FMP-RECORDS (SAJ-Numbers) 1974 - 1991


David G. Holland



"Johnny Rondo" is a collective name and does not indicate leadership by one musician. It was chosen initially to symbolise our visual presentation, and the mythology of the composed pieces which developed in the early repertoire of first Johnny Rondo Combo (1974-77) and later Johnny Rondo Trio (1976-80), consisting of David Holland (piano), Lol Coxhill (soprano saxophone) and Colin Wood (cello). The earlier group evoked images of ship's orchestra - travel to exotic lands - palm trees - and played initially in a theatre show and later for festival clubs and art college dances.

The later group led more directly to "listening" situations which varied from concerts to small recitals or even as "background music", and its format was based on the Palm Court Trio, though not always as restrained as that term suggests. The repertoire developed to encompass references to diverse sources such as folk melodies of Mexico, Bolivia, and Rumania, creating a blend of ethnic, original, popular, and obscure material. It is hoped eventually to make available a recording of this repertoire.

Since all three musicians have had a long term interest in free music it was inevitable that this would creep into the Johnny Rondo music, and in December 1978 they toured the North of England presenting mainly improvised music, with the arranged places taking more of a back seat role. Another development at this time was Colin's increased commitment to working in I.O.U. theatre and music group, which has greatly restricted his involvement with Johnny Rondo as a result.

Subsequently, Lol Coxhill and David Holland continued to work together as a duo, in addition to trio performances with other musicians. This gathering of personnel resulted in a five piece group, premiered at the 1980 Bracknell Jazz Festival in England.

(In addition to their work together, Coxhill and Holland continue to work independently of each other, both solo and with other people).

Earlier in 1980 David & Lol invited Mike Cooper to joint them for 3 nights at Flöz Club in West-Berlin. On arrival they were delighted to accept the request by Jost Gebers to record the live music at Flöz Club since this would be the most interesting recording offer which had so far come about for Johnny Rondo Trio. Also this would be David's first appearance on a LP (Mike and Lol have featured on many previous LP's, both solo and with other people). Also again, this would be a recording the first meeting on stage of these 3 musicians as a trio together. Mike had not played with David before, and did not know the Rondo tunes. We agreed however, not to rehearse any material, but simply to decided on the programme as we went along, i.e. when to play solo or in duo or trio combinations. On the selection presented here we decided to exclude most episodes of solo and duo playing, and also to create a balance between spontaneous and pre-meditated material.

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