Fusion Orchestra – Live at The Marquee 1974

Jill Saward… 16th February 2018 sees the release of a little piece of rock history. Way back in the 70’s I was in a pioneering band called FUSION ORCHESTRA who made one album for EMI, toured and toured till’ we dropped. We left our mark as one of the UK’s greatest live jazz rock bands. It is 2017 in Tokyo and I am presented with a cassette (remember those things?) of a live show at the Marquee in London from way back then. Quality is raw and ok-ish but the vibe and the moment is echoed is brilliantly. Secret Records agree to take on the project for release as a piece of rock history memorabilia. My beginnings captured, and it is hard to believe I am still on the same but musically different road nearly 50 years later…..can’t stop me now! I will post pre-order news soon.

Dave Nattress… Jill, saw you guys at Hastings Pier Pavilion all those years ago and enjoyed the performance. Keep in touch and definitely go for it on the new release!!

Jan Warren… Brilliant, brilliant news, hope it gets released!!

Tony May… Definitely interested! My life and the ‘legends’ surrounding The Fusion Orchestra are indelibly linked! Be great to actually hear, if not see, one of the performances i have heard so much about…

Press release

FUSION ORCHESTRA RELEASE FIRST ALBUM FOR 45 YEARS
CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED rock band Fusion Orchestra have released their first album in 45 years following a surprise encounter with a fan in Japan. The band – which was active between 1969 and 1975 – featured vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jill Saward, who has enjoyed a long and successful career in the music industry and has been the ‘front woman’ for jazz-funk band Shakatak for 37 years. Jill explains: “There I was in Tokyo in 2016 finishing the Shakatak tour, when a quiet discerning Japanese man called Yasuyuki Mizuno approached me at the merchandise table and said he has a cassette of a Fusion Orchestra show he attended at the Marquee London in 1974. “I found myself listening to the set– with a nostalgic tear in my eye, shouting to myself ‘yeah, go girl go!’. Screams and all. The band sounded brilliant, the audience jibes and cheers really added to the show. It’s live, uncut and really very very raw. I was transported back to the Marquee and can smell the place now – and I can also feel the history that lived in the walls. “I presented this project to our record company and they’ve done a brilliant job mastering and saving all of the live moments.”
The album – Fusion Orchestra Live at the Marquee – features Jill on vocals, piano, flute, 12-string guitar and percussion; Colin Dawson on lead guitar; Stan Land (who sadly passed away early in 2017) on second guitar, slide guitar, harmonica and synths; Paul Jennings on bass guitar; and Dave Bell on drums. The recording has been taken from the original analogue source captured at the London’s Marquee club on 26 August 1974. Guitarist Colin Dawson adds: “As Jill says, it’s raw and not without faults, but it does capture the atmosphere and excitement of the moment. It also includes mostly numbers that were previously unrecorded by the band, yet featured in the set at the time and were popular with the fans – including Dave Bell’s legendary drum solo!”
The track listing is 1: Beginning End. 2: Sister Reno. 3: Talk To The Man In The Sky. 4: To A Child. 5: Set In the Rock. 6: Spinedance + Drum Solo. 7: Skeleton In Armour. Plus two encores – a surprise version of the Beatles’ Ticket To Ride and Whole Lotta Shakin’.
Fusion Orchestra Live at the Marquee comes with a booklet including a gallery of band pictures and is available from Available from https://www.secretrecordslimited.com

Jan Warren… This is the best news and I was at that gig in 1974! – I’ve always loved Fusion Orchestra and I’ve ordered the cd!

Fusion Orchestra – Aquarius 2nd November 1973

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photo by Chris Meachen 

supplied by Sarah Harvey

Barry M Dyke… I think I recognise the girl, the chappy behind her and the bloke to his left.

Alan Esdaile… Jill Saward has been in touch and trying to track down some good quality photos of Fusion Orchestra and Shakatak for a new project, can you help?

Jill Saward… Yes, thanks guys, Fusion Orchestra news in the pipeline….

