In the late sixties the "Canterbury Scene" was the birthplace of a new style of music that was simultaneously avant-garde and melodic, improvised and written, simple and intricate, rock and jazz. It was also emphatically English. The two best known exponents were Caravan and Soft Machine.
In 1971 Robert Wyatt left Soft Machine to form his own group, Matching Mole, and chose Phil Miller as his guitarist. Later in the seventies Phil refined his composing and playing abilities as a founder member of the formidable Hatfield and the North, which later metamorphosed into National Health.
In 1982 he formed his own group, In Cahoots, which began as a purely improvising band. Now the free blowing is contained within Phil's own complex, but tuneful compositions, described in City Limits as "full of subtle melodic twists and textural shifts, without ever losing the listener along the way."
Crescent Discs was founded by Phil to provide him with the appropriate outlet for this music.
Phil Miller & In Cahoots/Conspiracy Theories ....import CD $21.99
(excerpt from 'Lydiotic')
Fred Baker, Pete Lemer and Mark Fletcher are at the heart of In Cahoots and therefore this CD. However in a way the seeds for this project were sown when Phil Miller worked with Didier Malherbe in Short Wave. He had sketched out the pieces 5 & 7, Crackpot, Find Press Enter and Freudian Triode with him in mind. In those days Didier played all the reeds and flutes and in the studio was a one-man wind ensemble. These dense and elaborate orchestrations happened to be compatible with some other compositions Phil had been writing in the last few years and the project took shape from there. To realise this project Phil augmented the band with Annie Whitehead (Trombone) and Simon Finch (Trumpet & Flugelhorn). They are members of the Zappatistas and therefore clearly don't mind a challenge. Phil heard them play various Frank Zappa pieces with aplomb and thought they would play his parts quite easily without much rehearsal, which they duly did and much more. Simon Picard (Tenor Sax) made his contribution to the project after the initial track laying in Nov '04. His sound and melodic sense is renown and blends well with Didier's Soprano. With Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin providing the tuned percussion and vocals parts the piece '5 & 7' harks back to their collaborations on Figures of Speech (Cutting both Ways). On this same tune Doug Boyle plays the majority of the guitar parts including some rather fast and tricky ninetuplets. Dougs supple legato technique makes them sound clean and natural. Richard Sinclair's Fretless Bass makes a cameo appearance on Lydiotic. This tune is an acknowledgement, although heavily disguised, in the direction of George Russell and his book, The Lydian Chromatic Concept, that was interesting reading for Phil at the time of Matching Mole. Orinaca, which is written by Pete with Didier playing on Ocarina, is a sort of world music departure for In Cahoots and features a powerful solo from Pete. Fred's piece, End of the Line, was written for his father, who was a guitarist of stature, and has a flowing solo from the author with intricate brushwork accompaniment from Mark Fletcher. Extreme virtuosity in the bass department is required on Flash Point which ends with an emphatic drum solo from Mark Fletcher.On the title track, Conspiracy Theories, Didier's solo shows him in fine form while Mark negotiates the rather frequent tempo and feel changes with consummate ease.
Hatfield and the North/Hattitude ....import CD $29.99
(excerpt from 'Grosso Lavoro')
Archive recordings 1973-1975, Volume 2! As on the highly popular Hatwise Choice
(released in January 2005), the recordings are a mixture of live and studio tracks
(including extracts from the band's radio sessions) and feature some hitherto unrecorded
compositions. Perhaps the best-loved of the so-called 'Canterbury' bands, Hatfield's
music was a unique blend of its four members' ideas and compositions. Hattitude reflects
this rich diversity, combining the dreamy lyrical songs of Richard Sinclair, Phil Miller's
intricate jazz-tinged melodies, Dave Stewart's complex instrumentals and the free-flowing
compositions of Pip Pyle, which include a touching autobiographical song. The written
passages are punctuated with extended improvisations in which the band cut loose in a way
they never quite managed to do on their 1970s studio albums. Hattitude gives a rare
insight into the band's live performances at a time of rapid musical development, charting
their evolution from early gigs (including a notable concert recorded in the swirly
psychedelic acoustics of Amsterdam's Paradiso club) through to the more sophisticated
arrangements of 1975. En route there are moments of surreal humour and instrumental
virtuosity, coupled with instances of sheer sonic savagery which reveal the extent of the
madness in Hatfield's method. Virtually all the material is from first generation audio
sources which have been digitally restored, ensuring good sound quality throughout.
The CD comes in a full colour Digipak with a 20-page booklet containing archive photos and period artwork. The band history initiated in Hatwise Choice continues with the four musicians recounting behind-the-scenes events, road stories, musical reflections and descriptions of recording their debut album in Oxfordshire's Manor Studios. These personal memoirs provide a detailed chronicle of the events of 1973, a 'year in the life' of a young, talented and exciting British band. Hattitude is performed by the classic Hatfield line-up of Phil Miller (guitar), Pip Pyle (drums), Richard Sinclair (bass / vocals) and Dave Stewart (keyboards / tone generators).
