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Listen To A Piece Of CM History!

We recently discovered a previously lost recording of CM co-founder John Stevens and a group of musicians performing a piece from his Search and Reflect workshop handbook.

John Stevens was an English jazz drummer who became one of the most significant figures in early free jazz improvisation after being inspired by US players like Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman.

He helped form the Spontaneous Music Ensemble in the mid 60’s and also played in groups alongside musicians like Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott.

In 1983 John Stevens and Dave O’Donnell established Community Music (CM) in order to take his improvisation based approach to music making into the community, running workshops in youth clubs, community centres and mental health institutions.

In 1985, John’s ideas and notes taken from these sessions were turned into a workshop manual for the Open University called ‘Search and Reflect’.

The principles and exercises outlined in Search and Reflect remain core to the ethos of CM to this day and material from the handbook is still taught on the Creative Music Production & Business and Music Leader Training courses.

Uncovering a lost recording of one of our most frequently taught Search and Reflect pieces, ‘Now Time’, was like excavating a hoard of buried treasure!



The recording dates back to 1990/91 and was performed by a group of musicians featuring John Stevens on drums and Danny Thompson on double bass.

The rest of the musicians who played on the recording are a mystery to us, but if anyone can help us identify them, please do get in touch!

John Stevens passed away in 1994 but his legacy remains strong.

CM celebrated our 30th year in 2013 and we continue to work in the community and beyond, supporting musicians from all backgrounds.

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