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A Short Bio:
A highly original musician with an instantly recognizable style, Gary Windo was marginally involved with the Canterbury scene in the Seventies. Most notable was his work with Robert Wyatt on the albums Rock Bottom (1974) and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975), and Hugh Hopper on 1984 (1973) and Hoppertunity Box (1976). He was also a member of the Carla Bley band for three years.
Windo was born in England in a musical family, and began playing music at a very early age. He took up drums and accordion at six, then guitar at 12 and finally saxophone at 17. He settled in the USA in 1960, studying tenor sax and music theory with Wayne Marsh and Lennie Tristano. A long period of apprenticeship, both on- and off-stage, followed during the Sixties, until he finally decided to move back to England in 1969.
After jamming in London jazz clubs with musicians like Johnny Griffin, Chick Corea and Jimmy Ruffin, Windo rapidly became a fixture of the scene. In March 1970, he took part in an all-star jam session with Jack Bruce, Mitch Mitchell, Brian Auger and Graham Bond. And later that year he joined several jazz ensembles : Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, Keith Tippett's 50-piece orchestra Centipede, and Symbiosis, a jamming band featuring Mongezi Feza, Roy Babbington and Robert Wyatt.
Having played pub gigs with guitarist Ray Russell's heavy-rock trio The Running Man, Windo recruited Russell for his own Gary Windo Quartet, which also featured Mongezi Feza on trumpet and Alan Rushton on drums. In the Summer of 1972, he played on Hugh Hopper's first solo album, 1984, and the following year formed the jazz quartet WMWM with Robert Wyatt, pianist Dave MacRae and bassist Ron Matthewson. He almost became a member of the new line-up of Wyatt's Matching Mole, before Wyatt had his accident and the project was shelved. However, Windo appeared on his subsequent albums Rock Bottom and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard.
Meanwhile, Windo kept touring with Brotherhood of Breath and Centipede, and formed Gary Windo & Friends, with his wife Pam Windo on piano, guitarist Richard Brunton and the rhythm section of Bill MacCormick and Nick Mason. This line-up played its sole gig at Maidstone College of Arts in November 1975, but was the precursor to Windo's Steam Radio Tapes project, recorded between 1976 and 1978 but never completed. Among the participants were, along with the aforementioned, Julie Tippetts, Robert Wyatt, Steve Hillage and Hugh Hopper.
In May 1976, Windo played on Hopper's album Hoppertunity Box, and followed him into Carla Bley's band, in time for the European Tour 1977 album. But while Hopper left to return to England, Windo followed Bley in America, playing on Musique Mécanique as well as various related projects - Michael Mantler's More Movies, Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports... While in New York he also recorded the album Loaded Vinyl, with Pam Windo and CBB members Steve Swallow and D. Sharpe, but again it remained unreleased; and he appeared on Daevid Allen's New York Gong album, About Time.
Windo spent subsequent years in America, doing copious session work as well as incidental music for TV shows such as "Saturday Night Live", touring as special guest with NRBQ and the Psychedelic Furs. He also played with Pam Windo & The Shades, and recorded his first released solo album, Dogface (1982). Between 1984-88 he led his own rock quartet, the Gary Windo Band, with Knox Chandler (guitar), Jack Robinson (bass) and Steve Moses (drums). The album Deep Water (1987), released on Island Records, resulted.
From the late Eighties onwards, Windo resumed teaching and kept gigging with various bands. Having met writer Michael King while the latter was doing reasearch for his book Wrong Movements - A Robert Wyatt Discography, he started dusting off old tapes and assembling a compilation album of unreleased material recorded with various line-ups, both as sideman and leader. The title His Master's Bones had been chosen when Windo died of a heart failure triggered by an asthma attack, in 1992. The project was finally completed by King and released in 1996 by Cuneiform Records. A second volume of archive recordings appeared in 2004 on the same label, under the title Anglo-American.