Igginbottoms's Wrench: Liner notes
NB! Click for the liner notes to the Angel Air 2000 reissue: Igginbottoms's Wrench: Angel Air liner notes
Original liner notes for Deram release, 1969 I first heard "Igginbottom" a couple of months ago in the "Upstairs" room at the club. It was before the regular evening session had started and I was there at the request of a pop group called "Love Affair' who had heard Igginbottom in Bradford and asked me for my opinion of them. To say that I was impressed would be understating the case. Since the "pop revolution" started some twelve or sơ years ago it had seemed inevitable that out of the countless numbers of aspiring young guitarists involved in the music there was bound to appear, sooner or later, musicians possessing not only youthful enthusiasm and revolutionary ideas, but the technique and talent that is necessary to produce any art worthy of the name.
"Igginbottom" is one of the very few groups I have heard that fulfils that hope. Yet Igginbottom is an enigma. They are not a pop group. They do not equate volume with excitement or electronic noises and psychedelic light shows with musical progress.
Their music is not designed to cater to an audience of fifteen year old girls, neither is it aimed at the vast majority of pop audiences who are intoxicated by the pretentious euphemistic nonsense churned out by the press, in which every performance by their particular favourites seems to have had the effect of a gigantic orgasm or the coming of the Messiah.
Neither is Igginbottom a jazz group in the accepted sense of the term, although have played the tapes of the group to some of the most diehard jazz musicians I knowand all of them expressed unqualified enthusiasm.
"Igginbottom" are unique and completely original and although they love jazz music and Coltrane in particular I can't detect allegiance to any particular jazz musician in their work. They may well be the first group that has, completely naturally and unselfconsciously, evolved out of the ever converging directions of good pop and jazz.
Their compositions (mainly by Allan Holdsworth) are fantastic and strangely moving full of unexpected harmonic twists and difficult intervals, sung, again mostly by Holdsworth, with amazingly precise intonation. These are not tunes to hum after a first or second or even a third hearing, but the more you listen the more you'll hear. And the standard of musicianship is phenomenally high by any standards. The interplay between the two solo guitarists gives the group a totally individual sound, rich with beautifully executed filigree runs and unusual voicings, completely free of cliches.
The bass guitar and drums complement each other and the front line excellently, coping with the changes in metre with rare expertise.
That four young men from Bradford who have been together for only a few months can produce music like this, performed with complete sincerity and lack of pretentiousness, is little short of amazing. "Igginbottom" are ready for you. The point is - are you ready for "Igginbottom?"
This L.P. is a story. It is a story of a musical progression that four people have lived through. The first track representing the beginning of their career together; The second depicting the period of unrest and confusion they went through trying to find themselves; The third is their first achievement after having found themselves and the rest is just straightforward progression.
'Igginbottom are a group of young men from Bradford in Yorkshire who's collective and individual musical talents are nothing short of profound. Indeed Dave Freeman, Alan Holdsworth, Mick Skelly and Steven Robinson, whose ages are only 21, 21, 20 and 20 respectively are capable of holding their own in the company of such outstanding musicians as Barney Kessel, John Williams and, their friend and mine, Ronnie Scott. • Their musical routes lie in the abundance of young groups that sprang up all over the north with the advent of Beat music six or so years ago, although 'Igginbottom as a group have only been together for three months.
It will be interesting to see how far they will have progressed in three years when this album is the result of those three months.
I would like to be able to define or categorize their music, but the words elude me, as I find their style of playing and composing original, and perhaps even unique, although some clue is provided in the fact that Alan and Steve, the two guitarists, have been influenced to some extent by saxophonist John Coltrane, All this seems too good to be true, I know, but in answer to any sceptic, listen to the album and then decide. In summing up I'll stick my neck out. 'igginbottom are the only group of musicians to authentically fuse Jazz and Pop.