A truly sensational re-discovery of an original recording
of the 70´s and a milestone in the history of Improvised
Music created by the worldwide renowned painter, poet and
master musician Alan Davie and master musician (and painter)
Tony Oxley. For further informations on Alan Davie and Tony
Oxley see MUSICIANS.
Excerpt from the booklet
The making of this music resulted from regular meetings
with Alan and myself at Hertford and Cornwall in the 70´s.
The language we had individually developed became the object
of fierce scrutiny in collaboration.
The pieces represent in their own place what might be considered
as paintings themselves each piece being directed by limiting
the area of activity required.
Tony Oxley (2003)
Alan Davie: I confess
The child born in Scotland in 1920 shared with all children
the intense visionary powers, fears, fantasies and terrors
of true knowing which is really of the animals and therefore
nearer to God than man. The child longed for some unknown
adventure; yet his very shyness kept him to himself and
The discovery of colours: red yellow mixing orange fire
and the sun mixing chalks and grinding sandstones on a rock
a revelation to the little one. Then the mud and sand and
seeds and seashells pebbles leaves and twigs all arranged
in jamjars; and then the making of dreamboats and birdships.
But perhaps most was the sounds: the clicking and clashing
the bone clappering the stick and saucepan drum and soon
the magic of the grass whistle in the meadow with the crickets
creak and the bees buzz and soon the penny flute and soon
the harmonica and soon the fascination of the ting tang
ivory and ebony hammer joys on the piano strings and soon
the dreams of guitars and mandolins harps ocarinas oboes
clarinets organs violins piccolo horn trumpet trombone saxophone
double-bass alto tenor and musical saw. What a magical manipulation
of noise vibration buzz bell and wave with tongue lips fingers
feet body and soul.
Not till later did I discover the magic of colour and brush.
Father, being a painter, gave me one day some paints and
a canvas, and I was able to approach the temple doors of
this unknown dreamworld. Then I didn´t know the way,
or was shy, or no one thought of showing me; so I contented
myself sitting there outside, and fell in love with the
world of Van Gogh and Gauguin.
At the College of Art in Edinburgh they did their best
to teach me that I couldn´t paint and that painting
was difficult; but somehow I knew better in spite of them,
intuitively knowing that painting is neither difficult nor
easy. There I learned to hate Art and to love the potters
workshops and the goldsmiths craft, and there discovered
the ceramics of Islam and the jewellery of Byzantium. There
also I felt the drift to the discovery of jazz; manufacturing
a key for a forbidden concert piano and playing quiet boogie-woogie
with a foot on the soft pedal.
Then the war was a kind of a curious unreal thing; a kind
of imprisonment and the prisoner´s discovery of his
innermost freedom together with the soul-freedom of the
sky and the flowers of the free forest. Under my army bed
I discovered a dusty book of poems, and very soon became
a poet, and found The Way at last, and wrote and wrote long
into the night by candlelight. Then too, I found the love
of women and trembling flesh and sweet lips.
The war over, I became a professional jazz musician, and
really knew the joys of spontaneous improvisation, the losing
of the ME, and the active audience participation, the fire
of the heart and the belly, and the marvellous abandon.
I married me a wife, and we went away together, and we
found the mountains and the snows together, and the Italian
sunshine, and the marvellous mosaics and the gold and the
white and the pink and the bottlegreen sea. Then I really
began to paint in the way I had learned to write and to
play jazz and in the way I had learned to make love: and
I learned that All is in me and I in All; and I discovered
that I really am a child for evermore, and an animal still,
thank God; just like them: my parrot my canary my poodles
my dachshund my cats my budgerigars; they really know: and
my little blonde baby daughter knows too.
All the talking and lecturing and teaching and philosophising
and writing mean absolutely nothing.
I discovered that I could be a bird (I had always longed
to be able to soar like the seagulls) and now I can fly
amongst my clouds, and swoop and climb and circle in my
big white sailplane.
How much more important than Art, just to be a bird.
Alan Davie (first printed in the catalogue ´Visione
Colore´, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, July-October 1963)