Alan Esdaile… I did ask Jill for any memories of Hastings Pier and she said… so long ago and we were on the road 350 days of the year! I do remember it being freezing cold but the audience were going pretty mental!! xxx

Tony May… This band and their legendary gigs on Hastings Pier and in town have been an indelible part of my life story since Simon (Karl) died. Would love to have seen them play. ‘Talk To The Man In The Sky’ was part of the soundtrack to the film I had in mind for the story of his life. Ironically, its his 16th anniversary in two days time. R.I.P. buddy…

Chris Meachen… Think I’ve probably got some stuff, will see what I can find..

Fusion Orchestra – Hastings Pier 7th December 1974

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supplied by Mick Mepham

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photos taken at the gig by Chris Meachen

Dave Nattress… I didn’t know Be Bop Deluxe did the pier. Anyone know what year. I have virtually all their stuff on vinyl and CD and saw them at Eastbourne Congress in 1976/1977 and I’ve said before in these pages, they were seriously loud at Eastbourne. They definitely had Sunburst Finish out at Eastbourne which was released in 1976 I think and maybe Modern Music – 1977. Guess the pier gig would be a year or more earlier?

Tony May… What a provocatively sexy pic this is! I bet Jill was an amazing front woman to watch live!

Mick Knights… That would be ‘the’ microphone stand then!

John Wilde… Be Bop Deluxe! Excellent Gig.

Steve Rolls… I was in Hong Kong for this gig but saw them at least 2 other times on the pier and also a couple of times in the junior rates mess HMS Mercury (now closed but was right up in the south downs between Clanfield and East Meon in Hampshire).

Jan Warren… Oh Alan, this is great!! – pics of the lovely Jill Saward, the amazing lead singer of Fusion Orchestra – I loved this band, went to loads of their gigs!! – Thanks for posting these pics!:) xx

Alan Esdaile… Yes great photos Jan and takes you right back, again thanks go to Chris Meachen for the photos.

Curved Air 30th Nov 1974, Fusion Orchestra 7th Dec 1974 – Hastings Pier

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supplied by Sarah Harvey

Alan Esdaile… Always excellent live. Many happy memories.

John Wilde… Excellent Live indeed.

Terry Huggins… They were still gigging quite recently and Sonia’s still with them, but not sure if any of the other original members are.

Chris Giles… Enjoyed seeing them live ..

Pete Prescott… I’m learning back Street love ! Love that song !

Alan Esdaile.. and the wonderful Fusion Orchestra the following week.

Sarah Harvey… Current members….. -Sonja Kristina – vocals (Original Member) -Florian Pilkington-Miksa – drums (Original Member) -Kirby Gregory – guitar -Chris Harris – bass – Robert Norton  – keyboards – Paul Sax – violin. Stephen Turners’s 30/11/74 article reviewing Sparks the week before and previewing Curved Air.

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supplied by Sarah Harvey

Jan Warren… Yeahhhhhhhhh, Fusion Orchestra – loved them, went to loads of their gigs!!

John Upton… Back Street Luv is such a cool track!

Martin Casson Agency – Hastings Pier Gigs Nov/Dec 1974

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leaflet supplied by Michael Mepham

Kevin Sherwood… Went to all of them.

Phil Meston… Went to the first three!

Yvonne Cleland… Went to all but Leo Sayer.

Tony Court-holmes… only Curved Air for me

Bob Lloyd… Interestingly Steve Maxted ran a Wednesday night disco at Woodville Halls in Gravesend in the early 1970s

Dave Weeks… I think I went to all of them apart from Leo sayer. Happy days.

Julie Morris… I saw Leo Sayer and Sparks – and always there for Steve Maxted!Happy days indeed Dave!

Autumn , Fusion Orchestra, Steve Maxted – Aquarius 27th Oct/3rd Nov 1973

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supplied by Sarah Harvey

Alan Pepper… Fond memories dancing to the latest sounds in the early seventies on a Thursday night and DJ Steve madman Maxted at the decks . Was a big influence !

Jan Warren… Oh yes, Fusion Orchestra!! – I LOVED that band – I saw them many times, first at the Aquarius in Hastings, then I moved to London and saw them many times at The Marquee Club, Wardor Street, London – I still have my original copy of their (one and only) album “Skeleton in Armour”, plus I still have several posters and newspaper cuttings!! – brilliant band, still play their album!! 🙂

Alan Esdaile… Great band Fusion Orchestra. Saw them loads of times and the album does still sound good.

