Nigel Mazlyn Jones has released 11 albums since 1976 when he established his ‘Isle of Light Records’ label on which most of his subsequent material has been released. The first two albums ‘Ship to Shore’ 1976 and ‘Sentinel’ 1979 are sought by collectors and were re-released with extra tracks and sleeve notes by Kissing Spell in 2002 and 2008.
Nigel specialises in acoustic 12 string guitars woven with wide dynamics and Glissando bowed styles. He lives and records near the Cornish coast and some of his work reflects this closeness to the elements. There are emotions and edge in the lyrics and the tradition of saying it like it is.
In 1980 a meeting with Van Der Graaf Generator’s drummer percussionist Guy Evans marked the beginning of live and recorded collaborations between them starting with the third album ‘Breaking Cover’ released in 1981.
Nigel says “Living near hundreds of miles of coastline is a good way of getting an over view on life. Getting time in my studio became essential after gigging on the road for over 3 decades across Europe. Being able to explore acoustic guitars, stringed things and strange clay pots and percussion with Guy Evans opened up lots of musical creativity.”
Born in the Black Country in the 1950’s NMJ has been playing guitar since 1962 “I made a guitar from firewood when I was 10 years old. I got a real one when I was twelve. I enjoyed stories, poetry and writing – songs came later. In the sixties I worked part time at Dudley Zoo in the grounds of the castle that dominated the skyline. It was a inspiring place for a teenager stuck in a brutal industrial area”
At 15 he began performing at the Crypt Folk Club in Dudley where in 1966 he met Dan Fone who showed him the finger style guitar playing that he would eventually make his own. Dan, still active today, is a fine acoustic and blues guitarist who recorded with the likes of Clifford T. Ward, Alex Campbell and Bronco.
By the age of 17 Nigel was playing with Rob Lloyd a local musician with a reputation for fluid inventive licks on a Fender Telecaster. Many hours were spent huddled over guitars and the duo performed all across the Midlands and beyond also appearing as residents at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre late night acoustic shows. Nigel also briefly performed with local guitarist Dave Titley and bass player Alan Appleby in the acoustic bands Mosaic and Prince Heathen
In 1969 he moved to the Channel Islands working with the great apes for the conservationist and writer Gerald Durrell. Studying animal behaviour and that of the onlookers he realised that true conservation required a shift in human attitudes and following his love for natural landscapes he eventually settled near the north coast of Cornwall where he still lives.
The influences and ideas of conservation profoundly affected Nigel’s world-view and his music “Those who spoke up in those early days were often ridiculed. We children of the 1950s were haunted by nuclear fears and time has proven that those fears were not groundless. Genetic manipulation and fracking are Pandora’s Box’s and many are obsessed with power, consumption and profit. The Planet gives the raw materials and we give nothing but garbage back. All answers to our survival lie in nature yet we abuse and destroy it. These issues have not improved in my brief lifetime and continue to influence my thinking”
By the early 1980’s NMJ had released three albums and played at most of the clubs and festivals in the UK and Europe whilst back home he served as a voluntary lifeboat crewman off the North coast of Cornwall.
By the mid eighties he had toured as special guest to many well known bands on the UK/European rock circuit, including Argent, America, McGuinness Flint, Hatfield and The North, Camel, Barclay James Harvest, Judy Tzuke and Bob Geldof.
In 1987 he released his fourth album, ‘Water From The Well’ featuring Guy Evans and former Hawkwind member Nik Turner, stretching the song based format by featuring songs on one side and instrumentals on the other. One of the songs, “Papa Echo Alpha Charley Echo” was produced by Nigel Gray, producer of early albums by The Police. In 1989 he released the solo video album ‘Beyond This Point’ with a live sound track and evocative visuals of seascapes and fantasy sequences. In 1991 the solo album ‘Mazlyn Jones’ was released and in 1993 the instrumental album ‘Angels Over Water’.
In 1992 NMJ featured on the BBC Glastonbury documentary “Festival”, collaborated on Roy Harper’s album ‘Once’ and toured as guest on Bob Geldof’s UK tour. He also played the Glastonbury Festival main stage with Guy Evans and Nik Turner.
Throughout the 90’s Nigel and Guy experimented with improvised sets with friends at festivals and in 1997 Voice Print Records released ‘NMJ Live with Guy Evans , Nik Turner and Friends’ a collection of live esoteric collaborations. Nigel also began composing for TV and radio.
In 1998 BBC2 tv made a 15 minute feature of one of his songs ‘Planet for $ale’. By 2007 this had developed into a ferocious album featuring Steve Hillage, Guy Evans and Banco De Gaia with profits going to charities. The title says it all. (See You Tube)
2000 saw the release of the very acoustic album ‘Behind the Stone’ featuring songs performed through the nineties. From 1996 to now he has also renovated two barns which now serve as home and studio.
‘Raft’ the 2014 album marks a return to his 12 string guitar roots.
His history proves his love of nature and this comes across strongly in his lyrics and instrumentals as does his refusal to be compromised and sidetracked from his view of life which has never wavered “its one small planet we are all on and we rapidly need to get it together and look after it better before it turns on us all”