Tuesday 24 September 2019, 7.30pm
Very pleased to present a two-day residency with Lebanese musician, writer and illustrator, Mazen Kerbaj, who has helped break new ground in Beirut's free improvisation and experimental music scenes.
As a trumpet player, Kerbaj has collaborated and performed with a number of respected artists, among them French-Lebanese saxophonist Christine Sehnaoui, the Ariha Brass Quarter with Axel Dörner, percussionist Sven-Åke Johansson and Mats Gustafsson. His Al Maslakh label was established in 2005 as the first experimental outlet the country, and a second imprint, Johnny Kafta's Kid's Menu, was created in 2009 following a collaboration with Lebanese punk-rock outfit Scrambled Eggs.
In 2000, alongside Sharif Sehnaoui, Kerbaj founded the MILL association and associated Irtijal Festival, the longest-running festival for non-conformist contemporary music in Lebanon. Billing esteemed artists from throughout the region alongside contemporaries from the European circuit such as Gert-Jan Prins, Sam Shackleton, Miles Whittaker, and Rabih Beaini's Upperground Orchestra and Morphosis projects, Irtijal is widely regarded as the most prominent assembly for experimental music in the Arab world.
Kerbaj is the author of numerous books, and his comics and short stories have been published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines in Lebanon, Europe and the States. His visual works have been shown in both solo and group exhibitions in Lebanon, France, England, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Dubai, Malaysia and the US. He currently lives and works in Beirut.
“The series of preparations he put his trumpet through that evening was truly revelatory.” – Nate Wooley
Steve Beresford has been a central figure in the British and international spontaneous music scenes for over forty years, freely improvising on the piano, electronics, and other things with people like Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, John Zorn, and Alterations (with David Toop, Terry Day and Peter Cusack).
He has written songs, written for large and small ensembles, and scored short films, feature films, TV shows, and commercials. He was part of the editorial teams of Musics and Collusion magazines, writes about music in various contexts, and was a senior lecturer in music at the University of Westminster. With Blanca Regina, he is part of Unpredictable Series, which produces events and sound and video recordings of experimental music and art.
Steve has worked with Christian Marclay on numerous Marclay mixed media pieces. He has also worked with The Slits, Najma Akhtar, Stewart Lee, Ivor Cutler, Prince Far-I, Alan Hacker, Tania Chen, Ray Davies, Mandhira De Saram, The Flying Lizards, Zeena Parkins, The Portsmouth Sinfonia, Ilan Volkov, Rachel Musson, Vic Reeves, Lore Lixenberg and many others.
Beresford has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, free-improviser, composer and producer, and was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012. In 2021, Bloomsbury published a book by Andy Hamilton: ‘Pianos, Toys, Music and Noise: Conversations with Steve Beresford’.
John Edwards is a true virtuoso whose staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role, whether playing solo or with others. Perpetually in demand, he has played with Evan Parker, Sunny Murray, Derek Bailey, Joe McPhee, Lol Coxhill, Peter Brötzmann, Mulatu Astatke and many others.
"I think John Edwards is absolutely remarkable: there’s never been anything like him before, anywhere in jazz." - Richard Williams, The Blue Moment
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.