Jan Steele/ZIZ! Ensemble – Desert Island Dusks

Desert Island Dusks LP front cover
Desert Island Dusks LP back cover
Desert Island Dusks LP side 1
Janet Sherbourne & Jan Steele

British composer and musician Jan Steele (b.1950) studied ethnomusicology in the mid-1970s while being a jazz flutist and saxophonist, a duality reflected in his entire career. His 1974 debut LP  (Albanian Summer) was the first of a series of collaborations with saxophonist Janet Sherbourne, an album of compositions for saxophone and piano by Dave Smith. Steele’s 2nd release (Voices And Instruments, 1976) was for Brian Eno’s Obscure series, a split LP with… John Cage. Close, but not exactly a part of, the London’s Musicians Collective, Steele smoothly navigated between avantgarde collaborations (Trevor Wishart) and more mainstream jazz projects. From 1980 to ’84, he directed the English Gamelan Orchestra, of which one track is included on this LP.

Desert Island Dusks was published in 1986 by Gérard NGuyen in the Labyrinthes series on his Disques du Soleil et de l’Acier. The series, partly inspired by the Obscure collection and partly by Jose Luis Borges, was inaugurated with a Pascal Comelade LP (Détail Monochrome, 1984). ZIZ! Ensemble was Steele and Sherbourne’s name as a duo, a vague enough name to accommodate for various session musicians, as is the case here.  Desert Island Dusks is a beautiful collection of dreamy and exotic evocations of far away lands, lush female jazz vocalists and late night piano improvisations. Janet Sherbourne’s sweet voice graces several tracks, as if a prolongation of her soft saxophone lines. Steele handles piano, synthesizer and composition, but not exactly as a band leader, rather as the one who sets the mood for each track.

01 Desert Island Dusks (5:16)
02 Ivory (5:44)
03 The Victoria Incident/Has Ras (5:19)
04 City Night Music (3:04)
05 Nobody But You (5:01)
06 Mary Ashford Music (3:13)
07 Motorway Music (4:31)
08 Ludo Funkatoniko (7:26)

Total time 39:30
LP released by Disques du Soleil et de l’Acier, France, 1986


See also:
ZIZ! Ensemble Gamelan Disco, included in Bad Achemy #8 >

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13 Responses to “Jan Steele/ZIZ! Ensemble – Desert Island Dusks”

  1. 1 Reimer March 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks so much for another piece from this mysterious pair (I love ‘Voices & Instruments’). BTW what is the significance of the Bats and Pipistrelles all over your pages?


  2. 2 continuo March 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    It’s about hearing sounds the human ear cannot perceive – an apt metaphor for this very blog, I thought. See the “About” section for more details.
    Thanks for your comment.

  3. 3 mantler March 17, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    another pearl rescued from the dust! thank you kindly, continuo!

  4. 4 continuo March 18, 2011 at 12:03 am

    It was a real pleasure, working on this charming LP.
    Thanks for dropping by.

  5. 5 David March 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Ooh, this sounds great. Thanks.

  6. 6 continuo March 21, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Hard not to fall in love with this music, I think.

  7. 7 Janet Sherbourne November 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Folks, First thanks for putting all this up online. Second, Jan Steele plays saxophone and flute, Janet Sherbourne sings and plays piano.

    Janet and Jan have a new CD out http://www.cafecito.co.uk/cd_el_gato. Very different style of music – features 3 new pieces by Janet.

    In the pipeline is a new CD of ambient pieces including a new and better recording of Distant Saxophones which was the second track on Voices & Instruments, but also lots of other pieces which have never been released or only on small labels. Coming out on http://www.community-library.net soon.

    thanks once again, Jan Steele & Janet Sherbourne

  8. 8 continuo November 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks for the extra information. I’m too lazy to modify the post, though.
    I’ll keep an eye on a possible archive material CD on Community Library.
    Thanks for your comment.

  9. 9 Janet Sherbourne November 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Oh also look up Janet’s Latin library album on Spotify ‘Strictly Latin – Janet Sherbourne’ Quite different again.

  10. 10 David Villagrán Ruz January 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    file was erased :( just megaupload got one and it’s finished.

  11. 12 j January 31, 2012 at 1:21 am

    that one doesn’t seem to work either. once you click on the free downloading it tells you that its been removed.

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