Larry Stabbins

Photograph of Larry Stabbins

Photograph copyright Peter Flutter.

Born Bristol, England, 1949; saxophones.

Larry Stabbins 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. 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, recording the album Tern for FMP Records in Berlin.

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 improvisors and often played the Little Theatre Club, sometimes solo, often in combinations with people such as Terry Day, Marcio Mattos, Ken Hyder, Paul Burwell, Maggie Nicols and particularly Roy Ashbury with whom he formed a regular duo, recording Fire without bricks for Bead Records in 1976. Back in Bristol in the late seventies he was involved with the then thriving Bristol Musicians Co-op while still performing in London with Peter Cusack and Tony Wren's Mama Lapato.

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 the Celebration Orchestra. At the same time he also joined the London Jazz Composers Orchestra with whom he played until about 1985, and also Peter Brötzmann's Alarm Orchestra and its successor, the Tentet "Marz Combo". The early 80's also saw him play in the Eddie Prévost Quartet, Trevor Watt's Moire Music and Louis Moholo's Spirits Rejoice, 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 with 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. 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.

After a several years away from music - among other things, doing philosophy at Kings College, London - he currently works solo, as a trio with Pat Thomas and Mark Sanders under the name "Game Theory", in a quartet with Howard Riley, Tony Wren and Mark Sanders, with The Dedication Orchestra, with Keith Tippett's Tapestry and with Soupsongs playing the music of Robert Wyatt. Other projects include working with DJ/ programmer and graphic artist Oktal, and a duo with Louis Moholo.



1971, Septober energy, RCA Neon NE 9/Dandisc Cent 1/BGOCD485. Centipede.
1973, Mouthpiece, Emanem CD 4039 Spontaneous Music Orchestra.
1976, Fire without bricks Bead 4. Ashbury/Stabbins duo *Due for re-release on John Corbett's Unheard Music Series in 2003.
1978, Frames (Music for an imaginary film), Ogun CD 010/011. Ark
1979/1981, Mama Lapato, Bead 20.
1980, Study II/Stringer, Intakt CD095. London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
1980, Stringer, FMP SAJ-41. London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
1982, Tern, FMP SAJ-43/44 Moholo/Stabbins/Tippett. *Due for re- release on the Unheard Music Series summer 2003
1983/1985, Continuum, Matchless MRCD07 Eddie Prevost Quartet.
1984, A loose kite in a gentle wind floating with only my will for an anchor, Ogun OGD 007/008; Ogun OGCD030. Keith Tippett Septet.
1985, Tomorrow is here Dossier ST 7507. The Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra.
1984/85, Working Nights. Working Week.
1986, Companeros. Working Week.
1987, Surrender
1989, Fire In The Mountain
1991, Black and Gold Virgin Records. Working Week
1992, The März combo, FMP CD47. Peter Brötzmann Tentet.
1998, Live at Le Mans, Red Eye Music redeye008. Keith Tippett Tapestry Orchestra.
1999, Prayer, Unknown Public 12. One track on 'Talking Drums': Larry Stabbins/Oktal.
2001, Four in the afternoon, Emanem CD 4067. Tony Wren/Howard Riley/Larry Stabbins/Mark Sanders.
2002, Monadic Emanem CD 4093. Solo.
2002, Sleeper, FMR CD196-i0506. Larry Stabbins/Howard Riley/Tony Wren/Mark Sanders.
2003, St Cyprians 2, FMR CD320-0811. Larry Stabbins/Howard Riley/Tony Wren/Mark Sanders.

Acknowledgements Audio clips Bibliography
Distributors and Retail outlets Full text articles/interviews Links to related sites
Non-European improvisors Organisations Scope of this site
Upcoming concerts Video clips What's new