Friday 25 May 2018, 7.30pm
A pleasure as ever to welcome back one of the most important musicians of the Japanese underground/avant-garde, Otomo Yoshihide; this time in a new duo with NY-based alto saxophonist and composer, Chris Pitsiokos.
At turns, effervescent and coruscating, strident and generous, the pairing meshes Yoshihide's peerless skill as a turntablist with Pitsiokos's thrillingly fluid and genre-evading approach to the saxophone.
Otomo Yoshihide moves between free jazz, noise, improvisation, composition and the unclassifiable with a generosity that opens up the possibilities for expression in all of the constellations with which he's involved. He spent his teenage years in Fukushima, about 300 kilometers north of Tokyo. Influenced by his father, an engineer, Otomo began making electrical devices such as a radio and an electronic oscillator. In junior high school, his hobby was making sound collages using open-reel tape recorders. This was his first experience creating music. Soon after entering high school he formed a band which played rock and jazz, with Otomo on guitar. It wasn't long, however, before he became a free jazz aficionado, listening to artists like Ornette Coleman, Erick Dolphy and Derek Bailey; and hearing music, both on disk and at concerts, by Japanese free jazz artists. Especially influenced by alto sax player Kaoru Abe and guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, Otomo decided to play free jazz.
In 1990, Otomo started what was to become Ground Zero. Until it disbanded in March 1998, the band was at the core of his musical creativity, while it underwent several changes in style and membership. Since Ground Zero, Otomo has embraced minimal improvisation, film music and the jazz/big band conceptions of his New Jazz Quartet/Quintet/Orchestra.
Chris Pitsiokos is a New York-born, Berlin-based world-renowned saxophonist, improviser, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. He has performed extensively in North and South America, Europe and Japan. Chris has been praised by Rolling Stone for his “startlingly original vision” and “astonishingly fleet sax work.” Downbeat has identified his band CP Unit as “A persuasive combination of harmolodic jazz and contemporary noise rock.” As a soloist he has developed a unique voice on the alto saxophone: his expansion of the instrument’s vocabulary has served to multiply its emotive and formal possibilities. He has performed at dozens of major festivals across the globe, including (but not limited to) Wels Unlimited Festival in Austria, Sapporo International Arts Festival in Japan, Moers Festival in Germany, Tempo Reale Festival in Italy, Rewire Festival in the Netherlands, Jazz Jantar Festival in Poland and Festival de Jazz Lima in Peru. In New York he has presented his work at Roulette Intermedium, ISSUE Project Room, and during a residency at John Zorn’s club the Stone. Lately, he has developed interactive electro-acoustic systems for saxophone and computer. He also composes music for film. His list of collaborators represents a who’s who of the luminaries in 20th and 21st century improvised music, experimental music and jazz: he has worked with Jaimie Branch, Luke Stewart, Peter Evans, Tyshawn Sorey, Lea Bertucci, Weasel Walter, Otomo Yoshihide, Nate Wooley, Axel Dörner, Julien Desprez, Sachiko M, Mazen Kerbaj and Paul Lytton to name a small few.