Stuff from the Personal Vault: Laughing Moon

The first “band” I ever really gigged with was a free-improvisation ensemble called Laughing Moon. I gather that there is a progressive rock band out there somewhere using that name, which is nice.

I would bet good money, though, that they don’t sound anything like us.

We started out as an ad hoc improvisation group that for a few gigs included guitarist Joe Morris and a drummer named Chris Harvey. Scott Southworth, Sharrhan Williamson (who was then called Beverly or Bev) and I all connected with a wonderful drummer named Tim Roberts. That went on for about nine months; I don’t remember what happened, exactly, but we changed drummers.

Bryan Dennis was a terrific player with an unceasing flow of ideas. His shifting waves of time were tremendously influential in my early development as a bassist. The group played together in this configuration for perhaps a year, when it settled on its final incarnation as a trio.

By its very nature, the music of Laughing Moon was not chock-full of popular appeal. But I recently had occasion to check out one of our old recordings, and I was quite pleasantly reminded of what fun we had, and of how much fun our music was. Now that I’ve found the old recordings (and now that my hard drive has been upgraded so I have room for these projects), I’ve begun putting together some of them with photos.

Herewith, the first batch of Laughing Moon material, unheard since 1979. Thirty years ago, the three of us went into the broadcast studios at WBUR, on Steve Elman’s show “Spaces,” and broadcast a full set of our idiomatic free improvisations.


Here are some “videos” from that show for your amusement and
amazement:

“Empathy”


“The Emu-Pluckers’ Barndance”

“The Star-Spangled Beanery”


“We Are Not Alone”

There are more recordings buried in my boxes. I appear to be on a “resurrect my old material and publish it” binge. With luck it’ll spare me the trouble of constantly inventing new content.

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