Sadly, the CD follows the recent untimely death of the band's drummer and founder member Pip Pyle, who died in Paris on August 28th 2006. Keyboardist Dave Stewart says: "We are devastated by losing Pip - he was our dear friend, a brilliant drummer and an immensely creative lifelong colleague who I regarded as the driving force of Hatfield. He did a great job compiling the material for our archive CD's and was very keen that we should continue the series, so we are dedicating Hattitude (which contains moments of Pip at his best) to him. The music scene will be a duller place without Pip, but his memory and music will live on."
Hatfield & the North/Hatwise Choice ....import CD $29.99
Hatfield & The North were one of the most original, musically adventurous and fearlessly creative English bands of the 1970s. A leading light of the so-called 'Canterbury' music scene, Hatfield recorded two highly acclaimed albums (Hatfield & The North and The Rotters' Club) before breaking up in 1975. Apart from the deleted 1980 compilation Afters, no retrospective album has been released - until now! Hatwise Choice is entirely performed by the classic Hatfield line-up of Phil Miller, Pip Pyle, Richard Sinclair and Dave Stewart. The album consists of over 68 minutes of 100% unreleased material culled from live concert tapes and first generation BBC radio recordings, and shows aspects of Hatfield's music never before heard on record. As well as rare tunes, musical surprises, photos, press cuttings, period artwork and an extensive history written by the four musicians, Hatwise Choice contains additional text by the best-selling novelist Jonathan Coe.
Steve Miller/See Hear ....import CD $21.99
Steve Miller first came to the notice of many people as the piano player on the stand out track from Frees debut album Tons Of Sobs in 1968 although Steve was also in demand as a session musician for many other acts including Daddy Longlegs, John Dummer and the legendary Alexis Korner. Steve played on the track that almost became the bands calling card "The Hunter". Following on from this, Steve poured all his energies into his own band Delivery alongside his brother Phil Miller on guitar and Pip Pyle on drums. Delivery made a number of albums but were sidelined however when Steve had the opportunity to replace Dave Sinclair in Canterbury stalwarts Caravan. Steve contributed to the album Waterloo Lily even contributing to the writing of the album and Waterloo Lily contains two of Steves songs "Its Coming Soon" and "Songs And Signs" and as a result of his input the sound of the band changed noticeably. After recording just the one album with Caravan, Steve moved onto other projects both in a solo capacity and also collaborations, with musicians like Lol Coxhill. Sadly in the summer of 1998 Steve Miller was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There was an incredible amount of support for Steve and a benefit concert was arranged and Steve was able to perform at the gig alongside his brother Phil in a re formed Delivery and the Steve Miller Jazz Quartet. Piano Solos was amongst the final recordings that Steve made; he started the recording for this album in the latter half of 1996 and it contains seven tracks of Steve's solo piano pieces each reflecting various moods. Despite a determined battle Steve died on December 9th 1998 at the age of 55.
Steve Millers K. Ostra/...its Out There ....import CD $21.99
The elder brother of guitarist Phil Miller, Steve Miller began his musical career in the early sixties, gigging with numerous blues and R'n'B outfits, and sometimes backing visiting American musicians. By the end of the decade, he had become an in-demand session player, guesting on albums by the likes of Alexis Korner, John Dummer, Daddy Longlegs and Free. Meanwhile, in 1966 Miller formed his own group, Delivery, in which he played keyboards and sang, alongside brother Phil on guitar, Pip Pyle on drums and Jack Monk on bass. In 1971, Delivery broke up. He was then asked by Caravan, a band he had been friendly with for some time, to fill the gap left by David Sinclair's recent departure. The line-up survived long enough to record one album, Waterloo Lily, which featured two of Miller's own compositions. Miller left Caravan in July 1972. Together with Phil Miller, who at the time was concurrently involved in Matching Mole, Pip Pyle, who had left Gong a few months previously and was now available, and Lol Coxhill, they reformed Delivery. This incarnation eventually, part of the line-up evolved to a different project, Hatfield and the North. Steve Miller's activities subsequently became infrequent. In the spring of 1998, it was announced that Steve Miller was ill with cancer. A benefit gig was arranged on June 28th of that year. The gig featured reformations of both Delivery and Miller's jazz quartet Needless to say, Miller played superbly that night. Steve Miller's "K. Ostra it's out there" is one of the last things Steve recorded. It is a fitting album for him to be remembered by. This album will be sought out by fans of the Canterbury Scene and Jazz aficionados alike. May he rest in peace, but his music brings joy to all who listen to it!
