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Wednesday 6 July 2016, 8pm

Photo by Dawid Laskowski


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Rachel Musson / tenor sax
Alex Ward / clarinet and electric guitar
Olie Brice / double bass
Steve Noble / drums

The Alex Ward Quartet is the latest incarnation of a flexibly-sized ensemble formed by Alex to explore various ways of combining improvisation with composed material. The project began in 2013 with the writing of the extended quintet composition "Glass Shelves And Floor", which premiered at the Cafe Oto Project Space in August of that year. The ensemble was subsequently expanded to a sextet, and the 2015 release "Projected/Entities/Removal" featured another extended work for the full line-up alongside two pieces for trios drawn from the sextet's personnel. Following up on this use of smaller sub-groupings to explore specific aspects of the ensemble's music in greater depth, the Alex Ward Quartet draws inspiration from the propulsive momentum and detailed interplay which characterises the classic small-group free-jazz tradition, without specific emulation of its stylistic conventions.

Elliot Galvin

Born in 1991, Elliot Galvin is a London based jazz pianist, composer and collaborator. From de-constructing standards to creating his own mirco-tonal melodica, Galvin’s music is both playful and deadly serious drawing on a wide range of influences from Keith Jarrett to Stravinsky, Ligeti, Deerhoof and the Beatles as well as the films of David Lynch, the Dada movement and the literature of James Joyce.

His main artistic vehicle is the Elliot Galvin Trio, who in 2014 were announced as the winners of the European Young Jazz Artist of the Year Award in Germany. That same year they released their debut album ‘Dreamland’ to rave reviews, with the Guardian calling it “audaciously accomplished” ****; Jez Nelson (BBC Radio 3, Jazz on 3) saying it was “perhaps one of the strongest debuts that I’ve heard from a UK artist in a long while… extremely bold and progressive”; and The German Jazz Magazine ‘JazzThing’ naming it as one of its albums of the year. They will release their new album 'PUNCH' on the 29th July 2016 on Edition Records.

Elliot is a prolific composer and has been commissioned by a number of ensembles, dance companies, theatre groups and festivals including the Ligeti String Quartet, St. John Smith’s Square, The London Jazz Festival, The RESOLUTION! Dance Festival at The Place and the Theatre Company Cut Tongues. He works regularly with multi-media and in 2014 put on an installation piece of at the Turner Contemporary Gallery, which consisted of live performance, interactive sound sculptures and film. The Vanderbilts is a theatre music ensemble that performs Elliot's work.
Elliot features on a number of critically acclaimed albums including his soon to be released duo with Mark Sanders, Laura Jurd’s Landing Ground, Chaos Orchestra’s Island Mentality, Phil Meadow’s Engines Orchestra and Huw William’s Hon. He is a co-founder of the Chaos Collective, an organization and record label, which provides a platform for original improvised music, composition and collaborative performance in the UK, putting on festivals and having a monthly residency for new music.

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

Rachel Musson

Rachel Musson is a saxophonist, improviser and composer living in London, UK. She is involved with a variety of improvisation projects, including a trio with Hannah Marshall and Julie Kjaer, a duo with bassist Olie Brice, and a trio with Mark Sanders and John Edwards who have released a recent album Bibimbap (Two Rivers Records). Rachel also features on a trio album due to be released this summer 2019 with Pat Thomas and Mark Sanders (577 Records), and a quartet album later in 2019 with William Parker, Daniel Carter and Federico Ughi (577 Records). She plays regularly on the London and International improvised music and free jazz scene.

Olie Brice

Olie Brice is an improvising double bassist from London. He leads two bands - a quintet that plays his original compositions and a freely improvising trio featuring Tobias Delius and Mark Sanders. He has also worked with musicians including Paul Dunmall, Tony Malaby, Steve Swell, Achim Kaufmann, Alex Ward and Ingrid Laubrock.

“Brice makes the entire body of his bass sing. He has the ability to deliver a fractal line that is as purposeful as any by the great jazz bassists, but to do so within an entirely abstract setting” - Brian Morton, Point of Departure

Steve Noble

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).