AKA Lowen Coxhill
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Executive summary: Sax improvisor
Military service: Royal Air Force (1950-51)
Lol Coxhill became active in the jazz scene as a teenager, when he began organizing club events with both live and recorded music in 1947. His interests were temporarily put on hold at the beginning of the 1950s by an invitation to spend some time with the Royal Air Force, but he made up for lost time throughout the rest of the decade, playing in a wide variety of ensembles and genres. During the 1960s he fronted some bands of his own, but mostly worked with visiting American soul and R&B performers, acting as a support musician as they toured the UK. His approach to the saxophone at the start of his career was entirely conventional, but by the close of 1960s he had developed a distinctive, unrestrained style that he could somehow integrate into any musical setting with which he was working.
In 1968, Coxill co-founded Delivery, which included both Phil Miller and Pip Pyle; the band would continue until 1972, at which time Miller and Pyle would move on to create Hatfield and the North. For a period in-between stints with Delivery, he became a member of The Whole World, an ensemble created to support Kevin Ayers on tour that also included a young Mike Oldfield. In addition to the tours, the World recorded one album (Shooting At The Moon) and one single (Butterfly Dance) with Ayers before ceasing to exist in 1971. During this time Coxhill enlisted his bandmates to contribute to his first solo effort, The Ear of the Beholder (1970), and collaborated with some of them in duo settings.
Throughout the 1970s, the saxophonist moved further into free-improvisaton territory, establishing himself as a dynamic unaccompanied performer in addition to working with improv ensembles such as Derek Bailey's Company, The Spontaneous Music Ensemble and AMM. The decade also saw Coxhill establishing a parallel career as an actor, appearing in stage (with The Welfare State) and televison productions (including the British series Strangers, 1978) before moving on to film roles (London Story, 1980; Caravaggio, 1986; Orlando, 1992).
From the 80s onward, Coxhill has kept himself busy with his usual eclectic mix of projects. A collaboration with The Damned gave him an opportunity to venture into rock territory, while all his other bases have been kept covered through his involvement with groups such as The Melody Four, The Dedication Orchestra, and his own ensemble The Recedents, as well as his continuing solo and duo efforts. Frog Dance, a documentary film about the saxophonist, was broadcast in the U.K. in 1986.
Wife: (at least one daughter)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Orlando (16-Sep-1992) · Butler
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