Sunday 20 July 2014, 8pm
An evening of two trios. The first - Alter Egos are Ian MacGowan - trumpet, Cellist- Hannah Marshall & American drummer Stephen Flinn who play together again after making Watt for Creatives sources in 2012 - their music has been descirbed as having a 'natural, organic cohesiveness' and as 'almost seamless and breath-like progression of events'. The long-standing pairing of John Butcher on saxophone and Chris Burn on piano are joined by double-bassist Guillaume Viltard. This year marks the 30th anniversary of John Butcher's first LP -Fonetiks - a duo alongside Chris Burn. This will be their first performance together in many years - well-timed and not to be missed!
MacGowan has been playing improvised music since arriving from Dublin in 1990 and has collaborated with Paul Rutherford, John Stevens, Maggie Nichols, Lol Coxhill and Eddie Prévost among others.
He helped to institute the London Improvisers Orchestra in 1998 with Steve Beresford and Evan Parker after the Butch Morris London Skyscraper tour, and also founded The Gathering with Maggie Nichols.
In 2000 he recorded his second CD as a leader, Daybreak, with Derek Bailey, Veryan Weston, Gail Brand and Oren Marshall. Into the twenty-first century, as well as regularly playing with UK and Irish improvisers, he has also performed with Wadada Leo Smith, Greg Tate’s Burnt Sugar Arkestra, guitarists Han-earl Park and Reeves Gabrels, the Poet and Detroit legend John Sinclair, and New York based drummer Harris Eisenstadt. He has recently collaborated with drummer G Calvin Weston and has been featured on a version of John Zorn’s gamepiece Rugby which will be released by Tzadik.
MacGowan’s.. “style has the free-form panache of a Wadada Leo Smith or Joe McPhee, but his experience of other musics is never too far from the surface. Some of his gestures seem to derive from earlier forms of jazz, and there are moments of harmonic directness that you could put chord symbols under. But it has all been thoughtfully moulded into a highly convincing and distinctive language.” - Philip Clark, JazzReview
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.
Stephen Flinn is a composer, performer, and improviser who performs throughout Europe, Japan, and the United States. As well as being an accomplished percussionist, he works with unusual sound sources, including self made instruments and found objects. He has performed and recorded with many prominent European and American improvisers. For the last seven years he has been using the drums to teach reading, writing, and social skills to intellectually and physically challenged teens and adults. Stephen is based out of Los Angeles and New York City.
Butcher is well known as a saxophonist who attempts to engage with the uniqueness of time and place. His music ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked pieces and explorations with feedback and unusual acoustics. Since the early 80s he has collaborated with hundreds of musicians – including Derek Bailey, Rhodri Davies, Andy Moor (EX), Phil Minton, Christian Marclay, Eddie Prevost, John Stevens’ SME, Gino Robair, Polwechsel, Mark Sanders, John Tilbury, and Okkyung Lee.
Alongside long term projects he values occasional encounters; from large groups such as the EX Orkestra & Butch Morris’ “London Skyscraper”, to duo concerts with Fred Frith, Akio Suzuki, Paal Nilssen-Love, Keiji Haino, David Toop, Otomo Yoshihide, Sophie Agnel and Matthew Shipp.
Recent compositions include “Penny Wands” for Futurist Intonarumori, two HCMF commissions for his own groups, “Good Liquor Caused my Heart for to Sing” for the London Sinfonietta and “Tarab Cuts”, a response to recordings of early Arabic classical music which was shortlisted for a 2014 British Composer’s Award.
“English saxophonist John Butcher may be among the world’s most influential musicians, operating at the cutting-edge of improvisatory practice since the ‘80s. Whenever an acoustic musician starts to sound like a bank of oscillators, a tropical forest, a brook or an insect factory, Butcher’s influence is likely nearby.” – New York City Jazz Record.
After University where he gained a B.Mus and M.Mus, Chris Burn worked as a composer, arranger, conductor and pianist in both contemporary dance and jazz. He gained a number of awards for his work and broadcast on local and national radio and television. In the 1970s he had participated in workshops on 'intuitive music' led by Robin Maconie, a one time assistant of Stockhausen but the 1980s saw a transition to free improvisation. Having worked with saxophonist John Butcher for a number of years, the two musicians recorded Fonetiks in late 1984 and toured Britain the following year. Subsequently they teamed up with Australian flautist Jim Denley and cellist Marcio Mattos to form Embers. This quartet has twice toured Europe, once toured Britain and recorded on Acta. Other work with Butcher has included a quartet with Martin Klapper and Jindrich Biskup that played a brief Arts Council sponsored tour of England in early 1996.
In 1984 Chris Burn formed the octet Ensemble, reflecting his interest in organising music for a large number of improvising musicians. In 1990, Ensemble toured Britain and were featured on the SPNM's (Society for the Promotion of New Music) Improvisation Day. More recently they have broadcast for BBC Radio 3 (1992, 1994), for WDR radio and television and performed at a variety of European festivals, including Bochum; Stadtgarten (Köln); Ulrichsberg Kalaidophon; Victoriaville; and Crosswinds (London). An expanded version of Ensemble also exists featuring, in addition to the usual members, Alex Dörner on trumpet; Mark Wastell on cello and Rodri Davies on harp.
As an improvisor, Chris Burn has forged a unique style of piano playing by developing a multitude of alternative techniques, both on the keyboard and inside the instrument. He is also known for his performances of the piano music of Henry Cowell (writing a documentary for BBC Radio 3 about Cowell's music in 1995), John Cage and other contemporary composers, sometimes including compositions and improvisations in the same concert. His notes to his performance at 'An Acta Evening' in London in August 1997 included the statement: "For my performance this evening, I will combine some or all of the pieces listed below, with my own freely improvised music. I have chosen these particular pieces because they demonstrate interesting and innovative uses of the piano." The works included five pieces by Henry Cowell, three by John Cage (Dream, The wonderful widow of eighteen springs, Suite for toy piano), two by George Crumb (Morning music, Rain-death variations), and Six little piano pieces Op 19 by Schoenberg. As an improvising soloist, Burn has performed at many festivals throughout Europe, including Ruhr Valley (Bochum); FMP (Berlin); London Musicians Collective; Loft (Köln). He performed in Derek Bailey's Company in 1990. In 1993 Chris Burn was shortlisted for a Paul Hamlyn award for composers.
An intensely physical double-bassist Viltard was one of OTO’s first associate artists – he has played and performed here with musicians as diverse as Otomo Yoshihide and Kan Mikami, Louis Moholo-Moholo, and Evan Parker. Particularly memorable was a sensational solo set in support of Marc Ribot. Most often his work has been in the ‘classic’ jazz format of saxophone/bass/drums: from trios with the late Tony Marsh and Shabaka Hutchings, to most recently Eddie Prévost and Ken Vandermark.
His uncompromising, physical and rhythmic approach to the double-bass – always acoustic, adamant – connects to jazz learning from sources as diverse as Jean-Jacques Avenel, Barre Phillips, Johnny Mbizo Dyani and Ronnie Boykins.
His close association with OTO endures, and since late summer 2013 he has been part of a group of musicians playing, pushing and learning day and night in the OTO project space. Most often private, groupings around this new energy these groups are increasingly public, for example Steve Noble’s (new) Quartet.