Sunday 23 July 2023, 2pm
A special day requires a special gathering. Belgian photographer and pianist Martina Verhoeven invites some of her kindred spirits and collaborative musicians, and hosts an afternoon of rotating configurations in the context of a full-on free impro event. Two hours of improvisations without borders, rules and/or commitments. FREE IS THE SPACE.
Martina Verhoeven : Initially playing the fretless bass and double bass before going straight and full force on the piano. As critic Guy Peters wrote :
"To Cecil Taylor, the piano itself sounded like an orchestra, and occasionally, something similar seems to be going on for Verhoeven. The piano is an instrument she inhabits, turning the 88 tuned drums into a generator for rhythm, shapes, turbulence and a sheer endless provocation of sounds and ideas.”
A prime example of high-tension free improvisation by a very energetic and unique female pianist. Her MARTINA VERHOEVEN QUINTET has received raving reviews and met a very enthusiastic audience at a full house during 2022’s ROADBURN festival in The Netherlands.
For this gathering MARTINA VERHOEVEN (piano) will be accompanied by some of the best musicians in the UK free improvisation scene, with whom she already collaborated in live (UK, Belgium, The Netherlands) and recording sessions for labels like Klanggalerie, Raw Tonk Records, Fort Fruit Evil and A New Wave Of Jazz :
ANDREW LISLE / drums
BENEDICT TAYLOR / viola
CATH ROBERTS / bariton saxophone
CHARLOTTE KEEFFE / trumpet
COLIN WEBSTER / alto saxophone
DANIEL THOMPSON / acoustic guitar
DIRK SERRIES / electric guitar
TOM JACKSON / clarinet
TOM WARD / bass clarinet, flute
This unique event will be captured by painter Gina Southgate. Well known on the London free music and jazz scene where she has painted live at gigs for 30 years. Gina works with the frisson of the music observing the relationship between the musician and instrument, to capture the energy and essence of the gig in the real time.
Apart from a number of portraits of musicians taken, Martina has mainly received critical acclaim worldwide for her photography shown CD covers. Martina Verhoeven has been working on the development of her own abstract photographic style for more than 15 years now. Musically she has been active as electric bass player in the acclaimed 3 Seconds Of Air when in 2014 she switched over to double bass. Now she’s fully dedicated to the piano, establishing herself as an unique and fierceful performer on the keys. She works/worked together with key players in the free impro scene like Kodian Trio, Colin Webster, Onno Govaert, John Dikeman, Benedict Taylor, Anton Mobin, Patrick De Groote, etc. GRATITUDE is her first photo book accompanied by her debut solo piano album. She is also part of the TONUS ensemble. Her influences : Salvador Dali, Morton Feldman.
Andrew Lisle is the London-based drummer who performs regularly with saxophonist Colin Webster and guitarist Dirk Serries, with releases on the Raw Tonk and New Wave of Jazz labels. He studied at Leeds College of Music, as well as having a period in Portugal working with some of Lisbon’s veteran improvisers. Now based in London, he works regularly with saxophonist Alan Wilkinson and clarinettist Alex Ward.
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.
Cath Roberts is a musician, artist and organiser whose work explores free improvisation, composition and the music at their meeting point. The primary outlet for this is the band Sloth Racket, formed in 2015 by Cath on baritone saxophone and compositions, which has toured widely and released several albums. More recently, improvisation using live electronics and objects has led to a solo release plus the beginning of several new collaborations.
Cath has a long-standing duo with guitarist Anton Hunter (Ripsaw Catfish), as well as regular collaborations with Tullis Rennie, Benedict Taylor, Graham Dunning, Bill Thompson and others, and bandmate duties in several groups including Alex Ward’s Items 10 and 7, Madwort Sax Quartet and Article XI.
As an organiser, Cath has co-run LUME with Dee Byrne since 2013, producing concerts, tours and festivals and releasing music on their offshoot label Luminous. Tom Ward, Colin Webster and Cath organise BRÅK, an improvised music series taking place in Brockley, South East London. Cath’s visual work can be seen on many Luminous releases, Sloth Racket tour flyers and LUME publicity materials, and appeared in 2021 in the form of a giant, fragmented graphic score created for a hcmf// commission, And then the next thing you know.
Keeffe’s debut album ‘Right Here, Right Now’ is where you’ll find her exhibiting a passion for vibrant soundscapes rendered in live spaces. Released in 2021, also on Discus Music, she earned critical acclaim carving out a niche on the imprint. She also composes and performs for a number of the roster’s artists, including; Hi Res Heart, Carla Diratz and Julie Tippetts. She also co-leads Anthropology Band with the head of Discus Music, Martin Archer.
To date, her music has been featured significantly on BBC Radio 3, Jazz FM and BBC Radio 6, where she's been described as a 'prolific', 'dynamic' and 'excellent improviser!', by the likes of Corey Mwamba, Stuart Maconie and Jez Nelson. Keeffe is a Serious Artist and part of Serious’ Take Five 2022 cohort. She performed a duet with the mighty City of London as part of world-renowned trumpeter Dave Douglas' Festival of New Trumpet Music 2022.
Harnessing the power of art for social change is a crucial part of Keeffe’s musical identity: she has served as Assistant Musical Director of the London Gay Big Band, champions gender and diversity equality, as part of the Parliamentary award-winning Women in Jazz Media team, and played in Marin Alsop's Taki Concordia Orchestra at the World Economic Forum 2019, in front of world leaders and celebrities including Sir David Attenborough.
