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A previously unissued 1972 concert by the original version of Iskra 1903 - Paul Rutherford (trombone), Derek Bailey (guitar) and Barry Guy (double bass) - extraordinary performances, plus 2 short extracts from another concert.
"Iskra 1903 was one of my favourite groups. I cannot remember hearing a performance that I did not enjoy, although inevitably some were better than others. The previously unissued concert on this CD was arguably one of their best.
I first heard this recording about ten years ago, when Paul Rutherford gave me his reel-to-reel copy. I made listening copies for the three musicians, all of whom wanted it to be issued complete. The trouble was the original tapes were last heard of in California. Rutherford's copy tape was pretty good, but I hoped that the originals would have a bit less distortion.
Ten years later, two of the members of the trio are no longer with us, and I still await two of the tapes. One original tape did turn up just as I sent this CD off for release earlier this year. So everything was put on hold hoping that the other two would surface. Nothing has happened six months later, so I have decided to issue this concert using the one available original tape as the source for the first section and the copy tape for the rest. Something else that did turn up was a badly balanced recording of another gig from that period, which yielded two usable sections.
The bulk of this CD is arguably the most typical extended concert performance of the original trio to have survived. The occasion was just a local gig in the Cohesion series at Goldsmiths College in south-east London in front of a small audience. The trio playing on home territory, as it were, and sounding very relaxed.
Paul Rutherford formed the first edition of Iskra 1903 in 1970 with Derek Bailey and Barry Guy. All three musicians had worked together in larger groups, starting off with the 1966/7 edition of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble that can be heard on WITHDRAWAL (Emanem 4020). However, they had a strong desire to work without percussion. It's not that they were anti-percussion - each of them subsequently worked in various settings with numerous percussionists - it's just that they felt a need for this sort of instrumentation as well.
Rutherford named the group after 'Iskra' (the Russian word for spark) which was the paper that Lenin edited before the Russian Revolution. The '19' indicates 20th century music, and the '03' is the number of performers.
This first version of Iskra 1903 lasted about four years, during which time they were rightly considered to be one of the very finest groups around. Other examples of their 1970-2 work can be heard on the 3-CD set CHAPTER ONE (Emanem 4301). Also, somewhat untypical music designed for a film can be heard on BUZZ SOUNDTRACK (Emanem 4066). Iskra 1903 was, perhaps, the last long-term fixed-personnel group that Bailey worked in.
When Rutherford reformed the trio in about 1977, it was with Philipp Wachsmann and Barry Guy - a trio that performed sporadically for about 15 years (hear CHAPTER TWO on Emanem 4303, FRANKFURT 1991 on Emanem 4051 and their eponymous 1992 CD on Maya 9502). Like the original trio, it was a group that always seemed to produce great music."-Martin Davidson, from the liner notes