Photo credit: Unknown
I believe Lou Gare to have been one of the most original saxophonists of our time – one of those legendary figures little known to the general public, but a major influence on all those who knew and worked with him.
He was in my band in the early ‘60s in a sax section with Mike Osborne and John Surman.
He then spent many years on the Improvised Music scene, as a founder member of AMM, often in partnership with the drummer Eddie Prévost. This revolutionary group achieved international recognition and made a number of albums.
Eventually Lou settled in the West Country, still playing, but in relative obscurity. This is where we got together again, ten years ago, when Lou joined the big band that became The Uncommon Orchestra. As a free improviser with strong jazz roots, his playing in the context of a large ensemble, was a revelation. Lou took part in many projects and performances with the band until couple of years ago when health problems began to limit his activities.
Lou was greatly loved and respected. His funeral on 17 October in his village church in Cheriton Bishop, north of Dartmoor, was packed and attended by musicians from London and the South West. The service ended with his unaccompanied tenor saxophone in one of those limitless streams of invention, audacity and lyricism that only Lou could produce.
A master, and a great loss.
Here is an example of his recent work: