Tuesday 5 July 2022, 8pm

Photo by Dawid Laskowski

ALEX WARD ITEMS 6 & 7 – WITH CHARLOTTE KEEFFE / OTTO WILLBERG / ANDREW LISLE / BENEDICT TAYLOR / HANNAH MARSHALL / SARAH GAIL BRAND / RACHEL MUSSON / CATH ROBERTS

£14 £12 Advance £7 MEMBERS

The latest iterations in Alex Ward's Item Series take as their basis the line-up of his Item 4 quartet (Ward/Charlotte Keeffe/Otto Willberg/Andrew Lisle) and expand its instrumentation in particular ways - Item 6 add the strings of Benedict Taylor and Hannah Marshall for a deftly-balanced chamber ensemble, while Item 7 brings on board Sarah Gail Brand, Rachel Musson and Cath Roberts for a powerhouse 4-horn-led formation. The program will feature an entirely new set of compositions written by Alex specifically for these groupings.

"Ward is an avant-garde sound designer via odd metrics, and geometrical configurations that pounce on you and deflect off walls at warp speed." – Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

1st set - Item 6:
Charlotte Keeffe / trumpet and flugelhorn
Andrew Lisle / drums
Hannah Marshall / cello
Benedict Taylor / viola
Alex Ward / clarinet
Otto Willberg / double bass

2nd set - Item 7:
Sarah Gail Brand / trombone
Charlotte Keeffe / trumpet and flugelhorn
Andrew Lisle / drums
Rachel Musson / tenor sax
Cath Roberts / baritone sax
Alex Ward / electric guitar
Otto Willberg / double bass

Alex Ward

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 includes the avant-rock duo Dead Days Beyond Help in which he plays guitar, sings and co-writes the material; various groups which perform his compositions-for-improvisers including Forebrace, the Alex Ward Quintet/Sextet, and the Item series of ensembles (the first of which, Item 10, debuted at Cafe Oto in September 2017); and improvising collaborations both regular and ad-hoc with musicians including Steve Noble, Dominic Lash, Kay Grant, Joe Morris and Weasel Walter. Besides his own groups and improvisational work, he also performs in ensembles including the Duck Baker Trio/Quartet, Thurston Moore’s recent multi-guitar projects Galaxies and New Noise Guitar Explorations, and Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward’s This Is Not This Heat. 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. Much of his work is documented on the label Copepod, which he co-runs with Luke Barlow.
 
"...guitarist Alex Ward [is] a compulsively creative polymath... a reliably unpredictable axe-hero for collaborators of all backgrounds." Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times Review

Charlotte Keeffe

British musician, trumpeter/flugelhorn player Charlotte Keeffe’s passion for free improvisation, jazz and experimental music-making sees her performing regularly as a soloist and leading a variety of different ensembles, including her own Quartet.

(The) Charlotte Keeffe Quartet (CKQ) performed a sellout performance at Lancaster Jazz Festival in 2019 and their live recording from Jazz in the Round has been featured on radio shows around the world. Her Quartet is Ashley John Long (Paul Dunmall collaborator) on double bass, Ben Handysides on drums, Moss Freed (Let Spin) on guitar and herself on trumpet and flugelhorn; they explore merging together Charlotte’s more composed music with freely improvising.

Fresh from playing London’s Café OTO, Newcastle, Birmingham, Sheffield and the London Jazz Festival; CKQ are delighted to be continuing their UK tour in 2022, celebrating the release of Charlotte’s debut album, Right Here, Right Now, which features a selection of her improvised works for solo, duo, quartet and (the) London Improvisers Orchestra, it’s out now on the Discus Music record label...[more]

https://www.charlottekeeffe.com/

Otto Willberg

Otto Willberg is a improvisor who lives in London and plays the Double Bass and Bass Guitar. Otto currently plays with include Ashley Pauls trio (ray), Yes Indeed (with Laurie Tompkins), and the band - Historically Fucked. Otto maintains a website called www.bootlegspatialrecall.net which is an open/publicly sourced archive of public space reverbs. He also has a solo recording ‘Barbaric Mystical Bored’ which is released on Why Eye. www.ottowillberg.com

Andrew Lisle

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, Lisle/Edwards/Downes trio, SAL Trio (Serries/Amado/Lisle) to name a few.
http://www.andrewlisle.com/

Benedict Taylor

Benedict Taylor is a solo violist, violinist & composer, working in improvised and new music. As an improviser he likes to play and record with many super people, and over the years has worked with; Keith Tippett, Evan Parker, Terry Day, Lauren Kinsella, Lawrence Upton, Alex Ward, Cath Roberts, Tom Jackson, Renee Baker, Paul Dunmall, Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg, Dirk Serries, Steve Beresford, Angharad Davies, Neil Luck, John Edwards, Ivor Kallin, Anton Mobin, Hannah Marshall, David Leahy, Adam de la Cour, Alison Blunt, Chris Cundy, Daniel Thompson, Kit Downes, Yves Charuest, Alexander Hawkins, Tom Challenger, Miya, Tetsu Saito, Erika Sofia Sollo, Gianni Mimmo, Stephen Crowe, Marcello Magliocchi amongst others.

