Sunday 13 August 2023, 7.30pm
Two live improvising duos that have very recent recordings, one of which is being launched tonight... and a bonus trio.
Khabat Abas and Caroline Kraabel are colleagues in ONe_Orchestra New, a large improvising orchestra made up of women, trans and non-binary people. They also perform as a duo... from huge group to the smallest possible group.
Caroline Kraabel and Pat Thomas (piano) will be celebrating the release of their Crosshatch duo CD whats wrong.
Recorded late in 2022 at The Vortex by Alex Ward, whats wrong presents all the music made on this occasion, in the order in which it was played. The sleeves are individually made, and each is unique.
Pat Thomas and Caroline Kraabel have played together in groups such as the London Improvisers Orchestra for many years, but they first played as a duo on 12 March 2020. Not long thereafter all gigs ceased for some time, but now they are back to play and launch their new duo CD, whats wrong.
Khabat Abas is a cellist, improviser, artist, and composer from Kurdistan who likes to transgress. She experiments with the cello structurally and musically, improvising, composing, creating sound installations and diverse cellos including her shell-case cello (made from a shell dropped on Kurdistan), and using her own body. She is inspired in part by the silenced stories of women, which she makes audible through her compositions, using diverse materials to protest against oppression rooted in social and political systems. She questions what is out of bounds, raising the possibilities of sounds that contrast with traditional musical values and cannot be controlled or commodified.
Abas has performed with numerous ensembles, including the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, Sulaymaniyah string orchestra, Gothenburg Academic Symphony Orchestra, the Non-Ensemble for experimental music, London Improvisers Orchestra and ONe_Orchestra New. She has collaborated with curators, artists and musicians in Kurdistan-Iraq, Sweden, Germany, and the UK. Abas’s recent piece for electro-acoustic cello was performed in Slemani-Kurdistan as a part of the Global Listening Biennial 2021. She also performed at the Space21 festival in Kurdistan-Iraq in 2021, the Winter sound festival in Canterbury 2022 and the Borderline Festival Athens 2022, and she participated in the (Abandoned Space) project, a collaboration between the Sonorities festival in Belfast and Space21 festival in Kurdistan. Her compositions have been played as part of Klangwerkstatt Festival for New Music in Berlin, the Space21 festival in Kurdistan, and new jazz festival in London. She is co-founder, with Hardi Kurda, of Duo Moment; they have released two albums: Broken Resonance on the Space21 Label, and Illegal Performance, recorded at Café Oto 2021. She has been awarded grants from Salam culture house in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Swedish art council community, and Stim Forward Fund in Sweden.
Caroline Kraabel is a London-based improviser.
In 2022 Kraabel brought together a large improvising group made up of all sorts of women, non-binary, and transgender improvisers: ONe_Orchestra New.
Other active groups include:
Transitions Trio (with Charlotte Hug and Maggie Nicols); Fit To Burst, a song-based trio with Sarah Washington and John Edwards (https://carolinekraabel.bandcamp.com/album/fit-to-burst); a duo with Pat Thomas (on piano); the Poetry Quintet with Rowland Sutherland, John Edwards and Sofia Vaisman-Maturana, which incorporates live poetry from guest poets, including Moor Mother.
Kraabel has performed and recorded with many other excellent improvisers, including Robert Wyatt, Louis Moholo, Cleveland Watkiss, Hyelim Kim, Susan Alcorn, Veryan Weston, Mariá Portugal, Neil Metcalfe, Mark Sanders, Shima Kobayashi, and Chris Corsano.
Kraabel’s solo saxophone improvisations while walking in London and elsewhere with her infant child/ren in their pushcair were broadcast weekly 2002-2006 on Resonance 104.4 FM as Taking a Life for a Walk and more recently (without children) as Going Outside. Other radio work includes a series of interviews with improvisers in many media (music, dance, visual art, politics, activism), Why is Improvising Important.
Improvisers and Improvisation, made with John Edwards, is a 22-hour radio piece including music, noise, electronics, live performance and new interviews with improvisers; broadcast as part of 2022’s Radio Art Zone: https://radioart.zone/saturday-10-september
Some Kraabel compositions:
Performances for Large Saxophone Ensemble 1, 2, 3 and 4, for 21-piece spatial saxophone/voice ensemble; Get Used To Balancing, a suite of pieces for alto sax, percussion and two flutes; Now We Are One Two, a 45-minute solo performance; Recording The Other, for soprano, cello, flute, piano and four recording devices; LAST 1, 2 and 3 for pre-recorded voice (Robert Wyatt) and large ensemble; many songs; numerous pieces for large improvising ensembles in London and around the world, including Une note n’écoutant qu’elle-même and Missing.
Kraabel’s 40-minute soundfilm about lockdown London (London 26 and 28 March 2020: imitation: inversion, https://vimeo.com/505430655) received its avant-première at Café Oto in 2021, is available on the Jazzed app, and won the 2021 Ivor Novello Award for Sound Art Composer.
Kraabel conducted, devised pieces for, and played with the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO) from 1998-2022, and organised their 20th anniversary celebrations, which featured celebrated LIO members from throughout the group’s history.
Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill.
"Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that’s immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude." - The Jazzmann