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Previous Item   December 04, 1997  Next Item SOUND  VISION WORD
    Jazz Cafe    London, England
 

 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsWhat music could be (if the music industry wasn't shit blood & death)   December 16, 2008
Written by DeVito
Four nights in a club. What music used to be, might be, rarely is, but could be again. Well, I ainít no blardy music "con-o-sewer" or anything like that -- music is just my oxygen and H2O. Iím a fan and donít care who knows it. If it doesnít do anything for me Iím not going to try to vivisect it, Iíll just move on to something else that works for me. Like ProjeKct One -- a unique band, a one-off (unfortunately), but we have the recordings from here till eternity (closer than weíd all like to think). Just say itís the muttís nuts and leave it at that. --VideoChrist (with the forebearance of his good buddy Chris DeVito)

P.S. Tony Levin should do an album of unaccompanied upright bass!


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsWow    December 4, 2007
Written by jmastanduno

My first ProjeKt download. I am mesmerized by this set. Whilst I am a HUGE fan of the "double trio" a la Deja Vroom (a transcendental experience in itself) this is just the cats meow. Iím discovering a whole new realm here. I really dig Bills acoustic drum work on this, I assume he was using a scaled down kit. Some listeners commented that the subharmonic meanderings could be a bit "much" for repeated listenings but I say bring it on. Blown subwoofers are easily replaced. But not these moments. Recording quality is superb.

Someone asked me the other day what the hell I was listening to and I attempted to explain it but the explanation was going nowhere judging by the blank expression I received. Thats not their fault that they just dont get it.

I am getting ready to download the P2 set from the same venue 4 months later (thanks for the "Heavy ConstruKction" tickle guys) which is a much different experience. But I would say this stuff is addicting. Iím going to have to get them all. Thanks guys. Please keep it up, everytime you are around NY I am there unless physically incapable. MORE MORE MORE      


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsIf not the best, at least my fave.   October 20, 2006
Written by ttrocc7007

I would love to write a jam by jam review of this title, but there simply isnít enough time or space.

Suffice it to say, this is absolutely my favorite recording I have yet to download from the site.

The music is absolutely not for the feint of heart, it drives, drills and insists on either being part of you, or forcing you to turn away. I feel lucky that it has indeed become a part of me.

I have yet to hear the other íProjeKctsí though I intend to.

This is my new favorite KC release, period. Nothing else comes close. Very well recorded, though Robert and Billís banter is somewhat muffled due to the fact that NO vocal microphones were apparantly present! This oneís all instrumental, folks.

Thanks to DGM and the inimitable Mr. Fripp for making this one available. Wouldst thou consider making the previous four nights availaible?

Oh, and the cover pic. Looks just like the face I was wearing when I first heard Court Of The Crimson King at 15. Perfect likeness...


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsIneresting   August 19, 2006
Written by millingt

Projekct One was quite a little band. Although all of the ProjeKct material was "improvised", the other Projekcts were more rehearsed and had Crimsonesque material put together like the ConstruKction Pieces, and Projekction. Projekct One is fully improvised however, walk on and see what happens. To me it sounds like a mix betweeen seventies improv and THraKattak style improv. The result is... interesting. I love this kind of stuf. The ProjeKcts era improvs are my favorite period of Crimson. But Projekct one, while not my favorite, is probably the most interesting to listen to. Sometimes it really sounds like the band is struggling, but other times, like on tracks 1 and 3 i think, explode. I also really like it because its the first time we really here trey as a soloist. He didnt do too much soloing before this.

In short, ProjeKct Three is my favorite. The KCCC disc on March 25 is the most amazing live monster I have ever heard hands down, but this is a must have for fans of Improv and Bill Bruford, of course.


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsMemories   March 31, 2006
Written by Corbie
I was actually there on December the 3rd - the day before this recording was made. I remember yearning to go again, to hear what happened on the last night of the residency but living on the south coast and having a nine month old son at the time...well. I do recall some extraordinary moments on December 3rd when it seemed like King Crimson had just slipped into the room. Eyes closed, one could almost imagine at times that the "Starless" line up were up there on stage doing their thing, albeit with some technology undreamed of in the early 70s.  There was nothing backward looking about the music itself, of course, which was powerful and visionary indeed. The box set - as has been pointed out - did not do this hot little band justice. I would love to see a recording of December 3rd made available.


