ROBERT WYATT — The End of an Ear

Jazz music community with review and forums

ROBERT WYATT - The End of an Ear cover
3.50 | 8 ratings | 3 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 1970


A1 Las Vagas Tango Part 1 (Repeat)
A2 To Mark Everywhere
A3 To Saintly Bridget
A4 To Oz Alien Daevyd And Gilly
A5 To Nick Everyone
B1 To Caravan And Brother Jim
B2 To The Old World (Thank You For The Use Of Your Body, Goodbye)
B3 To Carla Marsha And Caroline (For Making Everything Beautifuller)
B4 Las Vegas Tango - Part 1

Total Time: 46:58


- Neville Whitehead /Bass
- Marc Charig /Cornet
- Robert Wyatt /Drums, Piano, Organ, Voice
- David Sinclair /Organ
- Cyril Ayers /Percussion [Assorted]
- Mark Ellidge /Piano
- Elton Dean /Saxophone [Alto Saxello]

About this release

CBS – 64189(UK)

Thanks to snobb for the updates


More places to buy metal & ROBERT WYATT music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports


Specialists/collaborators reviews

Robert Wyatt's debut was released still when he was a member of Soft Machine (right after release of their "Third" masterpiece). It's difficult to say if this release is related with Robert growing disappointment with Soft Machine's direction. Especially when it's well-known fact that Wyatt wasn't happy with decrease of his singing material on Soft Machine albums and their more jazz-fusion music.

This album is almost pure avant-jazz and there is no traditional singing at all (but there are plenty of experimental Wyatt's vocals though). Released between his departure from Soft Machine and his first band Matching Mule was founded, this album is very different from everything Wyatt recorded till now.

Starting from very first sounds, album brings the listener to free form complex and quirky sound, very close to free-jazz, but with obvious Canterbury scene's psychedelic roots. It's interesting, that even participating such influential musicians as keyboardist David Sinclair, cornet player Marc Charig and especially sax player Elton Dean didn't make this album "band's release". Very personal in atmosphere and with huge accent on original free-jazz drumming, this album is real Wyatt's solo work ( besides of drumming, he plays organ/piano and sings there as well).

Two very experimental form compositions (or two versions of same "Las Vegas Tango") are both opener and album's final song. Seven compositions between them are dedicated to Wyatt's friends each. Very usually Elton Dean's participating on any album leads to his sax becomes main music's attraction, but there it isn't. Dean and Charig play both important part in common sound, but their participation is mostly in interplays with drums and in plenty of ascetic sketches around the whole sound. Wyatt himself is real hero of the day!

Between all compositions of this album only " To Caravan and Brother Jim" ,led by Sinclair melancholic organ, is quite accessible and well-structured. All others are chaotic free-form Wyatt-centered songs,not always essential but always with that magic Robert's emotional beauty.Very soon because of terrible accident Wyatt's life will become different and he will leave drummer chair forever and will concentrates on singing. This album is very intriguing illustration to how different his musical career could be if he would be able to play drums again.

Standing alone most experimental Wyatt's album till now. Not on the same field with his later excellent solo vocalist career, and possibly even more attractive for Wyatt's fans because of this.

Members reviews

Robert Wyatt's End of an Ear isn't a serious attempt to kick off a solo career - Rock Bottom would play that role four years later - so much as it represents Wyatt letting off a bit of steam. The Soft Machine had just recorded Third, an album on which Wyatt's drumming naturally played an essential role but on which his vocals were limited to one song - his own Moon In June, a composition the rest of the band were so disinterested in he had to perform most of it himself. This was all part of a general tendency in the Machine to veer away from the inclusion of vocals after the release of Volume Two (in which Wyatt's singing played a major role), which would culminate in their fourth album being released without any singing from Wyatt being included whatsoever.

The fact that Wyatt lists "Mouth" under his portfolio of musical instruments on the liner notes is a hint as to the point of this album - to give him a chance to express his unique style of scat singing and his use of his voice as his most delicate and diverse musical instrument in a way which he simply was no longer allowed to do in the Soft Machine. It's a stinging rebuke to Messrs. Ratledge and Hopper, who had been driving the Machine in a firmly instrumental direction at this point, as far as free jazz goes there's a delicate, shimmering beauty to the album which when it comes through clearly is quite delightful. The album doesn't soar to heights of supreme excellence, but it is a skilled reminder of just what the human voice can achieve, and in that sense more than exonerates itself as a showcase for Wyatt's vocal talents. Personally, I think the Soft Machine's decision to sideline Wyatt's singing was absolutely shameful, a waste of a wonderful talent. Fortunately, on Matching Mole's albums and in his solo career, Wyatt would not be silenced.
Sean Trane
Robert's first solo album is one of the crazier you'll get to hear on this site. Outside some Experimental Zappa albums in the late 60's, you'll be hard pressed to find a rock persona that managed such a "difficult" album especially for a debut album. This album is to be approached with great care, and must only be listened to when in the mood for some really depressive music ala Rock Bottom. If I speak of Robert's second album, that happened after his accident, TEOAE was released as he was still in Soft Machine (between Third and 4) some three years before RB.

With TEOAE, his music was certainly a step ahead of the group "that was making him so miserable", partly because on this album, Robert gets to exercise his scat vocals as much as he pleases (not the case in SM), and believe he catches up on lost time, as he signs: "out of work pop singer, currently on drums with SM". Self produced (with a quite interesting artwork), very aptly-titled and issued on the same Columbia label as SM, you can bet these piques did not smooth out the difference with his other partners. Robert speaks in all admiration of almost pure jazz avant-gardist in the liner notes, such as McGregor, Keith Tippet, Mongezi Fiza and friend Gary Windo, and his music goes to some point as far as these people's works. He might have mentioned Colemen or the post-Ascension Coltrane as well.

Recorded with some "Canterbury" friends (most well known, but some lesser family members: Cyril Ayers, Marl Ellidge as well), TEOAE is a really difficult album to get into, because of the nature of the dissonant music developed everywhere on the album, an early sign of Robert's future lunacy in his music some three years later.

Starting on the LV Tango (a Gil Evans "tune"), Robert gives his voice the full work-over over crazy un-metered percussions, his brother's dissonant piano (I think Mark Ellidge is his brother), and he lets his voice run wildly all over and around your brains while drumming up a storm. While there are completely nutty moments, the music keeps a certain beauty behind its chaotic nature and the track ends superbly after well over 8 mins of madness. The short Can-like Mark Everywhere track drives a crazy rhythm and ends in space whispers. Equally short and strange is Saintly Bridget (the folk singer B. St John), driven over an inventive Giles-like drum pace, cornetist Mark Charig and saxman Elton dean pull out mad horn sounds, while Whitehead would silence-out most Hopper unconditionals on bass. The next track is dedicated to Gongheads Daevid and Gilly (called Oz aliens), while the closing To Nick Everyone (Evans, former SM) sounds like a taunt, and this might be the album's most difficult track and it's overstaying its welcome by four or five minutes. On the flipside, the opener is dedicated to Caravan and Brother Jim, and it proves to be the album's more conventional track, a welcome rest through the exhausting trip in Wyatt's brains. The binary rhythm has a hypnotic quality that allows the piano shooting its note from the machine gun. Old World is a bizarre ambient percussion track, while Carla, Marsha And (the infamous) Caroline is a weird minimalist trip with the piano and organ keeping the whole thing sane, because the percussions, devices and other affects are certainly not doing it. Closing on a reprise of the LV Tango, where Robert not only matches the madness on the first version, but easily surpasses himself in this second part. While the album can't be reduced to a Las Vegas Tango sandwich (the album's centre pieces are just as worthy), it is clear that they do represent Robert's vengeance to SM's imposition on his hushing up.

Certainly this is the kind of album that fell upon the ears of future-RIO kings across the planet of rock music, this album is definitely not for everyone, but every RIO-head should get a load of it. And if rock Bottom was an easy digestion, TEOAE shouldn't be that much more difficult, even if th

Ratings only

  • stefanbedna
  • 2rightfeet
  • Kontiki
  • Drummer
  • richby

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
Buy this album from our partners
Blue Train Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Tristan Kasten-Krause / Jessica Pavone : Images of One Jazz Related Improv/Composition
Buy this album from MMA partners
King Ubu Orchestru 2021 : Roi Avant-Garde Jazz
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Spacemen Vol. 2 Nu Jazz
Buy this album from MMA partners
Feldman / Rempis / Daisy : SIROCCO Avant-Garde Jazz
Buy this album from MMA partners
Live Eclectic Fusion
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

Rituel du soleil
js· 8 hours ago
Kerkko Koskinen, Linda Fredriksson & UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra - Mare [Audio]
js· 9 hours ago
Tony Williams
js· 9 hours ago
Blue Hyper Giant
js· 1 day ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Jazz News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us