Duncan Heining [+]
Using Collier’s personal archive of papers and photographs, interviews with musicians who worked with him throughout his career and ex-students and lecturing staff at the Royal Academic of Music, this book will locate English jazz bassist, bandleader and composer Graham Collier and his work within the social and cultural changes which occurred during his period of creative activity. It will also examine the relevant changes within British and European jazz of the 1960s and 70s, particularly in terms in terms of race. Heining argues that Collier’s work as a composer-bandleader is an attempt to resolve the paradoxes of composition vs improvisation, familiarity vs spontaneity, change vs tradition inherent in jazz, with comparison with other composers – Mingus, Gil Evans, Westbrook, Barry Guy, and Butch Morris. Collier emerges as a contradictory, outsider figure in some respects falling between camps. He is neither an out-and-out musical, cultural or political radical but continually forced to confront the contradictions in his own position – as a musical outsider, who works within a marginalised area of cultural activity; as a gay man in a very male area of the music business and within a heterosexist culture in general; as a man of working class origins, who has ‘stepped outside’ traditionally prescribed class boundaries; and as an individual musician seeking individual solutions to collective problems of value and valuation.