[The re-releases] may well prompt a serious reassessment of this important British artist, out of whom much of the most inventive latter-day British jazz, including that anarchic collective Loose Tubes, has emerged.
Brian Morton, The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD

Will hopefully garner his catalog the attention and the treatment that it deserves … Just as Mingus’ music was a workshop not only for fleshing out and expanding upon compositional ideas but also for sidemen to grow in the spotlight, so Collier’s music helped several of England’s prominent jazz voices to shape their sounds.
Bagatellen

From LP to CD
In 2000 and 2001 Disconforme reissued 11 of Graham Collier’s early LPs on CD. Reviews were good, as the quotes under the individual recordings on this site show. Sales were... well, we don’t know as Disconforme’s accounting failed to live up to their promises and the contracts were terminated with the help of a lawyer’s letter. Copies of some of the CDs (some at ridiculous prices) are still advertised as being available. See the Store for prices on the copies we have left under the bed.

Collected by others…
Several tracks from Graham’s early records have been included in compilations from Gilles Peterson and Babyshambles in Britain, as well as producers and DJs in Italy and Japan. Further details will be found on the individual record pages.

And now, newly remastered and in exciting new packaging…
The latest repackaging of Graham Collier’s early material comes from the British record company BGO. In 2007 they issued a specially priced double CD which included Down Another Road, Songs for My Father and Mosaics, three classic Collier recordings from 1969 and 1970, originally on Phillips and Fontana. (The saga of how Universal – who have taken over almost all the world’s record companies – still thought they owned these tracks, despite having given them back to Graham in the mid 1990s, will be told elsewhere.)
Re-mastered by Tom Leader of LCL Digital.

BGOCD767

 


Mosaics, Theme 6 featuring Harry Beckett. Another version of this music can be heard below.
Manuscript. As you will see the music is sparse to say the least, but the piece is made into a jazz composition by the way the musicians use the given starting points. This is one of the areas explored in my new book the jazz composer, moving music off the paper.

More details on each of the individual records and some audio and manuscript can be found by clicking on the album titles above.



BGO followed up this package in September 2008 with another double CD set this time with some surprising new material. Graham’s first record, Deep Dark Blue Centre (Deram, 1967), was long though to be in mono only, but the All About Jazz discussion board revealed that there had been a stereo version released, which was a surprise even to Graham. After a request on the AAJ forum, Graham and his engineer Tom Leader borrowed a copy of the stereo LP from Bob Bastow (AAJ avatar Sidewinder), that was subsequently remastered for BGO. Graham’s fifth disc, Portraits (Saydisc 1973), was also included in the package, but the real surprise is the inclusion of The Alternate Mosaics, a different version of Mosaics, recorded on the same night as the original in 1970. See below for more on this.

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Conversations featuring Kenny Wheeler and Dave Aaron (in Stereo!)

 


The Alternate Mosaics, Theme 6 featuring Harry Beckett.
Another version of this music can be heard above, where there is a link to the MSS used.

More details on each of the individual records and some audio and manuscript can be found by clicking on the album titles above.



In September 2009 BGO continued its chronological look at Graham’s career with another double CD set this time with
Darius (1974), Midnight Blue (1975) and New Conditions (1976). These were originally produced as LPs for Graham’s own Mosaic label, and then reissued as single CDs by Disconforme. They have now been remastered and the new package contains the original LP liner notes as well as some of the reviews of the LP and Disconforme issues.


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New Conditions, Part Four featuring John Mitchell, percussion.


More details on each of the individual records can be found by clicking on the album titles above.






All three compilations were remastered by Tom Leader of
LCL Digital.


