Styles: Experimental Big Band
The London Jazz Composers' Orchestra, formed in the early '70s, was organized by Barry Guy among others, and included British improvisers Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Tony Oxley, Paul Lytton, and many more. Its formation was inspired by Carla Bley and Michael Mantler's Jazz Composers' Orchestra Association, which first came through Europe in 1966. After the first recording by the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra, Ode, Guy's compositions moved toward the more academic. The conductor at the time, Buxton Orr, tried to keep the peace, but some of the musicians were alienated; before Oxley, Howard Riley, Kenny Wheeler, and Paul Rutherford contributed compositions that brought the group back from becoming simply a conducted orchestra. This was considered the second phase of the orchestra's identity and existence. The third phase was a new direction marked by "Four Pieces for Jazz Orchestra" (issued on FMP's Stringer) and the change to recording more frequently; the group recorded two albums in its first 15 years, but began releasing albums every couple years on the Intakt label. The London Jazz Composers' Orchestra collaborated with Globe Unity Orchestra in 1989, and most of the members have gone on to make names for themselves in the jazz, improvised, and music worlds.
- Joslyn Layne (All Music Guide)