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An exceptional recording, dating from September 1974, live! with a superb sound, featuring a band that has never released an album up to now.
Robert Wood, an English vibraphonist, guitarist and singer, born in Bournemouth in 1949, is a veteran of the jazz scene, free jazz, jazz and experimental rock (among others he has played with Alan Silva, Don Cherry, Gong, Marc Bolan, Sam Gopal, Kent Carter, Bernard Vitet, Lard Free, Christian Vander, Fred Frith, Yannick Top) spending the major part of his career in France. Woodlands, the band accompanying him here, was formed in 1973 with Olivier Didier (ex-Herbe Rouge) on drums and Simon Wheatley on electric bass. Patrick Fontaine (ex-Ame Son and ex-Bananamoon Band) replaced Simon Wheatley a few months later and it is this second line-up we can hear for the first time live thanks to this album. In 1974 Robert Wood & Woodlands played more than forty concerts in France. Magical moments still remembered with emotion forty years later by concert-goers. This is because the group's music is bursting with energy.
Robert Wood, a protean musician strengthened by all his different musical experiences, plays his Deagan Electravibe and Premier Vibraphone in a manner which is both extremely personal and relentlessly perfectionist, producing a unique sound enveloped by the bass and the drums of his two accomplices at the summit of their musicality. Using a technique which includes as Robert himself explains: « my own choice of mallets, sticks, differents types of pieces of wood, finger cymbals, the palms of my hands, the soft tips of my fingers and the harder attack of my finger nails! Each of these different types of attack engendered their own characteristic sound parameters which could naturally be played in a myriad of intermingling sound colours. I have always strived to open the range and flexibility of expression of the vibraphone as an instrument complete in itself and not simply an extension of the percussion family. On the "Robert Wood & Woodlands" album I have kept this method on the Premier Vibraphone and developed it further on the Deagan Electravibe! Adding a JEM Cry Baby Wah Wah from the 60's and a legendary amp, the Mike Matthews Freedom Amp, which Ame Son had kindly lent me. So I could explore all the possibilities of Overdrive, Reverb and the mutational frequencies of the Wah to go even further into my "improvisational madness " as certain people called it.
On my Premier Vibraphone, I struck the key(s) at basically five different positions on each key, with a further four intermediate positions on each key which I would also strike for modelling the inherent harmonics. Applied to the Deagan Electravibe this technique literally exploded the conceived limitations of the vibraphone, and also created new soundscapes for my vocals, shooting us off into a cosmic voyage of time, sound and rhythm...with Patrick Fontaine and Olivier Didier, a permanent source of inspiration and musical happiness!... (extracts from an interview by Ron Kane)
The disk limited to 1000 numbered copies in coloured vinyl is presented in a metallised sleeve containing three postcards reproducing concert posters of the time, a flyer and an 8 page booklet listing in detail all the groups Robert Wood played in.