October 1998 was the only time it was logistically possible for me to follow In Cahoots on several dates of a European tour. I had arranged a trip to Belgium to take advantage of not just the InCa gigs in Liège and Brussels, but also gigs by other favourite bands, Magma and Présent. But as the Belgian gigs would be played as a quartet, I also made sure I caught the sextet line-up on one of their two stops near Paris, a medieval cellar in Argenteuil where I would later return to hear John Greaves’ Roxongs Trio. I took the opportunity to interview Elton in the interval, about the recent reissue of his first solo album by Cuneiform Records, and I think this was the occasion where Pip gave me a copy of his 7-years-in-the-making solo album, the aptly titled “7 Year Itch”.
At the time I had a newsletter service called What’s Rattlin’? which, along with contributions by subscribers, featured my accounts of the then-numerous ‘Canterbury’ gigs I had attended, and this is what I wrote about the performance, not knowing I would have to wait twenty years until I could hear it again (minus the end of the encore). I’ll leave you to judge whether my observations were correct –
“Of particular note were Peter Lemer’s long piano solo on “NHB”; Pip’s problems with his bass-drum pedal in “Big Dick” and playing drums with mallets during Elton’s saxello solo in “ED Or Ian”; some excellent solos by Phil and Pete in the same piece; my first experience of “Above & Below” played by the sextet (Jim Dvorak didn’t have anything to play until the reprise of the introductory theme at the end – and that came after extended bass, saxello, piano and moog solos); an extended jam during “Billow”; a splendid guitar solo in “Digging In” supported by great brass accompaniment from Elton and Jim; and Fred’s fuzz bass solo in “Parallel”.”
I also noted that while walking out of the venue, I noticed Patrice Meyer’s presence backstage and that I later learned that he guested with the band on the following night’s gig. That one, in Villebon-sur-Yvette (another, more remote Paris suburb), I was unable to attend (so I ended up missing both occasions where Patrice sat in with the band), but it is available to listen on this site.
Phil Miller – guitar
Elton Dean – saxello, alto sax
Jim Dvorak – trumpet
Peter Lemer – keyboards
Fred Baker – bass
Pip Pyle – drums