Every since the sixties the People Band has been a legendary name in British improvised music, and its  influence has been felt by many younger musicians.

Following a long period when the band was not performing, the People Band is now back in action, and delivering powerful shows.

The People Band

The People Band is a musical collective functioning in the UK, which started in the mid to late 60s. Its music is inclusive: Genre, style, audience and environment are all enveloped into the music making. The group has a particularly liquid membership - any combination of People Band associates can function as the unit - but if its central figures were to be narrowed to two, they would likely be drummer Terry Day and pianist Mel Davis. It is Day's exceptional technique at the drums that attracted Charlie Watts, who financed the band's only studio album in 1968. People Band was issued in 1970 on the Transatlantic label, and remained largely forgotten until Julian Cowley wrote an incisive feature on the group in the June 2002 issue of The Wire. Now Martin Davidson's Emanem label has reissued the 1968 album along with additional material from the original studio session.

The music is often visceral and exciting: Day's hailstorm knitting needles on skins, the mad scamper of Mel Davis' keyboard, and the free but lovely tone that Lyn Dobson turns up on the first track are all powerful forces. There are ties to styles: The strong sense of pulse on some tracks, mostly supplied by Frank Flowers' bass, with something of the effect of the polyrhythmic thrust found in the last music made by Coltrane's classic quartet. Also, George Khan's tenor work creates ties to free jazz, and the drums and piano do as well, though more by habitual association than anything else. These features are interwoven into primal music making though, different from that of contemporaries AMM. This is less thought-through - more haphazard perhaps - freewheeling, unrestricted.

At performances, audiences are encouraged to pick up instruments lying around, and it is common practice for the band members to switch off amongst themselves. Though Day says that the recording is not representative of the group's power (too formal), the "everything goes" feeling of the music is intact and delivers its message, in the form of a question: Why aren't you, listener, making this music? Anyone with interest and patience enough to spend time reading up on People Band and listening to their music is a good enough listener to play the music herself.

Way back in the late sixties Charlie was rehearsing with Pete Brown's Battered Ornaments in Studio 51 in Covent Garden, when Lyn Dobson sidled up to him in a break and said: 'psssst! Do you wanna play some REAL music?' A few days later Charlie found himself in the back room of a house in Southgate where Mel Davis and Terry Day were playing the most amazing music he had ever heard: fast, complex, lyrical, technically incredible, spiritually rich and seriously FREE! Really the London cousins of the likes of Ornette, Cecil Taylor, Sunny Murray, Pharaoh Saunders and Sun Ra, the People Band was the band that convinced Charlie that music is the only way.
Every since the sixties the People Band has been a legendary name in British improvised music, and it's influence has been felt by many younger musicians.

Following a long period when the band was not performing, the People Band are now BACK in action, and delivering powerful shows.
Emanem rescued the Transaltlantic album (The People Band, produced by Charlie Watts) from oblivion and followed it up with the release of People Band 69/70.

The People Band featured in Mike Figgis' first feature film Stormy Monday as the Krakow Jazz Ensemble. Mike Figgis also has been in the band since early days.

Three of the People Band - Davey Payne, Charlie Hart and Terry Day - worked with Ian Dury in Kilburn and the Highroads, and Davey Payne went on to be an outstanding member of the Blockheads, bringing free music to the world of Rock and Roll.

Following these two CD releases 10 original members of the band are performing again - eg. at the Vortex, Café Oto, Shunt Lounge and King's Place, in London.

The People Band are a musical collective and musicians who regularly perform include:

MEL DAVIS: piano, thrumb piano, perc.

TERRY DAY: percussion, reed pipes etc.

TONY EDWARDS: percussion

MIKE FIGGIS: pocket trumpet, guitar

ADAM HART: piano, trombone

CHARLIE HART: bass, violin


PAUL JOLLY: saxes, bass clarinet

GEORGE KHAN: saxes, flute.