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsalso   March 6, 2006
Written by mikeh69
also I forgot to mention two words to my review BARTLEY BUTSFORD


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsapology to dgmlive   March 6, 2006
Written by mikeh69
This is a apology to dgmlive about p1. I had know idea what was in store. I couldnít believe there was missing tapes to this show. Whatever I thought from my other email please excuse it. Everything is perfect in dgmlive world. Please release all the p1 2 3 4 shows and everything from 1969 to 2025 thank you.


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starshmmmm   March 2, 2006
Written by mikeh69

Im glad I downloaded this my favorite KC performance because the question I have is...why isnít it available for download anymore...are current downloads going to be replaced by newer downloads?


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsPlease, more   February 20, 2006
Written by JorgeSouto

Thereís not much I can add to what has already been said.

This recording has some of the most intense music I have ever heard, and Iíd just like to have the recordings from the previous days to find some clues as to how this group of musicians were able to get all of this together in so little time.


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsSix stars !-astonishing   January 21, 2006
Written by Jonathan

Having owned the Projekcts box set for nigh on ten years , I have to admit that P1 was always my least favorite of the projekcts . I never had the chance to see P1 live, but tended to trust Sidís judgement in his crimso book when it states that the P1 disc failed to capture the range of the band. I never doubted the abilities of all these exceptional players , but the box set disc did not inspire me as much as the other three discs in the set. However I also read Roberts comments on the inlay card stating what a magical night that last night was , so I took the plunge today. It is now , finally , after listening to this download ,that I fully appreciate the power and range of P1. This concert illustrates the full maginficence that unit was in concert and I am a little envious of the lucky blighters that managed to see this group perform! -Highly reccomended.


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsDecade Old Memories Refreshed   January 11, 2006
Written by DevlinC
I was 12 when I saw ProjeKct One at the Jazz Cafe. It was also my first concert.

I had been a King Crimson fan since my dad came back from a business trip with THRAK in hand, although Bill Bruford in particular had been a musical constant since I had been born. Whilst I didnít get into them in time to catch the Royal Albert Hall or Shepherds Bush Empire gigs on the THRAK tour, I did manage to be there for Brufordís final performance as part of this group after 27 years, and Iím proud of that.

The music? Whilst I canít be sure anymore, it may well have been this gig that planted the seed to being a musician myself, so enthralled was I by the concept of such accomplished live improvisation that I needed to be a part of something that powerful. Listening to it again now, I remember none of the notes but all of the atmosphere and emotion it generated.

Even now, a bird outside my window is singing in tune and in time with the opening minutes of Disc 1 Track 3. Truly ethereal, spiritual and mystifying even today, close to 9 years later.

Thank you for finally making this available.


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsAdditional ProjeKct One downloads   December 21, 2005
Written by blug83

Just a quick note for the good people at DGMlive:  I am currently enjoying the download of P1ís final night at the Jazz Cafe.  I am writing to let DGM know that I would be interested in having the other 3 nights available, as well.  Nothing "grabs" me more than hearing these exceptional players go for it!

Regards,

John Slywka


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsP1 Last Gig   December 8, 2005
Written by DanAnderson

Ahhhhhh, nice sets.  I donít know if it took 4 nights for the band to gel or what but this is an excellent recording of the most underrated of all the ProjeKcts.

Dan Anderson


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsYIKES!   December 8, 2005
Written by dubhthaigh

..... a few minutes into track 3 and P1 morphs into King Crimson with a vengeance. This is far less a projeKct and far more a glimpse into what might have been had the polyrhythmic Mr B decided to remain and pursue a crimson horizon. It was not to be, and perhaps having an inkling, even an ineffable one, that this was it with the abstemious master, all the colleagues roared with a ferociousness that would freeze you in your shoes. This set struck me more powerfully than any Crim since the Dawn of the 81 quartet, and perhaps the RED Trio. Yowee! Iíd even go out and buy a new computer to download this baby! And a word to anyone departing a band, if youíre going to leave, go out like this: supernova. It only underscores what a thankless and unenviable task it is to either precede or follow Bill Brudford in the drum chair.


