Playtime is an appropriate title for this posthumous live release of legendary Canterbury progressive jazz-rockers National Health. After the departure of leader/keyboardist Dave Stewart, who liked to dot every "i" and cross every "t," the group indulged in a more spontaneous, improvisational approach. Stewart's replacement Alan Gowen, who would die of leukemia less than two years after these 1979 performances, was just the man to spur on National Health's new direction. Gowen's fluid lead synth lines, as heard on such tracks as "Nowadays a Silhouette" and "Dreams Wide Awake," rivaled Stewart or any other keyboardist of the time.
Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a new re-mastered edition of the classic 1978 debut album by National Health. Evolving from Canterbury stylists Hatfield & the north, National Health featured the talents of Dave Stewart on keyboards, Pip Pyle on drums and Phil Miller on guitar along with guests such as Jimmy Hastings. At various times the group also included such luminaries as Bill Bruford, Mont Campbell and Alan Gowen. Released by Affinity Records in February 1978, the album is a classic of the ‘Canterbury’ style and is sure to be a much sought after release by all aficionados of the genre.
D.S. Al Coda is the third album by the progressive rock and jazz fusion group National Health. It is a tribute to former member Alan Gowen, who died of leukaemia in May 1981, and consists solely of compositions written by him. Most of these had not been recorded in the studio before, although "TNTFX" and "Arriving Twice" both appeared earlier on albums by Gowen's other band Gilgamesh.
National Health were one of those rare English progressive bands whose classic mid-'70s output still sounds fresh today. Their sound prospered on imaginative linear musicality, often in a jazzy format that emphasized extended instrumental solos. Arising during a challenging time when progressive rock was being overtaken by a tidal wave of punk, National Health featured members of other Canterbury and post-Canterbury bands Hatfield and the North (a band considered a Canterbury supergroup in itself), Gilgamesh, and Henry Cow…