Sunday 14 April 2019, 7.30pm
Pleased to host the first ever UK performance from the Peter Blegvad Quintet for one night only.
“Peter is joined by longtime comperes John Greaves and Chris Cutler, on bass and drums respectively, and of course they are maestros… he fills out the band with Bob Drake on guitar and Karen Mantler, who plays keyboards, chromatic harmonica and provides backup vocals. Greaves and Cutler comprise one of the most innovative and intricate rhythm sections in modern music... Drake and Mantler fill out the band's sound beautifully; the result is some of the warmest, most humane music Blegvad has ever produced.” – Glenn Kenny
Peter is an illustrator, writer, broadcaster and musician. He was born in New York City and is now based in London. In America he recorded and toured with, amongst others,The Golden Palaminos, The Lodge and John Zorn. In Europe, he co-founded the avant-pop group Slapp Happy, recorded and toured with Faust, toured with Art Bears and worked with Henry Cow and Andy Partridge. For eight years he wrote and drew the weekly comic strip 'Leviathan,' for the Independent on Sunday. He has also written, performed and produced over ninety audio cartoons for BBC Radio 3’s ‘The Verb’ - which won him a Silver in the Sony Radio Academy Awards - as well as three full length experimental radio dramas featuring, variously, Nick Cave, Harriet Walter, Guy Paul and Langham Research Centre. He was awarded the Ordre de la Grande Gidouille by the Collège de ’Pataphysique, Paris, in 2000.
‘There are just a few other songwriters that I ‘cover’. This elite group includes - besides Peter Blegvad - Merle Haggard, Tom Lehrer, and Mose Allison. They write the songs I wish I’d written’. Loudon Wainwright III
“Very pleasant music.” Morrissey
“Peter Blegvad's work contains some of the most oblique and poetic wordplay to ever make its way to song’. Trouser Press Rock Guide
John Greaves was given a bass guitar at the age of 12 by his father — Ray Irving, Welsh dance-band leader — and within six months he was playing in the band. At Cambridge University, in 1969, he joined Henry Cow, eventually leaving in 1976 to work on Kew.Rhone in New York with Peter Blegvad — after which he returned to the UK to work in theatre as a composer, arranger and actor. In early 1978 he joined National Health, remaining with them until they disbanded in 1980, when he began a series of solo projects, releasing several LPs and working at the same time with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and the Michael Nyman Band. In 1984 he moved to France, permanently, forming a series of touring bands and releasing a series of new albums with — amongst others - David Cunningham (of the Flying Lizards), Robert Wyatt, Leslie Caron and Louis Sclavis, at the same time working with Mike Mantler, Jack Buce, Nick Mason and Don Preston. He and Karen Mantler performed together in 1997 in Mike Mantler’s opera School of Understanding in Denmark. In 2011 he fronted the Orchestre National de Jazz at the legendary Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, singing several Billie Holiday songs, and since the mid-2000’s his main compositional focus has been on the French poet Paul Verlaine, whose work he has set on a number of CDs and in other contexts.
Co-founded The Ottawa Music Company at the start of the ‘70s, a 22-piece Rock composer’s orchestra, before joining British experimental group Henry Cow with whom he toured, recorded and worked in dance and theatre projects over the next 8 years. After which, he co co-founded, recorded and toured with a series of mixed national groups: Art Bears, News from Babel, Cassiber, The (ec) Nudes, The Science Group and p53 and was a permanent member of the American bands Pere Ubu, Hail and The Wooden Birds. Outside a succession of special projects for stage, theatre, film and radio he still works intermittently with Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins, Jon Rose, Tim Hodgkinson, David Thomas, Peter Blegvad, Daan Vandewalle, Stevan Tickmayer, Annie Gosfield, Lotte Anker and the spectralist Hyperion Ensemble. He is a permanent member of The Bad Boys (Cage, Stockhausen, Fluxus &c.), Himmel (for massed fuzz organs), Nimmersat and Half The Sky, and works internationally as an improviser with all the usual suspects in all the usual contexts. He has also performed just about everywhere as a soloist with his extended electrified kit. Adjacent projects include commissioned works for radio, various live movie soundtracks, Signe de Trois for surround-sound projection, a daily year-long soundscape project for Resonance FM and p53 for Orchestra and Soloists. He is currently producing the radio lecture series, Probes, for the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona.
He founded and runs the independent label ReR Megacorp and the art distribution service Gallery and Academic, is editor of the occasional sourcebook Unfiled, author of the book File Under Popular – and many articles and papers published in 16 languages. He was on faculty for a while at the Museum School in Boston and lectures irregularly on theoretical music-related topics worldwide. He has appeared on over 160 recordings.
Karen is the daughter of jazz musicians Carla Bley and Michael Mantler. As a songwriter and a bandleader, her style has attracted a world-class list of musicians to her band throughout the years, including Steven Bernstein, Eric Mingus, Hiram Bullock and Arturo O’Farrill. As an instrumentalist and vocalist, Mantler has shared the stage with the likes of Terry Adams, Jack Bruce and Elvis Costello to name a few. She has performed frequently in Europe with various musicians, most notably John Greaves, Chris Cutler and Peter Blegvad. Robert Wyatt included three of Karen’s compositions on his 2003 recording, “Cuckooland”, which also featured her on harmonica and vocals. As a Hammond organ player, Karen toured and recorded with The Carla Bley Big Band from 1988 - 2009. In 2013 Anton Fier hired her to play keyboards and harmonica with his band The Golden Palominos. Her 5th CD as a leader (featuring Doug Wieselman and Kato Hideki) was released in 2014 on the label XtraWATT (ECM). Downbeat magazine gave the album 4 & ½ stars. Most recently she can be found playing Hammond organ, harmonica and glockenspiel on Peter Blegvad’s newest recording, “Go Figure” (released on the label ReR in 2017), which also features John Greaves, Chris Cutler and Bob Drake.
Bob has been playing a lot of instruments with - and recording - all sorts of, bands since the early 1970's. He was an important part of Denver's underground music scene from 1978-1989 and a founding member of both Hail and Thinking Plague. In the early 1990's in Los Angeles, he engineered for a wide variety of artists from Ice Cube to Shirley MacLaine. After moving to Europe he joined fellow expatriate Dave Kerman to become part of the 5UU's. In 1994 he started making a series of extraordinary solo albums – of which his latest, L'Isola dei Lupi is the tenth. He lives at his studio in Southern France, where he has engineered and mastered an awful lot of albums. He is also known for his definitive re-mastering of classic albums by Art Bears, Cassiber, Henry Cow and others.