Lol Coxhill has blown his last

Listening to the radio today, I learn that the renowned English soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill has died aged 79.

Lol Coxhill came to my attention in the early 1980s, when as a teenage acid head I discovered the psychedelic and avant-garde community known as the Canterbury scene, which had its heyday in the early seventies. At that time I tended toward acid rock, and was a fan of Soft Machine, and later Daevid Allen’s Gong.

As my musical tastes broadened I branched out into jazz, free improvisation and folk, and began listening to the likes of that other Canterbury stalwart, the guitarist Fred Frith. As a school-trained flautist I later took to playing soprano saxophone, and was inspired by improvising musicians such as Coxhill and Evan Parker.

Coxhill was a prolific performer and recording artiste, and led a number of projects that brought him critical acclaim if not commercial success. The bald one was a ‘musician’s musician’, but at the same time Coxhill was respected by critics who didn’t know one end of a musical instrument from the other. The sounds he made were enough to grab their attention, just as they did mine.

RIP George Lowen Coxhill (1932–2012)