Saturday 1 September 2018, 8pm, OTO Project Space
The Alex Ward Item Series was launched in September 2017 at Cafe Oto with the debut performance by ITEM 10, Ward's first foray into the world of composition for large ensemble. Now follows the second group in the series - ITEM 4, a quartet consisting of Alex on clarinet and guitar, Charlotte Keeffe on trumpet and flugelhorn, Otto Willberg on double bass and Andrew Lisle on drums. All the members were also participants in the Item 10 performance (the Item Series being conceived as a pool of musicians from which various sizes of ensemble can be drawn for different musical ends), and are amongst the most idiosyncratic and distinctive improvisers on the current UK scene. In writing for the group, Alex's aim was to exert as minimal limitation on the players' interaction and invention as possible, while still giving rise to a music distinct from that which would come about through pure improvisation - in this case, the means to achieving this was a conception of compositional materials as akin to emotional landmarks in an otherwise wide-open terrain... concentrates of melodic/harmonic information whose structural and affective characteristics resonate through the musical whole without controlling or defining it.
Alex Ward / clarinet, guitar and compositions
Andrew Lisle / drums
Charlotte Keeffe / trumpet and flugelhorn
Otto Willberg / double bass
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.
"...guitarist Alex Ward [is] a compulsively creative polymath of indiscriminately omnivorous appetite ... a reliably unpredictable axe-hero for collaborators of all backgrounds." Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times Review
Trumpeter/Flugelhorn player Charlotte Keeffe plays regularly in the London Improvisers Orchestra and and has shared Concert bills/performed alongside the likes of John Edwards, Henry Lowther, Steve Noble, John Butcher, Steve Beresford and Mark Sanders. Charlotte performs as a Soloist and as part of her Trio, Space Painters, with Guitarists - Joe Smith Sands and Diego Sampieri. She has a Duo with Trumpeter Kim Macari Stone-Lonergan and is part of Discus Music’s Martin Archer's Hi-Res Art Quintet and Anthropology Ensemble. eature Martin Archer on sax, Dave Kane on bass, Laura Cole on piano, Graham Clark on violin and Peter Fairclough on drums, Corey Mwamba on vibraphone, Chris Sharkey on guitar and Pat Thomas on keys and electronics. She has assisted Guitarist John Russell with establishing the Mopomoso Workshop Group/MoWo.
Otto Willberg is a London based musician performing on the Double Bass. He currently performs with the funk/junk/punk band Historically Fucked, Alex Ward’s large groups, Andreae/Birchall///Willberg and leads the naive groove group Early Nite.
Andrew Lisle is a drummer based in London. During a period of two years living and playing in Lisbon, Portugal he spent much of his time at the Clean Feed Records' base of operations Trem Azul. Here he was able to develop his playing and collaborate with some of the city's veteran improvisers including Rodrigo Pinheiro (Red Trio), Hernani Faustino (Red Trio) and Rodrigo Amado among others. Since moving to London in 2013 his powerfully dynamic playing has established him as a sought-after drummer on the improvised music scene, performing and recording with some of the most innovative musicians in the UK and Europe. These include John Edwards, Seymour Wright, Alex Ward, Simon Rose, Alan Wilkinson, Kier Neuringer, Matthew Bourne, Dominic Lash, Rachel Musson and Mark Sanders. On-going projects to date include Kodian trio, Colin Webster/Andrew Lisle, Roland Ramanan 10-tet and Rose/Thompson/Lisle to name a few.