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsGreat 4th Night   December 7, 2005
Written by baldrick
Since Projeckt One is my favourite Projekct of the four different fragments of KC that played in the late 90s and there is relatively little that was released by this line-up this is probably the most essential release so far for me.  Frankly, the quality of the improvisations and performances is so high that I canít believe that this hasnít had a release before now.  Bruford is on particularly fine form and is practically fizzing with invention for the entire performance.   If you like Projekct One Iíd have to say that this is an essential purchase. Based on this performance Iíd love to hear the other three nights as well.


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsA marKced Ckontrast   December 6, 2005
Written by jb1172

It was the final night. I was flustered (London and the tube in particular are not amongst my favourite or at least most calming places in the world) but in plenty of time to relax inside before the gig. The four walked out with welcoming smiles and a glitter in the eye, and proceeded to envelop the room in swathes of sound. Sometimes the music went just where I was expecting it (eyes mesmerised on Tonyís fingers or on Billís face - both good measures of the improv level), sometimes it took me completely by surprise into sharp and dangerous places. Some of the riffs or passages I found myself humming several weeks later (and again when the beautiful box set came out). After a break, the usual photography issue reared its head, but clearly the audience and the band were well atuned to the task in hand, and all eased back into a further slice of surprising, calming, and clamouring sounds.
I only made the final night; I would have loved to see the other three; and (human greed being as it is) really wanted a 4-CD set of the four nights, or at least a complete CD of the last one. But, as it happens, those passages still come to me from time to time anyway. The other projeKcts were fun, but for me, this was the One.


A ProjeKct Worthy Of Three More Releases!   December 4, 2005
Written by GrassySound

Each of the ProjeKcts has held a special place in my musical experiences.† Each is exciting, challenging, daring, unique, and an enhancement to my musical journey through life.† However, ProjeKct One has always been the most rewarding listening experience for me.† Acoustic drums (and xylophone!), combined with the electronic landscape provided by Fripp, Gunn, and Levin make for a sound unlike any of the other ProjeKcts.† The current show available for downloading was my first DGM Live purchase.† It has proven to be worth every penny.† From postings by other DGM Live members, it seems clear that a longing for additional releases by this outfit is strongly desired.† It is my hope that such a desire will be met in due time.† Thanks for the final show in this outfits "career"!† I am most appreciative!!


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsmore!   December 4, 2005
Written by GregK1
ProjeKct One is my favorite ProjeKct. Release them all!! I much prefer the acoustic drums that Bruford plays than any of the electronic drumming on the other ProjeKcts. How about a different picture, though, than the one used for the previous KCCC release and the current download?


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsExcellent Stuff   December 1, 2005
Written by ScottM

If youíve listened to the excellent P1 release from the ProjeKcts box, and the excellent KCCC release, you have a good idea what these 4 guys sound like improvising together.  Hereís more of it.  The sound quality is excellent and the playing is also.  Based on the previous two recordings, you probably (like me) either have a hunger to hear more of these guys improvising, or you donít.  If you do, this is well worth purchasing.

 


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsOther Possibilities   November 27, 2005
Written by mflaherty

This is my favorite ProjeKct (although I really love them all).  Getting this uncut concert, we hear even more strongly the presence of Bill Bruford.  He continually brings the music to new places, as does Tony Levin, whose bowed bass is particularly effective. This is a more "avant" project than the others, and shows other directions that King Crimson 2000 might have gone in if Tony and Bill had been involved (which is not criticise the direction they did choose, but the possibilities are interesting). 

That said, while it could be argued that this project had the least direct effect on the final outcome of King Crimson, no doubt Robert and Trey took this experience with them into future tours.  The sound is excellent.  More, please.


 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsA ProjeKct of Xylophoniam Fanfare!   November 26, 2005
Written by GrassySound
Only a percussionist like Bill Bruford would think to bring an Xylophone to an improvisational concert with guitars, sticks, soundscapes, and sundry electronic gizmos.  This music is startling in its intensity, yet wondrous in its telepathic energy.  This concert affirms ProjeKct One as my favorite of the four research and development groups.  They all have their uniqueness and are all worth hearing, but this ensemble somehow captures a spirit that connects with me in a great way.  I can only hope the other three concerts are one day made available on DGM Live!  Thanks for this one!!