Festival, venue and radio appearances include; Spontaneous Music Festival Poland, BBC Radio 3, Jazz en Nord Festival France, BBC Radio Late Junction, Cafe Oto, The Vortex, London Contemporary Music Festival, Tete a Tete Opera Festival, Ronnie Scott's, Aldeburgh Festival, Galway Jazz Festival, Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte Montepulciano, Southbank Centre, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Fête de la Musique Berlin, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Manchester International Festival, Royal Court Theatre, Trafalgar Studios, Manchester Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Festival, BBC Radio 2, Resonance FM, Radio Libertaire - Epsilonia - Paris, Rotterdam Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Berlinale, Palm Springs Film Festival, London Film Festival.

He has an annual ongoing series of solo string albums, investigating the viola and violin in all manner of ways.

https://benedicttaylor.bandcamp.com/

Hannah Marshall

Hannah Marshall is a cellist who is continuing to extract, invent, and exorcize as many sounds and emotional qualities from her instrument as she can. She has been a regular member of Alexander Hawkins’ Ensembles and has toured in Europe and South America with Luc Ex and Veryan Weston’s ensembles – SOL 6 & 12. She plays with ‘String Terrorists’ - Barrel (a trio with Violinist Alison Blunt & Violist/poet Ivor kallin). And has been invited by Fred Frith and Suichi Chino in their residencies at café Oto. She also plays with Terry Day, Tim Hodgkinson, Roger Turner, Paul May, Kay Grant, and the London Improvisers Orchestra. 

Sarah Gail Brand

Described by The Wire magazine as “the most exciting trombone player for years” Sarah Gail Brand has recorded and performed on the international Improvised Music and Jazz scene since the early 1990s with Mark Sanders, John Edwards, Elton Dean, Evan Parker, Phil Minton, Veryan Weston, Lol Coxhill, Maggie Nicols, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Beresford, Georg Graewe, writer and comedian Stewart Lee and countless others. Sarah fronts her own tunes quartet (Sarah Gail Brand Sextet), has a long standing duo with drummer Mark Sanders, and a trio with John Edwards and Steve Beresford and continues to work as a soloist and in ad hoc ensembles. As well as being a composer, Sarah’s trombone work ranges from playing Improvised Music and Jazz, studio session work to arranging & playing in pop and rock music. Sarah is a music therapist and a professor of Improvisation at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London and leads workshops on improvisation around the world. Recordings of Sarah Gail’s work can be found on the Emanem and regardless record labels.

Rachel Musson

Rachel Musson is a saxophonist, improviser and composer living in London, UK. She is involved with a variety of improvisation projects, and works regularly with Mark Sanders, Pat Thomas, Hannah Marshall, Julie Kjaer, Corey Mwamba, Olie Brice, Alex Ward, Alex Hawkins amongst others. She features on several releases, including a nonet featuring her composition 'I Went This Way' (577 Records), two with Shifa, feat. Pat Thomas and Mark Sanders, (577 Records), one with Mark Sanders and John Edwards (Two Rivers Records), trio with Liam Noble and Mark Sanders (Babel), and Corey Mwamba (Takuroku).

"A free-improviser sensitive to melody-like narrative and dramatic pacing" – John Fordham, The Guardian

Cath Roberts

Cath Roberts’ work explores free improvisation, composition and the music at their meeting point. Her primary outlet as a composer and improviser on baritone saxophone is the band Sloth Racket, which has toured widely and released several albums. As bandmate, Cath is a member of several groups including Madwort Sax Quartet, Article XI and MoonMot. She has a long-standing duo with guitarist Anton Hunter (Ripsaw Catfish), as well as regular collaborations with Tullis Rennie, Benedict Taylor, Otto Willberg, Seth Bennett and others. Cath co-runs LUME with Dee Byrne, producing concerts, tours and festivals since 2013 and releasing music on their offshoot label Luminous. With Tom Ward and Colin Webster she organises BRÅK, an improvised music series taking place in Brockley, South East London.

https://cathrobots.co.uk/

Photo by Dawid Laskowski