Tuesday 1 February 2022, 8pm

Simon H Fell: A Celebration NIGHT 1 – Small Groups - w/ Alex Ward / Dominic Lash / Paul Hession / Alan Wilkinson / Mick Beck / John Edwards / Ben Watson / Rhodri Davies / Mark Wastell / Richard Comte / Mark Sanders / Marcio Mattos

No Longer Available

'A More Attractive Way of Getting Things Done'

British bassist, improviser, composer and label founder Simon H Fell died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 61 from cancer in June 2020. It sent shock waves and great sorrow through a large community of musicians and others who had, in their own ways, been touched by his incredible generosity of spirit, passion and sheer joy at the prospect of making music. 

Originally scheduled to take place a year ago these 2 nights are a way of saying thank you and farewell to a great friend and colleague, and to give back, give out and celebrate some of his joy and generosity.

NIGHT 1: Small Groups.

Alex Ward – clarinet, Dominic Lash - double bass
One of the iterations of the small group series Simon began with his SFQ ensemble was SFD, a duo with clarinettist Alex Ward. SFD's repertoire included Composition No. 51b "Duo Rectangles" (a pared-down arrangement of material from Fell's "Thirteen Rectangles For Quintet") and Composition No. 62a "Gruppen Modulor 1" (the first in a series of small group pieces derived from the epic studio ensemble work "Compilation IV"). Both pieces were performed in a memorable afternoon concert at Mark Wastell's Sound 323 shop, with the performance of "Gruppen Modulor 1" later being released on Fell's own Bruce's Fingers imprint. For this occasion celebrating Simon's music, Ward and double bassist Dominic Lash (who studied with Fell early in his playing career) will perform selections from these duo works.

Paul Hession/Alan Wilkinson/Mick Beck/John Edwards + Ben Watson
Possibly the first of Simon's groups to achieve a wider critical awareness was Hession/Wilkinson/Fell. Formed during one of the Termite Club festivals in Leeds in the late 80s this trio, of saxophonist Alan Wilkinson, drummer Paul Hession and Fell, became renowned for the ferocity and intensity of their improvised performances, enhanced by a string of acclaimed releases on Bruce's Fingers, Ecstatic Peace and Bo'Weavil recordings. One of their biggest advocates was the then Wire critic, poet and author Ben Watson(aka Out to Lunch) who later performed with the trio and provided the words for Simon's piece Music for 10(0). He will provide spoken word for this performance which will also include the great Sheffield saxophonist and Fell associate Mick Beck, and the stunning bass work of John Edwards.

IST: Rhodri Davies – harp, Mark Wastell – cello
IST was formed by Simon in September 1995. In so doing, he brought together the then unknown talents of Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies and London based cellist Mark Wastell. The trio rehearsed frequently throughout the remainder of the year and early the next, finally making their public debut at Club Orange, London on 23 April 1996. Simon revelled in the unusual chamber-styled instrumental lineup of the group and the fact that it threw up stark contrast to his other regular trio of the period, the powerful trio Hession Wilkinson Fell. From is roots in the London club scene the trio went on to perform on stages across the globe, made a couple of TV appearances, released numerous albums and formed a long standing performing relationship with Derek Bailey. At the time of Simon’s death, IST were making plans to mark their 25th anniversary with a series of concerts. In 2021, Mark Wastell’s Confront Recordings label released a 5 CD box set which showcased archive recordings of the trio’s early years covering the period 1996-2000.

Richard Comte – electric guitar, Mark Sanders – drums, Marcio Mattos – cello
After relocating to mid France with his wife Jo around 2005, Simon continued writing, recording, and performing with a large variety of groups, most notably his quartets, quintets and sextets. A musician who started to feature in most of these is the French guitarist Richard Comte, who uses his guitar to create great swathes of sound and texture. In this group he will be joined by two more familiar figures to a British audience, who also featured in many of these later formations, the brilliant drummer Mark Sanders and masterful cellist Marcio Mattos.

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