Published by Leo Records in 1987, Don’t Assume was Maggie Nicols‘ second duet with pianist Pete Nu, after Nicols ‘N’ Nu on the same label in 1985. Born in Scotland in 1948, Nicols first recorded with Keith Tippett’s Centipede orchestra in 1971. During the 1980s, she sang with prominent free jazz players and improvisers like Julie Tippetts, Lindsay Cooper, Joëlle Léandre, Irène Schweizer, Paul Rutherford, etc.
♫ On Don’t Assume, and particularly on the eponymous, side-long track #4, Maggie Nicols carefully avoids anything resembling jazz singing in favor of an intermediary state between spoken word, sound poetry, thinking out loud and sprechgesang. Similarly, the piano accompaniment, a delicate, needle-point construction of ephemeral chords and non-rhythmic structures, seems to be floating mid-air in an uncertain pitch like some of Olivier Messiaen’s piano music. This strange alchemy works wonders and inevitably takes the listener by surprise.
01 So Many Changes (15:43)
02 Vamp (7:13)
03 After The Storm I Could Write (2:55)
04 Don’t Assume (One Note Leads To Many) (21:10)
Total time 47:00
LP released by Leo Records, UK, 1987