Robert Calvert – saxophones
Jon Corbett – trumpet
Nick Stephens – electric bass
Nigel Moyse – guitar
Martin Holder – guitar
John Stevens – drums
1. Free blow segue to ‘Anni’ 15:59
2. Just A Matter Of Time 15:04
3. Relative Space segue to ‘What’s That’ 14:29
4. Whoops A Daisy 2:53
5. Home segue to ‘What’s That’ 23:00
All compositions by John Stevens
Recorded live to cassette by Robert Calvert at The Plough Stockwell 4th August 1978
Digitised and produced by Nick Stephens
Cover painting and artwork Fay Stephens
Recorded six months after ‘Integration’ this gig sees the addition of Jon Corbett to the group.The Plough was a downtown ‘Home’ to jazz, situated south of the river between Stockwell and Brixton. A regular gig for Phil Seaman and then John Stevens who presented ad-hoc groups – many of them memorable with audiences much larger than the seating allowed or the elbow space required to raise a pint. For Away too, during 1978/9 this became a second home.
“Away at Home is a cassette recording (and very high quality at that) of Stevens’ band Away playing a gig at The Plough in 1978. The music is plugged-in, amped up and could easily be mistaken for an electric Miles Davis concert. Two guitars, Nigel Moyse and Martin Holder compete for space with Robert Calvert (saxophone) and Jon Corbett (trumpet). Stevens and Nick Stephens, who thumps a powerful electric bass, are collaborators in maintaining a thunderous pulse throughout and competing for decibel dominance. The music, bookended by lengthy jazz-rock explorations finds a gem with the New Orleans inspired version of “Whoops A Daisy.” Otherwise, the music delivers all the energy of jazz-rock before the failures of jazz-rock-fusion” Mark Corroto All About Jazz
“Although this band is often referred to as a fusion band, they are more of an amazing jazz/rock outfit. Avant-funk or earthy jazz-rock?!? This joyous, yet most creative music is hard to pin down, since it is in-between any established categories. That stands as a testament to the late, great John Stevens” BLG Downtown Music Gallery
“Away was a group that made most fusion bands sound like mere fission. Away at Home was recorded in 1978 at the Plough Stockwell, a frequent haunt of the band. For this gig, Jon Corbett joined the group, creating a formable funk-jazz sextet of sax, trumpet, drums, bass, and dueling electric guitars. While there’s no question this ensemble was wading into the same waters as Miles Davis, Weather Report, and others across the pond, there’s an energy continually present on Away at Home that seems sorely lacking from a lot of American electric jazz. Away at Home presents an unsubtle, driving music that both embraces the intoxicating headspace of a tightly locked groove and captures the intensity of the classic free jazz free-for-all. Away feared no tempo or crescendo.
Away at Home features four long tracks (and a short fifth piece), most of which are extended mash-ups of tunes from Away’s Vertigo LPs. “Relative Space” makes its mark with an unbearably catchy descending horn line, the track rocketing along until it eventually segues into the funky, cymbal-driven beat of “What’s That.” The beat is reprised much later at the end of the band’s set, sending the audience through the roof. It’s a perfect encapsulation of what made Away more remarkable than so many of their contemporaries: a small club exuberance that always trumps the bloated, arena-rock detachment that would become fusion’s downfall.
Away at Home is piece of jazz-rock history worth grabbing on to, especially when there’s currently so little from this group to go around. It’s also a side to John Stevens that some of his fans might not be aware of, and a great reminder of what a tireless, passionate force he was in all realms of this music” Dan Sorrells Free Jazz
For more about AWAY go to Integration LT005
The photographs I used to make this montage were taken by Steve Pearson. Same group, but different venue. Probably Riverside Studios, Hammersmith 20th August 1978.