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Release date: 24.06.11
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Paul Hession (Born Leeds, 19 September 1956 ) started playing guitar and singing in the church choir at 7 and he credits his choir leader - also an improvising organist - with his continued interest in music. He started playing drums at the age of 15, being mainly self taught, and started off through the usual route of rock groups, cabaret, and working men's clubs. 'Seeing Elvin Jones at Ronnie Scott's Club in 1975 gave him food for thought for years.'


Having been drawn towards free improvisation, Hession formed Art Bart & Fargo with Alan Wilkinson (alto and soprano saxophones) and Pete Malham (tenor saxophone, congas) in 1979, and in the late 1980's and early 1990's did much of the organising for the Termite Club in Leeds, formed originally by Wilkinson and guitarist Paul Buckton to perform and promote free improvised music in the area. Since Hession has played with many improvisors, including Harry Sjostrom, Jay Oliver, Wolfgang Fuchs, Paul Rutherford, Hans-Peter Hiby, Derek Bailey (as well as taking part in Company Week in 1988), Evan Parker, Maggie Nicols, Phil Wachsmann, Peter Kowald, Paul Dunmall, Alan Tomlinson, Teppo Hauta Aho, Paul Rogers, Marcio Mattos, Lol Coxhill, and Peter Brötzmann.


Between 1985 and 1987 Paul Hession ran the Improvised Music Workshop in Leeds, he taught drumming in schools from 1989 to 1991, played music with silent films and worked with dancers Tamsin Spain and Derek Williams of the Northern Ballet Theatre, and he played bebop with Teddy Edwards in 1988. His current playing centres on the trio Hession/Wilkinson/Fell, Something Else! with Mick Beck and Simon Fell, the IML Ensemble (his workshop-based group), a trio with Mick Beck and Tom 'Squarepusher' Jenkinson...and ad-hoc and solo outings...


Further reading
Entry in Lister, C. (1992), The Guinness encyclopedia of popular music from which some of above has been drawn.

All of the above from:


"My own philosophy of playing has always been one of trusting my ears to guide me. Improvisation has been central to my learning and approach to playing, right from first attempts at drumming as a teenager and on up to the present day. Nevertheless, I have a keen appreciation of much composed music and have become less purist in recent years, regarding free improvisation - I now feel more relaxed about incorporating composed elements - particularly when playing solo - and no longer feel so guilty for transgressing the sacred code of spontaneity!


Having said that, I hold the possibilities that are latent in any given moment as highly charged with the potential to be transcendent and if a work of art has some imperfections, then it reminds me that a human being was responsible.
Only 'Mysteries' included on this playlist had any pre-composed sections."



Paul Hession, June 6, 2011





1. The Varmint (for Jack Elam). Paul Hession Solo from CD ‘The Mahout’ by George Haslam, Borah Bergman & Paul Hession. SLAM CD 318.
Analogue recording by Dave Caley at Pendlke Hawk Studio, Colne, England on 15th October 2003.

2. From Eremite to Termite. Joe McPhee & Paul Hession from CD ‘A Parallax View@ SLAM CD268.
Live digital recording by Geoff Clout at The Adelphi, Leeds on 21st January 2003.

3. Mysteries’ Mick Beck, Simon Fell & Paul Hession from CD ‘Playing with Tunes’ Bruce’s Fingers CD BF20.
Live recording by Mick Beck at 33 Arts Centre, Luton on 21st February 1996.

4. Making Waves. Paul Hession with live electroacoustic manipulation by Ewan Stefani.
Live recording by Paul Hession at ‘Making Waves 1’, Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall, Leeds University on 12th January 2011.









Promotional documentary compilation. Musicians involved:

Paul Hession, drums
Joe McPhee, saxophone
Mick Beck, tenor saxophone
Simon Fell, double bass
Ewan Stefani, electroacoustic manipulation

Picture by Antje Zeis. Design by Aniana Heras.

Special thanks to George Haslam, Borah Bergman, Dave Caley, Pendlke Hawk Studio, Slam Productions, Geoff Clout, Bruce Fingers, the Centenary Concert Hall - Leeds University & the Centre for Practice-Led Research in the Arts