Alan Gowen

Alan Gowen was one of the key musicians who helped to create the British jazz-rock movement in the 1960s and 1970s. He began his career in Harlow’s be-bop jazz/outfits. He moved to London in 1971 to join Assagai. Assagai was an African/rock hybrid band. Shortly after, Jamie Muir, Gowen, and Assagai were both expelled to form the short-lived Sunship. Sunship was never recorded and disbanded in 1972 when Muir was invited by King Crimson to rejoin the revamped lineup. In 1972, Gilgamesh was formed by Gowen after Sunship’s sinking. This project was a bit more successful for Gowen than the previous ones. The band survived until 1975 and, after two years of rehearsals, performances, and many personnel changes, released a self-titled album in 1975. It featured Gowen’s writing and instrumental talents. The band had come to an end by the end of the year, but was briefly resurrected in 1977 when it released a second Gowen-written-and-arranged album, Another Fine Tune You’ve Got Me Into. In November 1973, Gilgamesh and fellow jazz-rock explorers Hatfield performed two shows together. This was the beginning of Gowen’s next project. Both bands ended their careers around the same time. This allowed Gowen and former Hatfield keyboardist Dave Stewart, to merge forces to create National Health together with musicians from their earlier bands. National Health was subject to constant upheavals in membership. Financial difficulties and general frustration caused Gowen to leave the group in 1977. However, he returned briefly to help with sessions for the debut album. Stewart was ready to leave the band by 1979. Gowen replaced Stewart during the short period before total meltdown. Between his stints with National Health, Alan Gowen was a member of the quartet Soft Heap. Following Health’s demise, he enlisted Hugh Hopper, a Soft Machine bassist, for the keyboard/bass combo album Two Rainbows Daily (1981). Soon after the completion of the project, Gowen was diagnosed as having leukemia. He recorded and composed his last musical statement, Before a Word Is Said, in the remaining time. He died just weeks after the sessions were completed. His National Heath bandmates met up again in 1982 to perform a benefit concert and record D.S. as a tribute. Al Coda is an album that includes both unrecorded Gowen compositions and reworked Gowen songs. Assagai Keyboardist (1971-72) GilgameshKeyboardist (1972-75) and 1977-78), National Health Keyboardist (1975-77, 1979-80), Soft HeapKeyboardist (

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