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One of the core group of musicians to develop the British jazz-rock movement of the 1960s and 70s, Alan Gowen began working in be-bop jazz/outfits in the vicinity of his home base of Harlow. In 1971 he moved to London and hooked up with Assagai, a band that had evolved out of the popular African/rock hybrid ensemble Osibisa; not long after, both Gowen and Assagai co-hort Jamie Muir then split off to form the equally short-lived Sunship. No recordings were ever completed and Sunship dissolved the following year when Muir was invited to join an overhauled line-up of King Crimson.

The sinking of Sunship led to the creation of Gowen's next band, Gilgamesh, in 1972. The keyboardist fared somewhat better in this project than his previous two: the band endured until 1975, and - after two years of rehearsing, occasional performances and multiple personnel shake-ups - managed to release a self-titled
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ALAN GOWEN Discography

ALAN GOWEN albums / top albums

ALAN GOWEN Before a Word Is Said album cover 4.91 | 2 ratings
Before a Word Is Said
Fusion 1982
ALAN GOWEN Bracknell-Bresse: Improvisations (with Hugh Hopper & Nigel Morris) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bracknell-Bresse: Improvisations (with Hugh Hopper & Nigel Morris)
Fusion 1996

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ALAN GOWEN Alan Gowen & Hugh Hopper with Nigel Morris : Bracknell - Bresse Improvisations album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Alan Gowen & Hugh Hopper with Nigel Morris : Bracknell - Bresse Improvisations
Eclectic Fusion 2021

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ALAN GOWEN Before a Word Is Said

Album · 1982 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Firstly Alan Gowen should be categorised under the post-fusion contemporary genre as well.

Before A Word Is Said, a musical testimony by Alan Gowen, almost totally unknown at the time of its release like the albums he recorded as a duo with Hugh Hopper. Well Hopper isn't featured on this album, instead Richard Sinclair plays bass and also does some vocals. I've always thought of Hopper as a far better composer than bass-player, on Sinclairs case it's almost the opposite. This album is maybe the best album Gowen ever made on his too short career. Gilgamesh' second release "Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into" is possibly equally good. This album has the cold (in a good sense) quality of the post-fusion genre high in the late seventies and early eighties. It shares similarities with Both Gowen's former bands: Gilgamesh and Soft Heap. Above And Below (Heaven and Hell?) starts the album and gives a good image of what to except. Throughout the album a high level of improvisations is shown. In the end everything can be wrapped in different songs. Gowen had the skill of composing songs that seem like total improvisation at first but through multiple listenings open up as concise songs. Some songs are shorter, only 1-3 minutes long, and some longer, up to ten minutes. The best of the short tracks is definetly Umbrellas, a "traditional" jazz-track with Sinclairs warm non-lyrical vocals. From the longer tracks both Above And Below and Before A Word Is Said stand out as excellent pieces of music. Lastly it's good to know that Gowen was diagnosed with leukemia a year before this LP was recorded. He wanted this record to be a musical testimony of his. You might think that this would have given the record a sentimental feel. Well, quite the opposite. This is propably the most cold and clinic compilation of music ever recorded within the loosely-based Canterbury genre. And what's best, even two weeks before his death, Gowen could play as fast, energetic and innovative as ever. Hats off and five stars I say!

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