The Whole Earth Consort was formed in 1987 with Ry Brown on violin, Clark Jamison on tabla (Indian drum) and me on keyboards (mainly piano, but with a stack of synthesizers for accent). Rich Niebaum joined us on guitar at our first concert, and Gerald Trimble played cittern on several later concerts. The rest of the time we performed as a trio. Our structure, borrowed from Indian classical music and American jazz, was to play a theme (mostly Ry's) then take turns improvising around the theme. We didn't perform together for very long, but the response was extremely enthusiastic, including an album that was well received and a feature article in the Journal World.
The Whole Earth Consort was a great band. It was solid with the three of us, but when Gerald Trimble was sitting in it was the best band I've ever been in. He is largely responsible for introducing cittern to the world and achieved a level of expertise that remains unsurpassed to this day. A bootleg CD of our 1989 concert at the old Lawrence Arts Center with Gerald on cittern and Paul Matthews on African talking drum is still making the rounds. This was one of the last concerts Gerald ever did on cittern. We each took a slot to perform alone, and his solo cittern performance was an amazing improvisation that started with a traditional Celtic tune and ended with free-form jazz.