Fusion Orchestra – Hastings Pier 1st April 1973

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poster supplied by Mick Mepham. Leaflet supplied by Iain Cobby

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coloured photos supplied by Eddie Hazell Estate

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Robin Trower is listed on the poster buy pretty sure he did not turn up. Any ideas who replaced him?

Mick Knights… Here we go again, Jilly and the mike stand, memories are made of this!

Phil Thornton… excellent band, brilliant gig !

Alan Esdaile… Agree Phil, brilliant gig.

Yvonne Cleland… yep!

Tony May… Fantastic pics Alan. I heard so much about this lot from Simon and these shots put meat on the bones.

Phil Thornton… another gig I was at ! if memory serves a spendid event !

 

Bands We’ve Seen On Hastings Pier – Tony May

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Tony May talking about  Bands On Hastings Pier

Hastings Pier may just be a derelict and rusting shell at the moment but its great to know that ‘the old girl’ is far from forgotten in the minds of many in the town and a number of nostalgic groups have popped up since the fire on social media websites like Facebook.

One such group –‘ Bands We’ve Seen On Hastings Pier’ http://www.facebook.com/groups/196962362327/ has proved particularly popular and has become THE place to visit on the Internet for those who desire to wax lyrical about anything to do with the Pier’s illustrious musical past.

Reading through the many posts makes you realise just how special a place Hastings Pier was in its heyday and its amazing to see just how many popular performers have contributed memories and/or photos to the group pages. In fact, almost anyone who has ever meant anything to the musical side of Hastings seems to have joined the conversation at some point and told a story or shared a memory or photograph.

Interestingly, those who had a close association with the Pier in the 1970’s seem to be the most vociferous members and there are numerous posts from Hastings favourites like Phil Thornton, Mick Mepham, Pete Fairless, Johnny Mason (Alan Esdaile), Terry Huggins, Ken Dengate, Robert Wren and a host of others.Don’t for a second though think that the party is an all male affair. Oh No! Plenty of ladies including Pam Shallcross, Yvonne Cleland and Margaret Haywood are regular posters and are just as passionate and chatty regarding their own personal memories.

It never ceases to make me smile when I think of the ‘eclectic’ selection of acts to have appeared on the Pier over the years…One of the weirdest groups of all perhaps was ‘Gong’. A ‘space rock, psychedelic, progressive rock band’, the group was never one to do things by half and Phil Thornton remembers that “UV lights, gliss guitar and paper plates” were all ingredients of the bands stage show.

Read more

Pier Band Ads – 1973/74

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all cuttings supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey….Some of my favourite bands seen on The Pier…..in order Oct 1973, Sept 1974 and December 1974. Be Bop Deluxe opened their set with ‘Fair Exchange’. Wonderful bands, all of them.

John Wilde….Be Bop Deluxe turned me around. Been a huge fan of Bill Nelson ever since.

Andy Qunta….Wow! We were so spoiled!

Mark Sims…..That poster for Be Bop De Luxe with support Clemen Pull. Clemen Pull was my old band. I was the drummer. www.clemenpull.com

Ken Dengate…..Still got a ‘flyer’ for the Tempest gig.

Mick O’Dowd….Nice work Sarah. Keep the ads coming as i’m trying to compile a pictorial list of Pier music. As I said before those of us that have been around since the 60’s have been really spoilt with the choice of bands both local produced and big names! Time for another Sanatogen!

Dave Nattress….Sarah, When I was in Samisen, we did “Ships in the Night” by Be Bop Deluxe at Ore Centre a couple of times, and rehearsed a couple of other tracks – Made in Heaven I loved/love still, but didn’t do them live.  I’ve got everything Be Bop did vinyl and CD and most of the stuff Bill Nelson did.  Also got a fabulous hardback book biography – Bill Nelson and Be Bop Deluxe.  Sunburst Finish album – just wonderful!!

Bobby Walker…..Remember jumping into the back of a transit to go see Be-Bop Deluxe at Folkestone. Shockingly uncomfortable journey, and we arrived to find we’d got the wrong night!