Readers may have heard tell of a concert organized by New Departures magazine at St. Pancras Town Hall in November 1961, entitled New Jazz/New Poetry, which featured no less than twenty musicians and six poets in various combinations. They may have been among the 30% of the audience whom administrative deficiencies allowed to get in without paying. Charles Fox described the evening in Jazz Monthly as “aprogramme of more than usual interest, during which a few heights were scaled and one or two depths plumbled. The concert was also noteworthy for the sheer dedication of the musicians who too park…One felt they really cared about what they were doing…The highspot of the evening was undoubtedly Bobby Wellin’s composition Battle of Culloden Moor, a longish piece scored for the full orchestra but with imported passages by a trio consisting of Wellins, Stand Tracey and Laurie Morgan. I’ve seldom heard Wellins play as well as he did on this occasion, sensitive, almost tender but with explosive forays, while the orchestrated parts hung together well and made up an impressive whole. You could, I suppose, call this Third Stream music although it seemed pleasantly free of much of the pretentiousness that clutters up this genre.”
Out of this concert there emerged the regular New Departures Jazz-Poetry Septet, consisted of Wellins (tenor sax), Les Condon (trumpet), Tracey (piano), Jeff Clyne (bass), Morgan (drums), Pete Brown and Michael Horotvitz (voice), who have since been able to indulge their preference for working together at the recitals of poetry, jazz, plays, and new music which the magazines has been presenting for the last four or five years. The Septet appeared intermittently at arts festivals, jazz appeared intermittently at arts festivals, jazz clubs, colleges, art galleries, civic halls TV studios all over the country, but promoted has offered Wellins, Tracey and Morgan the chance to develop their orchestral work. It was ultimately decided to stage New Jazz/New Poetry 2, mainly to remedy this deficiency. Apart from a big band the evening will include Horovitz and Brown improvising their poems, the sound poems, jazz poems, by the Septet, and will probably completed Stevie Smith and Bernard Kops reading their poems. The concert will be held at St. Pancras Town Hall on Monday 27th April at 7:30pm and fuller details will be advertised in the Melody Maker and the New Statesman.
The concert is being entirely financed by the Septet themselves which means publicity is likely to be rudimentary, so readers are urged to inform friends who may be interested. The musician’s concerned have been noted by critics as being among the handful of creative jazz figures in this country and they based their efforts on no ulterior motive or organized campaign beyond the duty of the artist to create. Those who take the trouble to listen will discovered that a valid non-American jazz can and does exist, and while they are being entertained they will be helping this tender plan to hold out against the millennium.