Tenor saxophonist Glenn Spearman's sound was rooted in '60s and '70s free jazz, and he was a central figure of the new jazz scene of California's Bay Area. He first got involved in the avant-garde music scene in the Oakland area in the late '60s. In 1972, he went to Paris, where he founded his group, Emergency; they had several releases on the label Brain up through the mid-'70s, performed on French radio and television, and at the Avignon festival among other venues. After this, he was artist-in-residence at Rotterdam, leading and composing for the student orchestra. He toured Europe with various musicians, and by 1983, was back in the States. Spearman then became a member of the Cecil Taylor Unit, and Taylor's New York-based Big Band and Dance Orchestra. In 1984, he relocated back to the Bay Area while continuing to perform all over North America and Europe. In the '90s, Spearman led his Double Trio, which included such excellent musicians as Larry Ochs (of Rova Saxophone Quartet), percussionist William Winant, and bassist Lisle Ellis. The Double Trio performed at jazz festivals, including Monterey and Vancouver International, was nominated by the San Francisco Weekly for a "Whammie Music Award" in 1995, and was commissioned for a composition and performance for the Move Dance Theatre (performed at Laney College). Spearman also collaborated with Rova, and served as concertmaster for their Ascension Project (John Coltrane's music), which was recorded for Black Saint. In 1996, Spearman's Double Trio was invited to perform and record at Germany's West Ferman Radio of Cologne. That same year, Spearman collaborated with Bay Area filmmaker Lynn Kiby. In addition to performing and recording music, Spearman taught private students and at Mills College for at least four years in the '90s.
Sadly, in October 1998, Glenn Spearman died of cancer. The following year, the label Tzadik released Blues for Falasha, the final recording of Spearman's Double Trio. ~ Joslyn Layne