The unstoppable power trio of Steve Noble (Drums), John Edwards (Bass) and Alex Ward (Guitar) return to Cafe OTO alongside first time appearances from three of New York's finest musicians - Taylor Ho Bynum (Trumpet), Mary Halvorson (Guitar) and Tomas Fujiwara (Drums) for an unbeatable double-header of creative music.
STEVE NOBLE / drums
Steve Noble is London's leading drummer, a fearless and constantly inventive improviser whose super-precise, ultra-propulsive and hyper-detailed playing has galvanized encounters with Derek Bailey, Matthew Shipp, Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Stephen O'Malley, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, Rhodri Davies and many, many more.
In the early eighties, Noble played with the Nigerian master drummer Elkan Ogunde, Rip Rig and Panic, Brion Gysin and the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, before going on to work with the pianist Alex Maguire and with Derek Bailey (including Company Weeks 1987, 89 and 90). He was featured in the Bailey's excellent TV series on Improvisation for Channel 4 based on his book ‘Improvisation; its nature and practise’. He has toured and performed throughout Europe, Africa and America and currently leads the groups N.E.W (with John Edwards and Alex Ward) and DECOY (with John Edwards and Alexander Hawkins).
"There’s as much rock here as jazz- Ward is all spidery glissandi and slashing power chords. Edwards is a dark magus of a bass player thundering against the elements, while Noble is a violent, malevolent presence. A white- knuckle ride you’ll be glad to take!” (Duncan Heinig- Jazzwise)
JOHN EDWARDS / double bass
John Edwards is a true virtuoso whose staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role, whether playing solo or with others. Perpetually in demand, he has played with Evan Parker, Sunny Murray, Derek Bailey, Joe McPhee, Lol Coxhill, Peter Brötzmann, Mulatu Astatke and many others.
Alex Ward is a composer, improviser, and performing musician, working primarily with clarinet and guitar.
His involvement in freely improvised music dates back to 1986, when he met the guitarist Derek Bailey. He subsequently took part regularly in Bailey's Company events, and has gone on to become a major figure in British improvised music.
His current work ranges from the duo Dead Days Beyond Help, in which he plays guitar and sings, his group Predicate who perform his compositions, regular improvising groups with Steve Noble, Kay Grant and others, as well as more ad hoc encounters with musicians as diverse as Thurston Moore, Joe Morris and Duck Baker.
He brings a unique energy and inventiveness to all these projects, elevating them far above the ordinary and injecting them with a thrilling sense of danger and possibility.
"The bass player John Edwards turns up on the best British free-jazz recordings. The drummer Steve Noble cleaves through improvisatory rumblings with dramatic, decisive moves. And the guitarist Alex Ward, a compulsively creative polymath of indiscriminately omnivorous appetite, is a reliably unpredictable axe-hero for collaborators of all backgrounds. The trio’s second record posits a bricolage bebop, an ugly ecstatic jazz, played on sheet metal, broken glass and barbed wire. Coming Up for Air bubbles like an electric soup, and an elastically extended Empty Ballroom finds Edwards and Noble stretching back to catapult Ward’s electric guitar far beyond the gravitational pull of Planet Rock." ( Stewart Lee) Bo’Weavil WEAVIL 30CD Deadeye Tricksters: The Sunday Times Review
TAYLOR HO BYNUM / cornet, brass
Taylor Ho Bynum is a performer on cornet and various brass instruments, composer, bandleader, and interdisciplinary collaborator with artists in dance, film, and theater. Critics have called him “a young brass master and compelling composer” (Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix), “one of the most exciting figures in jazz’s new power generation” (Steve Dollar, Time Out Chicago), and “one of his generation’s top avant-garde figures” (Phillip Lutz, The New York Times). In City Arts, David Adler writes “Bynum is a quick-witted and virtuosic player, steeped in the flutters, growls and extended techniques associated with the late Bill Dixon, the tunefulness of Don Cherry and bluesy humor of Lester Bowie”; in the Guardian (UK) John Fordam describes his work as “splicing the slurs and bluesy elisions of the earliest jazz brass players into the spiky phrasing and rhythm-pattern conundrums of contemporary music.”
Bynum leads his Sextet and the chamber ensemble SpiderMonkey Strings, co-leads the little big band Positive Catastrophe with Abraham Gomez-Delgado, and works with many collective ensembles including a duo with Tomas Fujiwara, The Thirteenth Assembly, Book of Three, The Convergence Quartet, and Quartet Collective. Bynum’s ongoing association with Anthony Braxton is recognized as one of the most fruitful partnerships of that iconic composer’s long career, and his work with Bill Dixon produced some of the departed trumpet innovator’s late masterpieces. He has collaborated with other legendary figures including Cecil Taylor and Wadada Leo Smith, and regularly performs with forward thinking peers like Gerald Cleaver, Mary Halvorson, John Hebert, Jason Hwang, Myra Melford, Nicole Mitchell, Joe Morris, and Tyshawn Sorey. In addition, he is the vice president of Dave Douglas’s Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music), a founding partner of Firehouse 12 Records, and the president of Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation.
Bynum’s compositions have been documented on over a dozen critically-acclaimed recordings, including the 2011 album Apparent Distance, described by Nate Chinen in the New York Times as “all seductively challenging, full of standout moments that nevertheless dissolve into the whole.” His work has received support from New Music USA, Chamber Music America, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the NEA, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the French American Cultural Exchange, and he has toured as bandleader, composer, and performer throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia.
Guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson has been active in New York since 2002, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. Critics have called Ms. Halvorson “NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts), “the most forward-thinking guitarist working right now” (Lars Gotrich, NPR.org) and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Francis Davis, Village Voice). In addition to her longstanding trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith, and her quintet, which adds trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon, Ms. Halvorson also co-leads a chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, the avant-rock band People and the collective ensembles Thumbscrew, Reverse Blue and Secret Keeper. She is also an active member of bands led by Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Curtis Hasselbring, Ingrid Laubrock, Myra Melford, Marc Ribot, Tom Rainey and Matthew Welch among others.
Tomas Fujiwara was born and raised in Boston. At the age of seven, he fell in love with music while listening to the classic drum battle record, Rich versus Roach. He has worked as a leader of and composer for various ensembles, as a sideman, as a composer for theatre, film, and dance, and as a teacher and clinician. Current projects, in addition to The Hook Up, include a working duo with Taylor Ho Bynum, whose recent release Stepwise was a followup to their 2007 482 Music release, and The Thirteenth Assembly, with Halvorson, Ho Bynum and Jessica Pavone. His credits as a sideman include work with Matana Roberts, Ideal Bread, Amir El Saffar, Red Barat, Matt Bauder, and Positive Catstrophe. With "a quiet energy that propels" (All About Jazz) and a style that is "both volatile and watchful", Tomas Fujiwara's "alert drumming has propelled some excellent ensembles on the new-music landscape"