From stepping on Glastonbury and Wilderness stages alongside Charlotte Church, Laura Mvula and Kate Nash, to broadcasting to an international audience live from her bathroom during the pandemic, Keeffe understands that embracing individuality and letting go of inhibitions is the surest way to grasp the transformative power of music.
“Keeffe shows notable strength of character as she runs the sonic and emotional gamut..." - Kevin Le Gendre, JAZZWISE
London based saxophonist Colin Webster is quickly establishing himself on the European avant-garde scene. Collaborating with some of the key figures in improvised and experimental music, Webster is known for working from extreme sonic palettes – from minimal to maximal, constantly pushing boundaries.
“The application of circular breathing techniques are essential to this ritual-ready, sustain-heavy sound, it seems. Fans of an ensemble like Phurpa might get as much out of it as jazz cadets into, say, Peter Brötzmann, and if you happen to be the sort of wildcat who likes both, then Vs Amp is likely your kind of journey into sound.” – Noel Gardner, The Quietus
Daniel was born in Norfolk, England. Largely self-taught, he moved to London in 2005 and studied with the guitarist John Russell for two years. Since then, he has performed at many venues and festivals across the UK and Europe. In addition, he has also been organising concerts including the ‘The Shoreditch Church Concert Series' with Benedict Taylor.
Currently you can hear and see Daniel performing solo, with other musicians in many ad-hoc improvising situations and in long-term collaborations or 'working groups'. Recent collaborations include performances and/or recordings with Neil Metcalfe, Steve Noble, Caroline Kraabel, Max Reed, John Edwards, Benedict Taylor, Tom Jackson, Vid Drasler, Evan Parker, Adam Bohman, Sue Lynch, Alex Ward, Kay Grant, Roland Ramanan, Adrian Northover, Marcello Magliocchi, Alan Wilkinson, Colin Webster amongst others.
Daniel is the founder and artistic director of 'Empty Birdcage Records', a label dedicated to releasing documents of free improvisation. emptybirdcagerecords.bandcamp.com
Dirk Serries is the curator of the A New Wave Of Jazz label but as well an established soundartist. This Belgian-based artist has experimented with music on the border between avant-garde, industrial, experimental and ambient for more than 30 years. He released his earliest work (1984) behind the pseudonym vidnaObmana up to 2007, with which he gained worldwide praise, when he closed the book on this project (realizing an extensive discography). Other projects like Fear Falls Burning and his Microphonics series made him collaborate with several key-players like Steven Wilson, Justin K. Broadrick, Cult Of Luna, Steve Roach and toured extensively on the sides of Jesu, MONO, Low, My Bloody Valentine and Cult Of Luna.
In October 2013 Dirk Serries re-booted his classic vidnaObmana ambient sound from the mid eighties/early nineties. In contrary to his original music that was mostly synth-based, this ambient music is constructed on electric guitar. Music that flows from its discreet origins: sonic purity, washes of harmony, and organic textures which slow time to a phase of transcendence. On the spot, improvised and real-time. Acclaimed albums were under his own name on Projekt Records and his swansong EPITAPH on Consouling Sounds.
However, being a follower of (free) jazz for years, when meeting Tomas Järmyr (Motorpsycho) and Kristoffer Lo to form YODOK III his confidence in improvisation boosted and slowly shifted from his meticulously executed subtle ambience to being a full improviser on mostly the guitar. As heavily influenced by legendary improviser Derek Bailey, over the past years Dirk manifested him as a strong and new leading figure in the Belgian impro scene and works extensively together with some of the best and modern improvisors like saxophonists Alan Wilkinson, Rodrigo Amado, John Dikeman, Colin Webster and Cel Overberghe, drummers Tomas Järmyr, Steve Noble, Tom Malmendier, George Hadow and Andrew Lisle, tuba player Kristoffer Lo, viola player Benedict Taylor, Otto Willberg (double bass), John Edwards (double bass), Daniel Thompson (guitar) Kris Vanderstraeten (percussion), Patrick De Groote (trumpet), experimentalist Graham Dunning and pianist Martina Verhoeven.
Tom Jackson is a clarinettist and saxophonist active in London and Europe, largely dedicated to the fields of contemporary classical music and free improvisation. He maintains an extensive and eclectic performance schedule and has performed throughout Europe, Australia and Asia.
Tom has worked with various contemporary chamber groups such as Apartment House, Lontano, Plus-Minus, ChampdAction, Ictus and Splinter Cell. He has recently completed a PhD at Canterbury Christ Church University on relational aesthetics and free improvisation.
“Tom Jackson conjured a jaw-dropping array of sonic effects.” – Cusp Magazine
Tom Ward is a musician, composer and computer programmer from Yorkshire, currently based in London. His primary instrument is the saxophone, but in recent years he has also increasingly explored the bass clarinet and flute. Tom leads a number of groups playing his own compositions (including Madwort Saxophone Quartet and Madwort’s Menagerie), as well as collaborating on a number of freely improvised and collective groups including Cotovelo (PortaJazz), Spinningwork, Ma/ti/om, and an ever-shifting variety of duos and trios. He co-runs the regular BRÅK night, an improvised music gig in a South London homebrew shop where he has played with such improvisers as John Edwards, Corey Mwamba, Charlotte Keeffe and more.