Saturday 29 November 2014, 8pm
A very special two-day residency to celebrate the 60th birthday of one of the greats of improvised music - John Butcher. Featuring a line-up comprised of some of Butcher's closest and most long-standing collaborators as well as some brand-new groupings brought together specially for these two days, this should be a unmissable celebratory residency for a musician who has provided a whole host of highlights at Cafe OTO since we opened.
John Butcher is a saxophonist of rare grace and power, who has expanded the vocabulary of the saxophone far beyond the conventions of jazz and other musics, to encompass a staggering range of harmonics, multiphonics, overtones, percussive sounds, and electronic feedback. But his playing is far more than merely an array of special effects: it's characterised by an intensity that propels it into strange new places that are both incredibly beautiful and deeply exhilarating.
[ TWO DAY EVENT – Series pass available ]
When he was finished there were audible exclamations from the audience and the question was asked, not for the first time: ‘why does no one else play saxophone like that?’ - Dalston Sound, review of John Butcher at Cafe OTO, 2012
John Butcher + Guillaume Viltard + Dominic Lash + Olie Brice (double basses) — Gino Robair (drums) + Rhodri Davies (harp) + Adam Bohman (objects) — Vellum: John Butcher + Magda Mayas (piano) + Tony Buck (drums)
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.
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.
Bassist Dominic Lash is based in Bristol and has performed with musicians such as Tony Conrad (in duo and quartet formations), Joe Morris (trio and quartet), Evan Parker (duo, quartet and large ensemble) and the late Steve Reid. His main projects include The Dominic Lash Quartet, The Set Ensemble (an experimental music group focused on the work of the Wandelweiser collective) and The Convergence Quartet.
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
Gino Robair is a San Francisco Bay Area-based percussionist and composer who has performed and recorded with Anthony Braxton, Tom Waits, John Butcher, LaDonna Smith, Otomo Yoshihide, Eugene Chadbourne, John Zorn, Nina Hagen, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Myra Melford, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, and the Club Foot Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Splatter Trio and Pink Mountain. Robair's multimedia work "Grand Electric Skull" was commissioned and performed by the ROVA Saxophone Quartet with Ikue Mori in San Francisco in 2013, while his theater piece "The Amanuensis" was premiered at GIOfest VI in Glasgow the same year. His opera "I, Norton," based on the life of Norton I, Emperor of the United States, has been staged throughout North America, Europe, and Japan.
"[Gino Robair] holds the listener captive as he oscillates between the accidental and the intentional; between the tiniest, most delicate noise and a torrential outpouring of sound." - San Francisco Bay Guardian
Rhodri Davies was born in 1971 in Aberystwyth, Wales and now lives in Gateshead in the northeast of England. He plays harp, electric harp, live-electronics and builds wind, water and fire harp installations. His regular groups include: a duo with John Butcher, The Sealed Knot, a trio with David Toop and Lee Patterson, Common Objects, Cranc, a trio with John Tilbury and Michael Duch, SLW and Apartment House. In 2008 he collaborated with the visual artist Gustav Metzger on ‘Self-cancellation’, a large-scale audio-visual collaboration in London and Glasgow. He also performs and researches contemporary music. New pieces for harp have been composed for him by: Eliane Radigue, Christian Wolff, Ben Patterson, Alison Knowles, Michael Pisaro, Carole Finer, Mieko Shiomi, Radu Malfatti and Yasunao Tone.
Adam Bohman has been operating on the outer fringes of underground music for decades. Working with home-built instruments, found objects, tape cut-ups, collages, ink drawings and graphic scores. Favouring acoustic sounds over electronics, he explores the minute tendrils of sounds coaxed from any number of non-musical instruments and objects. He is a member of British experimental groups, Morphogenesis, The Bohman Brothers, Secluded Bronte, and The London Improvisers Orchestra. Adam's music is unique and experimental, incorporating Fluxus japery, musique concrete, sound poetry and free improvisation.
Magda Mayas is a pianist living in Berlin. Developing a vocabulary utilizing both the inside as well as the exterior parts of the piano, using preparations and objects, she explores textural, linear and fast moving sound collage.
Alongside the piano, Mayas has recently been performing on a Clavinet/Pianet, an electric piano from the 60s with strings and metal chimes, where she engages with noise and more visceral sound material, equally extending the instrumental sound palette using extended techniques and devices.
Tony is regarded as one of Australia's most creative and adventurous exports, with vast experience across the globe. He has been involved in a highly diverse array of projects but is probably best known around the world as a member of the trio The Necks.
Following studies and early experience in Australia he spent time in Japan, where he formed PERIL with Otomo Yoshihide and Kato Hideki before relocating to Europe in the mid-nineties.
Some of the more high profile projects he has been involved with include the band Kletka Red, and touring and recording with, among others, The EX, The Exiles, and Corchestra, and involvement with most of the international improvisation and new music community and festivals.