With the album Pyramid Love, released on Broken Records in 1977, musician / writer / arranger / producer Craig Peyton introduced the Craig Peyton Group … essentially the nucleus of the group that had constituted Band X on the album The Best of Band X the previous year, horn-player Alan Grzyb and bass player Victor Preston were joined by Willie Upshaw coming in on guitar and Chris Meisel on drums and percussion. Craig’s own credits included Elka Strings and Orgasmitron (!), the latter not Wilhelm Reich’s infamous orgasm-inducing machine but a kind of synthesizer (as of course were the Elka Strings). The album saw Craig take a much jazzier turn after the eclectic leftfield experimentalism of Band X …essentially a return to his roots (Craig was originally a jazz vibraphonist and drummer) this is classic mid-70s fusion.
This album suffered the fate of countless other independent albums of its era, falling between the cracks formed by the division of jazz/soul/funk and rock, but has now become a much sought-after collectable. Craig Peyton himself would go on to attract attention as a solo artist with his idiosyncratic electro cover of William DeVaughan’s Be Thankful (For What You Got) for Profile in the early ‘80s and would have a massive hit on the ‘adult contemporary’ charts with his instrumental Latitude 40 Degrees North in the mid-‘90s. In between, he forged a successful career as a purveyor of incidental music for TV, and produced documentary movies connected with his passion for flying (he has his pilot’s licence). More recently, Craig survived stage IV oesophogal cancer, against all the odds, and not only lived but has told his tale in the book Cloudman. Crucial to his recovery was time spent on water, which began a new chapter for him wherein the seas became as important as the skies.
As music lovers, many of us will be hoping selfishly that Craig returns to dry land long enough to perhaps record some new music under his own name. There was too much talent on display on Pyramid Love not to deliver a follow-up, and even approaching four decades later, we’re sure there would be many followers of Craig’s talents who would relish the chance to hear him do it all again.