Last week, I mentioned that I’d come across an interesting story about a jazz musician and noted writer in Britain, who released a recording of his work begun in 1973. Keith Shadwick was a professional musician in Australia at the time, and he, along with drummer Gary Norwell, had formed a band called Sun, with a few other musicians. The group released one album, but then broke up. Keith and Gary recorded several jazz tracks before going their separate ways, and Keith revived the project off and on, in the mid 1980s and again in 2005 when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
A British record label, Candid Records, agreed to release the CD, and Keith recruited a number of musicians to fill in the gaps on the tracks to finally see the project through. The CD was called Free Time, a name initally selected because the original tracks recorded in 1973-74 were done during a recording studio’s down time, when a friend who worked there was able to lend Keith and Gary the space. But the liner notes, penned by Keith to tell the story of how the recording came together, tend to more solemn reflection.
“Then suddenly completion is in front of you and there is no free time anymore,” he writes, and it’s easy to see the dual implication of a completed project and a completed life.
Keith passed away just as the CD was pressed, and it is unlikely he saw it in its final form.
The special edition release of Free Time is available only through the Candid Records web site, and is shipped from the UK. Cost is £9.99 plus shipping, which totals around $24 U.S. once you figure in the exchange rate. But all proceeds from the sales will go to Bart’s Mesothelioma Research, an organization in Britain dedicated to the treatment of mesothelioma.
I received my CD yesterday. Full of free-spirited modern jazz tunes highlighting Keith on saxophone, the CD is joyful and jamming and sometimes poignant. It is perhaps hardest to comprehend when mesothelioma steals the breath of those who create music, before it steals their life.