An Incredible Evening   December 4, 1997
Written by Hynek Dvorak
I was at the final two shows of this Crimso offshoot's four night
stand. I arrived in London, from Chicago, the morning of December 3rd,
drowsy from much too little sleep. As I remember, the weather was
pleasant for December and after I found a hotel I spent the rest of
the day on my feet winding through central London.

I arrived at the Jazz Cafe a good hour before the show. If my memory
serves correct, I believe that adjacent to the club there was a ticket
service where I picked up my tickets for nights three and four. With
tix in hand I strolled into the Jazz Cafe and was pretty surprised to
see how small it was. Also, being inside wasn't that much toastier
than outside. I ordered a beer and eavesdropped on conversations
around me that all seemed to center on tricky time signatures, concept
albums and other items of prog interest. At one point, Robert Fripp
made a hasty unmolested walk through the crowd and hustled on
downstairs. After a coupla beers, I needed to find the bathroom. This
very funky loo was downstairs. It was even colder and various pipes
leaked. Also downstairs was the merchandise table. I remember that
there was a lot of soundscape stuff on the table and that a lady of
Asian decent was in charge of selling the goods.

The program began when Robert sauntered on to the stage, plopped down
on his stool, picked up his guitar, dug up a guitar pick, fiddled with
his effects rack and than struck the first note. After fifteen or so
minutes of increasingly layered soundscapes, Robert got up from his
stool, took off his guitar and the notes gradually faded.

After a short break, Robert came back to the stage and was accompanied
by three other Crims. It's been a while, so I can't remember exactly
who initiated the musical proceedings, but I do remember that for the
most part, Mr. Levin deferred to the other three and would be the last
to join in. That said, it was interesting to observe T-Lev, as he
always seemed to be listening very intently, absorbing the unfolding
ProjeKct doodles, plotting his own musical contributions, than joining
the rest of the gang.

During the Double Trio tour, one of the main criticisms I kept hearing
was, "What exactly is it that Trey Gunn brings to the group?". Well,
at the Jazz Cafe those two nights, it seems that I heard a lot of, "So
that's what Trey sounds like!". Trey finally got a chance to stretch
out, and took full advantage of the opportunity.

Veteran KC percussionist Bill Bruford sat behind a small acoustic kit.
Next to that sat a vibraphone. A confidant and frequently smiling
Billy B seemed to always be on top of the moment. He seemed to be
having a really good time with shows, and this gave me great hope for
the Double Trio's future..........

Another frequent complaint from the Double Trio tour, was that Mr.
Fripp was too restrained and rarely let 'er rip. It seemed that Robert
caught wind of those criticisms and let the fingers fly along the
fretboard with unusual frequency those evenings. Unfortunately, Robert
was turned down in the mix. This problem has plagued most of the dozen
or so times I've seen Fripp. For the life of me, I don't know why this
problem continues.

Both evenings were incredible. Although, this music was improvised on
the spot, my attention was never less than full for the three or so
hours of ProjeKcting. I talked to several people who attended the
first two nights and they said the shows were much more tentative.
From the two documents of that stand, I recognize some material from
the disc on the ProjeKct box set, but the material on the KCCC 22
release is mostly foreign to me.

As the last night was winding down, Robert got up to use the
microphone. He started off with the "With my legs like whip
cords....." thingy that I've heard him use several times. Robert was
smiling and appeared to be greatly enthused by the run of shows.
Unfortunately, the snowballing good vibes melted with a flash of
light, which came from no more than 10 ft behind me. When I turned to
look, the culprit had already discarded all visible items of guilt.
After that sour incident, Billy B stepped up to the mic and with his
elegant accent spoke a few comments about the show. He also mentioned
the far away lands, which people came from to attend the gigs. I
remember after he mentioned Florida, I shouted out with, "And
Chicago!". Bill repeated my phrase. Hopefully that won't be cut from
the KCCC release!  :)

After the last note from ProjeKct one ceased to vibrate, the band
bathed in the very warm audience applause and Robert made a quick
exit, while the remaining three band members got to taking apart and
packing their equipment. For this audient, it was pretty amusing to
see such veterans tackling this task, which I had assumed that they
dispensed with long ago.

I got a chance to talk a little with both Tony and Trey. They were
friendly and both signed my ticket stub. Now all of a sudden, Bill who
was in the process of packing his drums, wondered out aloud, where his
condenser microphone was. During the performance, his mic was hanging
from the small catwalk in back of the stage. As his search grew more
futile, the F bombs started to appear. They grew louder and more
frequent. I didn't realize that this seemingly refined Englishman was
capable of out swearing a sailor. Tony and Trey both interrupted their
packing to discreetly turn their heads towards Bill and silently
observe his tantrum. After a quick look, they both went back to their
packing. Meanwhile, a young man, who I remember was from a group of
Japanese who flew in for the gigs, quietly approached the stage,
completely oblivious to Bill's rage and asked him for an autograph.
This shook Bill out of his anger. You could tell by the look on Mr.
Brufords face that he couldn't believe that this autograph hound was
asking for a sample of his penmanship at this most inopportune time.
Bill kind of shook his head in disbelief and agreed to scribble
something down on the item handed to him. One thing I remember about
Bill's rant, was in between some of the F bombs, he'd throw in a barb
about Bob, blaming him for letting the thieves get away with his
expensive audio device. I'm not sure if this Bob was Bob Fripp or some
employee of the Jazz Cafe named Bob.

I hung out for a bit more. During this time most of the Crim heads
filed out and some regular bar patrons were beginning to overtake the
club. My lack of sleep was finally catching up to me. As I exited the
club, I walked down the few stairs outside the front door, looked to
my left and along with the several cabbies waiting beside the
vehicles, there was an odd lil' fella sprinting down the sidewalk. It
was Robert Fripp. Eyes squinted tight, posture perfectly upright and
fanny pack in place. He hustled back into the club. I just stood there
with a wry smile on my face, than continued towards the tube, where
I'd wait along with a coupla rats scampering about, for the next
train. I always wondered, did he come back to the club because of the
condenser microphone fiasco? Neither Tony, Trey or Robert ever
mentioned anything about this in their online diaries.

The next day, I took the train up north to Birmingham to see the
mighty Black Sabbath on their second (and much better than the opening
night) performance at the NEC. m/ 0 m/ This show was recorded and
released the following year as Reunion.


Robert Fripp   April 19, 2005
Written by Stewart Lee

íSince 1992 it has again been possible to discuss without whispering the music of 1969-1976," writes King Crimsonís Robert Fripp in the sleeve notes to the recently issued early-1970s live collection The Night Watch. "But I offer no apology for the transparently pratty music played by young dopes wearing satin." Who does he mean, exactly? After all, though the current Crimson look like a fashionable firm of New York lawyers, they once epitomised the Tolkienesque fashions of the post-hippie era. But Fripp, 50 now, and the perfect softly spoken Dorset gentleman, wonít name names. "Iím loath to be drawn into making comments about other musicians, but I donít think I was really part of the progressive scene," he elaborates, "I was just playing music in that period."

King Crimson began recording and touring again in 1994, to the delight of a hard core of fans big enough to fill the Albert Hall, but can they ever escape the stigma of progressive rock, with its Mellotron-toting, Tory-voting, tax-evading practitioners and their Page Three wives? Remember now and wince at Yesís Tales From Topographic Oceans, at Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and at Rick Wakemanís King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table...on Ice. To add psychological credibility to the insane anti-hero of American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis makes him a rabid fan of the Phil Collins-era Genesis, and the preface to Paul Stumpís recent and disarmingly frank history of Progressive Rock, The Musicís All That Matters, is defensively entitled Author "Not Mad" Shock.

