|2011 09 March Royston Ellis & Jimmy Page, in front of Ellis' portrait by photographer Ida Kar |
at a private viewing of an Ida Kar exhibit, National Portrait Gallery, London
Memories & Remembrances by Jimmy Page
(Forward to Gone Man Squared)
I can hardly believe the passage of time since I first worked with Royston Ellis more than 50 years ago.
As a young man I was deeply influenced by both the Delta Blues from America and the written word.
Royston had a particularly powerful impact on me when I first read Gone Man Squared. It was nothing like I had ever read before and it conjured the essence and energy of its time. He had the same spirit and openness that the Beat Poets in America had.
When I was offered the chance to back Royston I jumped at the opportunity, particularly when we appeared at the Mermaid Theatre in London in 1961. It was truly remarkable how we were breaking new ground with each reading.
We knew that American Jazz musicians had been backing poets during their readings. Jack Kerouac was using piano to accompany his readings, Lawrence Ferlinghetti teamed with Stan Getz to bring poetry and jazz together.
Playing this type of fusion made me listen very carefully to everything that Royston was saying, it was critical to what I played as I listened with my mind and ears as to what was being read and said, adding a musical interpretation.
It has been a joy for me to sit here and look back at my memories and those wonderful remembrances I have of those early gigs.
Royston, thank you so much for the opportunity then and for the friendship that has followed all these years.
- Jimmy Page