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.

Mark Sims… My old band Clemen Pull supporting Be Bob Deluxe

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!