Neil Ardley is the Director and Arranger of the album and the work is clearly in the line of Gil Evans’ work with Miles Davis. But the gorgeous textures, clear melodies, wonderful skirling brass section, and the jazz-rock underpinning of Hiseman and Bruce lift it clear of any taint of derivativeness.
Searching for a digital version I came across a live recording of some of the tracks on Camden ’70, a Live album. This is OK but lacks some of the finesse of the studio recording. Tony Reeves is on bass rather than Jack Bruce, the rhythm section sounds more like the rock band Colosseum than the NJO at times, and some of the tempi are too fast.
There’s always something to learn. In my fruitless search for the digital Dejeuner I discovered Neil Ardley’s biography for the first time. He was 10 years older than me but, like me, studied chemistry at Bristol University. He didn’t make his living from jazz but from writing popular science books. He wrote 101 books in this genre.
I too write popular science books and play a bit of jazz guitar. So Ardley is a hero I hardly recognised until now.