As eccentric and outspoken as he is talented and well-connected, Jaz Coleman is best known with rock circles for his vocal contributions to the long-running and ever-shifting beast that is Killing Joke, the post punk/ industrial/ metal band he co-founded in 1978. A hugely pioneering outfit, the group have influenced artists as wide-ranging as Nirvana, Metallica, Fear Factory, Amebix and Ministry and are still going strong, their new album MMXII proving a storming follow up to 2010’s Absolute Dissent, a record that reunited the original line-up with explosive results.
But as well as his acclaimed work in the band, Jaz has managed to forge an equally successful career in classical composition. Beginning his studies in the early 80s, after departing to Iceland to survive what he believed was the oncoming apocalypse, he would go on to work with a dizzying array of highly-accomplished artists and musicians including Nigel Kennedy, Sarah Brightman, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Prague Symphony Orchestra. His achievements saw him given the role of Composer in Residence for the European Union in 2006 and four years later he was knighted by the French government for his contribution to contemporary music, decorated with the impressive-sounding ‘medal of Chevalier of Arts and Letters’.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising that when we caught up with Jaz in his favourite hotel, The Columbia in Lancaster Gate (an establishment who still treat Jaz as a guest of honour despite him once causing a flood by falling asleep with the bath running, a situation he chose to deal with by climbing out onto the fire escape and fleeing the scene) many of his Baker’s Dozen choices came from well outside the sphere of pop or rock music. Indeed, narrowing it down to thirteen choices was no easy task and in many cases the choices came down individual pieces of music as opposed to entire releases.
As Jaz himself explained between draws on his trademark cigars; “I’m not sure I like any albums all the way through - as Youth will tell you, I don’t listen to music and I don’t buy records!”
Click the link to start the Baker’s Dozen countdown.