More on
The Alternate Mosaics
The first two BGO packages include new notes by Alyn Shipton, and his concluding words on the first set, written before he knew of the alternate version, add an interesting twist:
‘In a recent BBC interview, the bassist and bandleader Gary Crosby talked of hearing this 1970 version of Graham Collier’s band playing this very music from ‘Mosaics’ while he was at college, and deciding then and there that this was the kind of thing he wanted to play himself.
‘[A]lthough we now only have the opportunity to hear their performance of 8 December 1970, we can imagine how other performances of ‘Mosaics’ might have sounded. If one of these events was responsible for bringing such a major contributor to British jazz as Crosby into the music, who knows what further catalytic effect this work must have had up and down the colleges and jazz clubs of Britain every time it was performed?’

This is referred to in his notes for the second package which conclude:
‘So it’s a great coup for BGO to have the opportunity to release this full-scale alternative recording of one of Graham’s most celebrated pieces in its complete form.
‘In some senses this release concludes a previously unfinished chapter after a wait of almost forty years.’


Some reviews of the first package
Down Another Road, Songs for my Father, Mosaics
These three records stand comparison with any records from the late sixties … I simply can’t recommend this reissue strongly enough.
Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

Whether the music is sketch-like structure or more formal composition, the music on this double-disc set leaps out of the speakers with the kind of life, sensitivity and expressionism that’s defined this seminal British musician then, and ever since.
John Kellman, All About Jazz

This is an exemplary reissue in terms of plotting the course of a music coming into its own. Equally importantly, both of these discs pass the repeated listening test with aplomb. Students of the history of the music, as well as those with an interest in how the music has managed to retain its artistic vibrancy, need look no further for deep satisfaction.
Nic Jones, All About Jazz

The overall impression created by the three albums is one of a young composer bursting with original ideas and revelling in the skills of the musicians at his disposal. Recommended.
Chris Parker, Vortex Jazz Club web site

Some reviews of the second package
Deep Dark Blue Centre, Portraits, The Alternate Mosaics.
Gives listeners a chance to catch up with some of the most potent British jazz from a period when the music was moving forward at a rate and without a mind for the demands of commerce. Over the course of what were once three LPs, it also plots the course of Collier's development as a composer and bandleader.
Nic Jones, All About Jazz

It’s a pleasure to have these works cleaned up and put on show, and these reissues are fabulous value for money.
Rob Young, The Wire

Throughout you get the sense of a thoughtful musical mind at work, devising new strategies and combinations of musicians to achieve fine results.
Simon Adams, Jazz Review

Recalls the creative ferment in the United Kingdom in the late 1960s, early 1970s and preserves hours of notable music that should be savored.
Ken Waxman, Jazzword

The opening seven minutes of blistering improvisation [on The Alternate Mosaics] are the closest to ‘free jazz’ in any of Collier’s recordings … but the piano-bass duet which follows is also some of the most delicate music… And that’s Collier for you: a given mood will only last until the next shake of the kaleidoscope.
Clifford Allen, Paris Transatlantic

Some reviews of the third package
Darius, Midnight Blue, New Conditions
It never fails to astonish me that in pieces like these, we are listening to music recorded more than a quarter of a century ago that’s still challenging and uplifting despite the seduction of ‘new things’ in jazz. In fact I feel a thread linking the spirit of Jelly Roll Morton to Mingus to Collier in the vivacity and drive of these pieces. … An irresistible reissue.
Anthony Troon, Jazz Journal

Beautifully packaged by BGO, this is a classy reissue.
Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

Even if this wasn’t a vintage period in British jazz, Collier’s music was both culturally aware and technically astute. And it swung like blazes.
Brian Morton, The Wire

Congratulations on the reissuing of these great sessions! Absolutely fantastic, timeless music. Beckett in particular sounds great, as do all your original works. Thanks so much for all the wonderful music, from yesterday to today and beyond.
Laurence Donohue-Greene, Managing Editor, AllAboutJazz-New York

Wadsworth blows one of the truly great recorded jazz solos in Part 2 [of Darius]... These are invaluable albums and a high water mark in British Jazz.
Chris Searle,
The Morning Star


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