But the cultural embargo on all things progressive increasingly smacks of hypocrisy. The post-punk history of the world ignores John Lydonís love of Van Der Graaf Generator, accommodates progís more experimental German counterparts Can and Faust as "crazy dadaist Europeans", and tolerates arrogant follies of U2 that are every bit as embarrassing as Yes at their most vain and absurd. The current critical favourites Spiritualised, playing alongside the English Chamber Orchestra at the Barbican last month, conjured up memories of Soft Machineís big-band/art-rock fusion; and the much-lauded Radioheadís more sublime moments sound like nothing so much as mid-1970s King Crimson. Just, from Radioheadís album The Bends, lifts the guitar part of Crimsonís Red wholesale.

This week four current core members of King Crimson assemble incognito to offer four nights of live improvisations at Camdenís Jazz Cafe, under the moniker of Projekct One. A press release cites "expectations from audiences of established King Crimson repertoire" as a restric-tive factor in the bandís deve-lopment. Fripp has responded by forming Crimson "Projekcts" on both sides of the Atlantic, which he describes as "research and development fractals of King Crimson", after a recent Polish tour, where he realised that not playing the 1970s hits to an audience for whom the ticket price would be a monumental expenditure, was simply unfair.

Such perversity has always been part of the Crimson working method. Asked how he plucked the drummer Bill Bruford from Yes in 1972, where his talents perhaps werenít being exploited fully, Fripp diplomatically answers: "The muse descends on a group briefly, and takes them into its confidence and moves on, but time allows them to digest and apply the confidence that has been given. What usually happens is that the group tend to move towards obsolescence following success, and then droll repetition, whereas Crimson would take the information, deal with it, and then split up, as a response to the industry and the demands of its public. We break up, shake off all expectations and move on."

In its three decades King Crimson has shed more expectations than a reasonably healthy snake might shed skins. Formed in 1969, their first four albums offered a baroque jazz rock, alternately hobbled by a pre-ELP Greg Lake singing Pete Sinfieldís sword-and-sorcery fantasy and sleazy groupie-sex lyrics and elevated by Frippís distinctive, restless guitar playing. The live quadruple CD Epitaph, issued earlier this year, "shows the 1969 Crimson was not this monolith of received wisdom", says Fripp, "but actually a cracking little outfit for whom improvisation was a major part of what we did". Appropriately, a 1970 edition of Top of the Pops saw the future 1970s superstar Greg Lake playing alongside the then unknown jazz pianist Keith Tippett on Catfood, Crimsonís sole hit single.

In 1972 a new Crimson, including the free jazz percussionist Jamie Muir, fresh from Derek Bailey and Evan Parkerís Music Improvisation Company, recorded a definitive triumvirate of albums culminating in Red, whose angular, uncompromising and occasionally quite terrifying music was often pasted together from the more inspired moments of live recordings. A leanness and economy, and a big improvisatory group sound, rather than strings of virtuoso solos, differentiated Crimson from their flashy contemporaries.

In 1981, Fripp re-formed Crimson again after a lengthy US sabbatical, with American vocalist Adrian Belew on board to free-associate about urban living over Brufordís increasingly complex polyrhythms, the band abandon-ing their off-beat jazzy playing for a tight, machine precision derived from the New York No Wave symphonics of Glenn Branca and the minimalism of Steve Reich. "The vocabulary of rock music had changed," Fripp offers, "and if you were a musician who was at all involved in speaking with the accent and dialect of the time to people listening at that time, you had to know that. The 1981-to-1984 Crimson had absorbed and noted some of these lessons and did not refer very much to the vocabulary of 1972 to 1974."

So why reassemble Crimson in 1994? What has the band to offer now? How does Fripp know when the time is right? "How could you not know?" he splutters, breaking for the first time out of the considered calm that has hitherto characterised his answers. "You just know! When I met my wife I was a happy bachelor, and I proposed within a week. Why? Because she was my wife! I didnít know this was Toyah Wilcox the star, because Iíd been in America, but I instantly knew her as my wife. Likewise, when music appears that only King Crimson can play, King Crimson appears to play the music."

Finally, Fripp breaks off - "to give my beautiful wife a kiss and a cuddle before she goes off to London" - and retires. "Iím looking forward to listening to Radiohead," he says, genuinely curious. "Iíve just got back from the States and thereís a copy upstairs waiting for me."

This article originally appeared as a curtain-raiser to ProjeKct Oneís residency at the Jazz Cafe in London.


 

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