Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Larry Stabbins was born in Bristol where he started playing saxophone at the age of eleven. He started a long association with pianist Keith Tippett when he was sixteen, at the same time serving his musical apprenticeship in countless soul bands, playing the music of Jnr Walker and King Curtis, James Brown and Sam and Dave. He later contributed to many of Tippett's projects such as Centipede, Ark, Tapestry and the Septet. In addition to occasional duo performances, in the mid-eighties they also worked as a trio for a time with percussionist Louis Moholo, while Tippett was himself involved in various Working Week and Weekend activities and Keith's wife Julie sang on the fourth Working Week album.
In London in the early 70’s after a short spell in the Brotherhood of Breath, he attended John Stevens’ Ealing workshops and played with the Spontaneous Music Orchestra, and occasionally with SME and the Dance Orchestra. As a result he met many of the `second generation` of British and particularly Roy Ashbury with whom he formed a regular duo. During this period in London he also worked as a freelance commercial musician, playing studio sessions, nightclubs and West End shows as well as playing in more jazz based situations such as Mike Westbrook’s `Solid Gold Cadillac`.
In 1979 he joined the Tony Oxley Quintet alongside Howard Riley, Barry Guy (later replaced by Hugh Metcalfe) and Phil Wachsmann and played in various permutations of it for many years (including one with Pat Thomas, Manfred Schoof and Sirone in 1992) and also Oxley’s Celebration Orchestra. At the same time he also joined the London Jazz Composers Orchestra with whom he played until about 1985, and also Peter Brotzmann’s Alarm Orchestra and its successor the Tentet `Marz Combo`. The early 80’s also saw him play in the Eddie Prevost Quartet, Trevor Watt’s Moire Music, Louis Moholo’s Spirits Rejoice, and Elton Dean’s Ninesense as well as touring (the then East) Germany with Heinz Becker’s Quintet with Uli Gumpert, Radu Malfatti, Peter Kowald and Stefan Hubner.
Alongside this he played in the seminal pop group Weekend and formed a key writing partnership with its guitarist Simon Booth. This became the basis for Working Week, a project that took a melange of latin, soul and jazz into the world of pop and dance music. Born out of the burgeoning Latin Jazz Dance scene in London clubs such as the Electric Ballroom and the Wag, the new band mixed jazz with modish Latin dance rhythms and vocals by singers such as Juliet Roberts, Julie Tippetts, Robert Wyatt and Tracy Thorn. They became a dominating force in the British jazz revival, the movement that made jazz fashionable again, introducing it to a new young audience and instigating a great upsurge in new talent onto the British Jazz Scene. The band toured extensively in Europe and Japan, performing at most of Europe's major Jazz Festivals, recording five albums for Virgin Records, in addition to writing for film and TV. The demise of Working Week was followed by QRZ? a fusion of jazz and rap which also recorded for Virgin and the German label Loud Minority.
Following a period away from music, in recent years he has worked with Keith Tippett’s Tapestry, in a quartet with Howard Riley, in Louis Moholo’s Dedication Ochestra, in Soupsongs, playing the music of Robert Wyatt, and more recently in Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra.
His current project with rave producer and DJ Krzysztof Oktalski, `Stonephace`, features Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley and Helm DeVegas on keyboards together with live visuals from VJ Stella Marina. The album on Tru Thoughts Recordings also features a guest appearance from legendary trumpet player Guy Barker.
Giles Peterson BBC Radio 1.
One of the most innovative saxophonists in Britain
Anthony Wood -The Wire
Mouthpiece (1973) Emanem 4039 Spontaneous Music Orchestra
Fire Without Bricks (1976) Bead 4 Ashbury Stabbins duo
Frames (1978) Ogun 3/4 Keith Tippett’s `Ark`
Mama Lapato (1979/1981) Bead20 Mama Lapato
Stringer (1980) FMP SAJ-41 London Jazz Composers Orchestra
Tern (1982) FMP SAJ-43/44/ Unheard Music Series Moholo, Stabbins, Tippett
Continuum (1983) Matchless MR7 Eddie Prevost Quartet Re-released with extra tracks as MRCD07 1999
A Loose Kite…..(1984) Ogun 007/008 Keith Tippett Septet
Tomorrow Is Here (1985) Dossier ST 7507 Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra
Working Nights (1984/5) ) `Working Week Virgin Records
Companeros (1986) `Working Week Virgin Records
Surrender (1987) `Working Week Virgin Records
Fire In The Mountain (1989) `Working Week Virgin Records
Black and Gold (1991) `Working Week Virgin Records
The Marz Combo (1992) FMP CD47 Peter Brotzmann Tentet
Prayer (1999) One track on `Talking Drums` Unknown Public 12 Larry Stabbins/Oktal
Four in the afternoon (2001) Emanem 4067 Wren/Stabbins/Riley/Sanders
Monadic (2002) Emanem Solo Saxophone Improvisations released 2003
Stonephace (2009) Stonephace Tru Thoughts
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