of the most important starting points of what to come.

And it SWINGS!

A very young Kenny Wheeler is playing phrases that can cut canadian timber down and the mighty Trevor Watts is delivering something very very unique and totally mesmerazing – his alto is yet piercing, yet warmer then british bitters –  on top of that we have a young Paul Rutherford (who later formed ISKRA together with Barry Guy and Derek Bailey) blowing  like no one else.

This is not just a document. This is another British CLASSIC!


John Stevens – drums

Kenny Wheeler – flugel horn

Paul Rutherford – trombone

Trevor Watts – alto and soprano sax

Bruce Cale – bass

Jeff Clyne – bass