Some of Lol's greatest work was in the solo and duet formats. He was infamous for his collaborative duos with pianist Steve Miller and guitarist G.F. Fitzgerald. Unlike many free players, Lol often opted for melodicism over noise and texture. In some ways his playing always sounded like a concoction of Lucky Thompson and Anthony Braxton.
|A. Braxton and B. Gallanter|
I can't remember which CD of his I listened to first, but I do remember that I was hooked from the very first track. And I think it was his sound and sense of melody that intrigued me the most. Since I knew he was a part of the improvised music scene with players like Evan Parker and John Butcher, I was expecting something a lot more abstract and noise-oriented. However, I could tell right away that he had his own unique approach that separated him, not only from those guys, but from all the other saxophonists on the improvised music scene.
I sent Lol and email several months ago asking him if he would agree to do an interview with me for my blog. Not knowing that he was sick and in the hospital at the time, I was sad to read the email response his wife sent me informing me that he was ill and in the hospital and was unable to give interviews at that time. I know this is selfish of me, but I was always hoping in the back of my mind that I would someday check my AOL inbox and find an email from him saying that he was feeling much better and was ready to give me my interview.
Unfortunately, that day never came. And I never got my chance to have my fireside chat with him, hoping that he would bestow upon me his great wisdom and knowledge about his relationship with the soprano saxophone. But I am, however, forever grateful for all of the great music he left behind.
Here's a clip of Lol playing solo, doing what he did best, filmed by visual artist Helen Petts at her home in London on February 19, 2011.
Thanks, Lol, for sharing your world with the world. R.I.P.