Archive for September 8, 2020

R.I.P. Gary Peacock (1935-2020)

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , , , , on September 8, 2020 by telescoper

I heard on Saturday via social media that the great bass player Gary Peacock had passed away on 4th September, only to see other posts claiming that the rumours of his death were a hoax. I was relieved about that but then it turns out that the hoax reports were themselves a hoax and Gary Peacock had indeed died. He was 85 years old.

Gary Peacock is probably best known for his work with the likes of Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Jack DeJohnette but as a tribute I thought I would post an example of his earlier work with Albert Ayler. I think the album Spiritual Unity with Gary Peacock on bass and Sonny Murray on drums is one of the highlights of 1960s free jazz.

This tune, the shorter of two versions on Spiritual Unity of an original composition by Albert Ayler called Ghosts, is a great example how he could make coherent what at first hearing sounds like disassociated bursts of sound. It involves remarkable improvised melodies based on short thematic lines designed to evoke unsophisticated  folk music or nursery tunes. It may sound primitive on the surface, but it’s very complex underneath and creating this extraordinary sound world clearly required great technical mastery from Ayler and his supporting musicians, especially Gary Peacock, who plays wonderfully on this track.

Rest in peace, Gary Peacock (1935-2020)


R.I.P. Govind Swarup (1929-2020)

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on September 8, 2020 by telescoper

This morning I learnt the sad news of the passing of Professor Govind Swarup who died yesterday at the age of 91. Govind Swarup was a pioneer in radio astronomy, especially in India, and in particular was a driving force behind the construction of the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, and the establishment of a world-leading radioastronomy group, which is located about 80km North of Pune in Maharashtra. I remember meeting with him a couple of times during visits to Pune and was struck by his friendliness and unbounded enthusiasm for astrophysics.

I send my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in India who I know will miss him enormously.

R. I. P. Govind Swarup (1929-2020).