circa 1969 - 1971
Jazz Rock / Progressive
Line up: Kevin Harrison - guitar, Gary Curtain - drums, John Westacott - bass, Mick Gawthorp - Alto sax, flute & vocals, Martin Barter (keyboards). Later Nick Trevisick joined on drums. Rick Woods (Trumpet)
Barter went on to Just Jake with John Alderson ex-Wandering John.
Kevin tells us: "We were basically a progressive jazz-rock group playing tricky time signatures. I remember playing some dodgy venues, but we (mostly) fared well with local audiences."
Whistler were often seen to be rehearsing, hanging out or playing at the Coventry arts Umbrella. Among many local venues they played the Warwick University Arts festival in 1971 on Sunday March 7th with Skin Alley, Pink Fairies, Bubastis and Asgard.
In terms of recordings Mick Gawthorpe commented on Vox in 2007 " I'll speak to Kev about whatever recordings might be possible, but we did record something at a studio in (either) Snitterton or Snitterfield." (Ed the studio was in Snitterfield)
This is Kevin Harrison's musical history http://marzimprint.co.uk/history/index.html
An extract from it about the lead up to forming Whistler
" 68-72 - I'm at the local Art School, fall in love with Pop-Art, Dadaism, Girls, Cigarettes and Alcohol. I get into trouble with girls parents, play my battered acoustic guitar and go to see and hear lots of good bands at 'Mothers', in Erdington. Psychedelic/underground music is now de rigueur and a passion, so, bored with the snobby and strait jacketed conventions of further education I decide instead to rent an Art Studio in Stockingford with my friends Geoff and Aidan. Geoff & I play a bit ofacid-folk & record a demo at Fresh Maggots Mick Burgoyne's Home studio (Incredible String Band, Third Ear Band, Tyrannosaurus Rex are an inspiration), I then join 'Whistler', and play some progressive jazz-rock with tricky time signatures (Mothers of Invention, Caravan, Softs)"
Kevin Harrison - Whistler c 1969 - 70
Lynda Harrison - Whistler
Mick Gawthorpe - Sax and flute
John Westacott - screen left- bass pictured here with later band Urge.
From Mick Gawthorpe's archive
Whistler's film project (from the above cutting)
Music for the Fools
An all instrumental Coventry pop group hasbeen asked to write the score for an american surrealist film.
The group - comprising Kevin Harrison (guitar), Michael Gawthorpe (Flute, alto sax), Rick Woods (Trumpet) and John Westacott (bass), met the californian director of the film through a mutual friend.
Mr Howard Minshk listened to them play their avant garde jazz and rock music...and the group - Whistler - got the job.
The film Le Compte De Foix (The Count of Fools) will probably last for two and half hours. Whistler will write one and a half hours of music for the film, which will be shown throughout universities in the States.
From Coventry evening Telegraph - Diary page c 1969 / 70