Steve Day – Poet, Writer, Musician
Steve Day is immersed in poetry and music, from Ornette Coleman through to Yeats, Snyder, Plath, Dickinson and Heaney. “Eventually you realise you are somewhere on your own and have to let them all go.”
Steve moved to Devon in April 2021 after being based in Bristol for many years. In the past he’s worked with a number of key poets - U.A. Fanthorpe, Evangeline Paterson, James Stallard, Julie Tippetts & Phil Madden.
His poetry publications include The Edge Of England, Curving Sentences, Pairing and his new 2022 book, Diamonds In Streams. He has also written extensively on jazz - books, articles & liner notes; recorded eight albums for Leo Records (two with Keith Tippett). In 2022 Leo release a new duo album, Rib Music; nine poems integrated with bespoke improvisations by Italian master vibraphone player Sergio Armaroli.
The performance at the Alice Cross Centre is a prelude to a studio session for Discus Records featuring Steve Day and his long- term collaborator, the stunning bassist Julian Dale, in a version of their Day Evans Dale Ensemble. DEDE will also be performing live in the coming months. As well as Julian Dale, Steve is proud to be joined tonight by maestro reeds player Mark Langford. Mark has a huge portfolio in his own right. The mercurial Roger Hall is on gongs & percussion. Roger is a classy improviser of subtlety & nuance.
Tonight’s performance is dedicated to Steve’s partner, award-winning poet Jennie Osborne. In the coming months Osborne and Day will be playing a number of concerts, both in tandem and individually. All profits from tonight’s event go to Refugee Support Devon.
Sergio Armaroli is, first and foremost an absolute artist and including his work as a composer, percussionist, teacher and vibraphonist. Whatever he touches reverberates through all of those creative fields with which he collaborates and in the world of music his most actively visited arena is that called jazz. He even describes his work generally as instituted in the language of jazz and especially in improvisation. This he considers to be an extension of the concept of art. His artistic approach and application employ a wide range of communicative fields in his relentless pursuit of a unified experience. Sergio also describes himself as a sound artist, painter, concrete percussionist, and fragmentary poet.I won’t deny the artistry of the solo works on the album, but the duos are exceptional and quite penetrating. They offer a broadly ranging set of improvisations which formulate the aesthetic of the album, together with the literal core given by poet Steve Day’s phonations. Some of these latter concoctions are, to me, redolent of Jack Bruce’s reproductions of works by Samuel Beckett under the aegis of Michael Mantler, though I don’t rate them on a par. Steve Day is quite forceful and he clearly means what he says or sings. Jack Bruce went a step further: he took the words of Beckett and sang them as though they were his own. Overall, the duos are quite confining and that is, to a certain degree, distressing if you really concentrate on the lyrics. My introducing Bruce into my appraisal was simply to effect a comparison with regard to delivery.
Reviewed by Ken Cheetham