Actually John, Paul Rutherford, and Trevor Watts, and several other rather well known English jazz musicians had got their training by joining the Air Force, which was a pretty standard way for people to get some kind of musical education in those days.
Certain kinds of speed, flow, intensity, density of attacks, density of interaction... Music that concentrates on those qualities is, I think, easier achieved by free improvisation between people sharing a common attitude, a common language.
The argument we always used to use was that keeping records in the catalog was good for people that were coming new to the music, but I think that was talking over a ten year or fifteen year time span.
I think it's a great document of John Stevens' originality. At that time he was already much more fully formed in his conception than I was. I was sort of struggling to keep up, and sometimes it's pretty obvious.
I've been to the studio several times, and it's not that I'm not happy with what I've got, but each time I come away, I feel that I've learned something that I want to work on.
There's an institution here called the National Sound Archive, and there's a character who works there, Paul Wilson. He takes a very special interest in the history of the music and advised Martin Davidson of the existence of these tapes.
In a certain sense, aspects of my solo playing were developed in order to test the theory about how long particular elements could be, as parts of so-called free improvisations.
I think the whole question of meaning in music is difficult enough even if you hear me playing live right now in the same room! What I mean and what you take from it may be two quite different things anyway.
If I think about the way I was drawn into the music, it was much more by recordings than by live performances.
You know, the whole philosophy of ad hoc combinations has its strengths and its weaknesses.
I think the solo playing, the decision to start playing solo, came out of having discovered what lay behind the doors that that technique opened for me.
Improvisation is a compositional method.
Those early steps are very important in understanding the evolution. But in themselves, maybe now you need the later records to understand the significance of the earlier records!