‘SOLO SOPRANO- A PORTRAIT OF LOL COXHILL’  is latest venture by film maker Helen Petts and following its successful launch at the Full of Noises Festival, the film tours to Tusk Festival, Newcastle, London Jazz Festival and Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra Festival.

Versalites feat Rico Rodrigues & Lol Coxhill  Photography: Cordelia Weedon

Versalites feat Rico Rodrigues (l) & Lol Coxhill (r) Photography: Cordelia Weedon

‘Solo Soprano – A Portrait of Lol Coxhill’ explores the nature of creativity, artistic integrity, improvisation and ageing. It is a film that connects intimately with its subject – a  much loved and leading light of the international “improv” scene who passed away last year.  Lol Coxhill was a renowned wit and a great musician. Though known for his free wheeling solo improvisations Lol also worked with a diverse array of artists including Rufus Thomas, Kevin Ayers, the Damned and film directors Sally Potter and Derek Jarman.

This intimate portrait of the saxophonist features a 30 minute solo from the 2009 Freedom of the City Festival in London intercut with archive footage from a documentary made in 1972 by leading feature film editor Mick Audsley and with Helen Petts’ own recordings made over the last 6 years of his life. She filmed Lol in many public and private performances and shot footage of his personal archive of music, instruments, toys and ephemera. This archive forms the basis of a very personal film.

Helen Petts is a British artist film-maker. One recent commission, Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing, explored sounds and landscapes from the world of Kurt Schwitters and was shown earlier this year at Tate Britain and Trondheim Contemporary Art Centre. However, over the last 5 years Helen has focused on the experimental / free improvised music scene in the UK and Europe. Her work has been screened in art galleries, on TV and international music festivals. Check out Helen’s hugely popular Youtube site ( which is devoted to showing this work along with live performances.

13 October. TUSK Festival, Star and Shadow Cinema Newcastle. Single cinema screening.
15,16, 17 November. London Jazz Festival, Cafe Oto Project Space. Installation 12-8pm. Free entry.
5pm Saturday 15 November artist’s talk – Helen Petts, Mick Audsley (tbc) and musician Steve Beresford.
28,29,30 November. Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra Festival, Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow.

Lol Coxhill photo:

About Paul Brad

Freelance journalist / Publisher / Editor - Straight No Chaser magazine / Editor - L FM : Broadcasting In A Pandemic - Gilles Peterson (Worldwide FM) / Publisher: From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: A History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene by Mark 'Snowboy' Cotgrove / Music Fan: Interplanetary Sounds: Ancient to Future / Cultural Event Consultant & Activist / Nei Jia practitioner
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