Gowen Miller Sinclair & Tompkins/Before a Word Is Said ....import CD $21.99
National Health/D. S. Al Coda ....import CD $21.99
Two classic Canterbury recordings highlighting the talents of the late Alan Gowen are now available through Phil Miller. Before a Word Is Said is performed by Alan Gowen, Phil Miller, Richard Sinclair and Trevor Tompkins, a sort of coming together of factions from the bands Gilgamesh and Hatfield and the North. An excellent album but, sadly, the last recording Gowen participated in. National Health's D. S. Al Coda was a tribute to Gowen and all performances were of Gowen compositions. The band for this recording consisted of Dave Stewart, Phil Miller, John Greaves and Pip Pyle. Augmenting the quartet for this recording are Ted Emmett, Annie Whitehead, Amanda Parsons, Barbara Gaskin, Jimmy Hastings, Elton Dean and Richard Sinclair.
Phil Miller/Cutting Both Ways ....import CD $21.99
"This album comprises two aspects of my compositional output. The first is represented by the four pieces recorded by my band, In Cahoots (with Dean, Lemer, Pyle and Hugh Hopper), and the second by the two pieces recorded in collaboration with Dave Stewart. In Cahoots has toured Europe extensively in the past two years. The music recorded here is largely a result of the live-in-the-studio approach. This contrasts with the two pieces recorded in collaboration with Dave. Here the orientation is towards multi-tracking, utilizing the latests developments in music technology." Phil Miller
Phil Miller In Cahoots/Live '86-'89 ....import CD $21.99
Live '86-'89 is a classic Canterbury release from Phil Miller and In Cahoots now made available to us from Phil! Joining Phil on this recording are Elton Dean, Fred Baker, Pip Pyle, Pete Lemer, Hugh Hopper and Steve Franklin.
Phil Miller and In Cahoots/Out of the Blue ....import CD $21.99
Brand new album from Phil Miller and In Cahoots! Phil Miller played in Delivery along with his brother Steve and Pip Pyle. The band relied heavily on the blues as its starting point and their album 'A Fools Meeting' was recently re-released by Cuneiform Records. After Delivery Phil played in Matching Mole with Robert Wyatt, and joined Canterbury legends Hatfield And The North with Dave Stewart and later joined the band In Cahoots. 'Out Of The Blue' was written by Phil during the period when his brother Steve Miller became ill with the cancer which eventually killed him. This album in many ways is a tribute to Steve and is dedicated to his memory. With a brilliant lineup of Phil Miller (guitar, synth guitar), Fred Baker (fretless bass guitar), Elton Dean of Soft Machine and In Cahoots (alto sax, saxello), Peter Lemer of In Cahoots (keyboards), Jim Dvorak (trumpet), and Pip Pyle of Gong and Hatfield And The North (drums) and Doug Boyle (guitar), this album is sensational. This is also Phil's first venture into Blues for 30 years but it also carries the natural development that the band has been following over the past few years.
In Cahoots/Parallels ....import CD $21.99
The latest from In Cahoots featuring Phil, drummer Pip Pyle (another integral part of Hatfield and National Heath with Phil), bassist Fred Baker, saxaphonist Elton Dean, trumpeter Jim Dvorak, and keyboardist Pete Lemer. Recorded in the summer of '96 with new compositions by Phil.
In Cahoots/Recent Discoveries ....import CD $21.99
Another great bit of writing and another nice album from this seasoned (occasionaly pickled) bunch who are still evolving after all these years.
In Cahoots/Live in Japan ....import CD $21.99
In December 1991 Phil Miller took In Cahoots on tour to Japan. The line up was Phil on guitar, Fred Baker on bass, Pete Lemer on keyboards, Pip Pyle on drums, Elton Dean on saxes and Jim Dvorak on trumpet, playing all Phil Miller compositions. In Cahoots played four concerts in Osaka and Tokyo. This CD is a compilation from those concerts.
Phil Miller & Fred Baker/Double Up ....import CD $21.99
Phil Miller's distinctive compositions are more usually heard using all the voices of his 5 or 6 piece band, In Cahoots. The repertoire for this duo act has been adapted and arranged to take advantage of the virtuoso playing of Fred Baker, one of Europe's leading exponents of the bass and an outstanding guitarist. Fred Baker studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire and was invited to Berlee College of Music to give a series of master classes and solo concerts. He is well known for his work with Chris McGregor, Harry Beckett, John Etheridge, Esmond Selwin and Ric Sanders.
Phil Miller/Split Seconds ....import CD $21.99
Split Seconds features Phil working with a number of his favorite musicians including Richard Sinclair, Dave Stewart, Pip Pyle, Barbara Gaskin, Elton Dean, Fred Baker, John Mitchell and more.
Phil Miller/Digging In ....import CD $21.99
"Highlight is the title track, 'Digging In,' with some really fantastic solos by Pete Lemer as well as Phil's subtle guitar. The fretless bass playing of Fred Baker, which reaches its climax in both 'Bass Motives' and 'Digging In' is just great and carries the Miller compositions to a higher level." Erik de Beer - Background.
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