Jazz / Free Jazz
Drone / Ambient
Outsider / Art Brut
Sound Art / Spoken Word
Indie / Rock
Folk / Song
First time trio of Lebanese musician, writer and illustrator, Mazen Kerbaj, joined by Angharad Davies on violin and Sholto Dobie on self built organ and wind chime. Mazen's super extended technique often sees him morph his trumpet into a collection of metal tubes and bells; adjustable passageways for air to pass through and mutate into sound. A meeting with Davies and Dobie makes sense - both are incredibly talented at finding new phonetics in their practice with a sly sense of humour. Unearthly drones materialise, surprisingly delicate as they hover, burble and destabilise.
Mazen Kerbaj / trumpet
Angharad Davies / violin
Sholto Dobie / self built organ, wind chime
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Wednesday 25th September, 2019. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Original image for artwork by Mazen Kerbaj.
Kerbaj, Davies, Dobie – 25.9.19
Super happy to have dug this out of the archives - the final night of the great French double bass player, improviser and composer, Joëlle Léandre's 2015 residency. Léandre was joined by Scottish improvising vocalist and dancer, Maggie Nicols, and drummer Roger Turner for both nights, and the second of the two saw sparks fly. Solo, Léandre is formidible - melodious, angry, rousing. Her voice breaks through the bass like McPhee's through a trumpet - there's joy, there's humour, and it's 100% intense.
Léandre and Nicols have a long history together - 1982's Live at The Bastille with Lyndsey Cooper still stands strong - and their trio with Irène Schweizer as 'Les Diaboliques' is totally unique. Here, both performers are totally at home with with each other and with their sounds - there's depth, unpredictability, intensity and delirious humour.
A treasure to share all five pieces, and we hope for another Léandre residency some day soon!
“A true, real artist. Stubborn. Visionary. Uncompromising. Intense. Tender and poetic at moments, raw and angry with the world at other times. She is unconcerned by style, and definitely stays far away from stylistic and formal mannerisms that are needed to placcate the reviewers and the hip audiences. She integrates music as music, and delivers it as music, using elements from tribal rituals over classical finesse to jazz expressionism and avant-garde search for new approaches, yet turning it all into something else, something more authentic, more innovative and - interestingly enough - also more universal.” – The Free Jazz Collective
Joëlle Léandre / double bass, vocals
Maggie Nichols / vocals
Roger Turner / percussion
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Wednesday 18th March, 2015 by Mark Jasper. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by the wonderful Dawid Laskowski.
Leandre / Nicols / Turner – 18.3.15
Textures Festival returned to OTO back in April, opening with a ferocious new quartet featuring Swiss composer and saxophonist Antoine Chessex together with free music giants Pat Thomas, Steve Noble and John Edwards. Dissonance dominates and condenses the quartet to near saturation, then respirates - chopped up by Thomas' hammered clusters and shaken down by Steve Noble into a grinding tenor saxophone and double bass texture. This is a wonderfully paced and fierce first meeting.
Antoine Chessex / saxophone
John Edwards / double bass
Steve Noble / drums
Pat Thomas / piano
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Sunday 12th December, 2016. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski.
Chessex, Noble, Edwards, Thomas – 24.4.19
When Kim Doo Soo played at Cafe OTO as part of the first Counterflows festival in 2012 it was the first time he’d performed in Europe. This recording is from his second visit to OTO in June 2015 and includes both recent material and earlier songs - such as Butterfly which was first included on his second LP ‘약속의 땅/The Promised Land’ (1988).
1. Wild Flower (5:20)2. Deja-entendu (7:52)3. Bohemian (6:42)4. The Way Of The White Cloud (5:24)5. Butterfly (4:34)6. Wanderer (4:26)7. C'est la vie (4:42)
Kim Doo Soo / voice, guitar, harmonica
Recorded by Jonathan McHugh at Cafe OTO on Sunday 15 June 2014. Mixed by James Dunn. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Photograph by Andrej Chudy.
Kim Doo Soo – Wild Flower
Glorias Navales are five member ensemble based in Santiago, Chile. Their jam is somewhere between Chilean folk music (ala Violeta Parra) and ramshackle post-Velvets psychedelia. Crafted on acoustic guitars, rabel and bombo chino (drum), this recording teases out lines from their stunning debut LP 'Cofradia Nautica' on Graham Lambkin's KYE, taking new, fuzzed out trips along the way. This particular show made Clive Bell's end of year list. ---
1. 12.4.17 - 41:19
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Wednesday 4th April 2017. Mixed and mastered by Jimmy Dunn good again.
Glorias Navales – 12.4.17
Delighted to release this fierce first time duo from two of our favourite saxophonists. Brotzmann-esque heft and gritty melodies from Trzaska, fused with Wright's tonal punctuation packs this one full of intensity which escapes the routine.
Mikolaj Trzaska / saxophone
Seymour Wright / saxophone
1. 12.9.16 - 36:46
Recorded on Friday 9th December 2016 by Shaun Crook. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski. Artwork by Oli Barrett.
Mikolaj Trzaska & Seymour Wright – 12.9.16
Pleased to present the full recording of Pat Thomas' moving tribute to Duke Ellington on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of his birth. According to Thomas, Ellington "never stopped discovering, never played the same tune in exactly the same way twice", and the same could be said here. The tunes are all there, but they emerge unpredictably, warped and hammered through the body of the piano in Pats own way. The second set was an hour long, with Pat rolling through 'Rockin’ in Rhythm', 'Isfahan' and 'In a Sentimental Mood' in a collage of heavy harmonics, serious swing and a wicked appreciation for exploration. An absolute pleasure to be in the room for this one, and tremendously happy to share the recording.
"Deconstructing and reconstructing as part of the interpretative process is second nature to Thomas. The obvious is kept at his arm’s length so from tangential start points, unforgettable melodies would creep back to plant flags firmly in the ground." - London Jazz News
1.Prelude to a KissSolitudeTake the ColtraneSophisticated LadySatin DollSerenade to Sweden
2.Rockin’ in RhythmMood IndigoIsfahanIn a Sentimental MoodI Got It Bad and That Ain’t GoodHeavenDo Nothing Till You Hear From MeDay DreamCome SundayCaravan
Pat Thomas – Plays Duke Ellington
Six months on and finally into summer we're buzzed to share the recording of Chicago footwork originator and pioneer RP Boo alongside ever-radical, longstanding collaborators Seymour Wright and Paul Abbott in a special New Years Eve trio.
RP Boo, Seymour and Paul share a fascination with the musical history of Chicago – a source of which is of continual nourishment to their ongoing practice. While RP Boo’s footwork takes from the rhythmic structures of Chicago house and the samples, grooves and melodies of 60’s/70’s Chicago soul, disco and R&B, Seymour and Paul share a fascination with these musics, and bring to this lineage a long term engagement with Chicago’s jazz traditions, from Baby Dodds to the AACM.
Expect spurred soul cut with condensed, triggered kit drums and sax. Samples from The Fog, Gerald Levert, Tweet and Evanescence (!)
RB boo / cdjs
Seymour Wright / alto saxophone (actual and potential)
Paul Abbott / drums (real and imaginary)
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Tuesday 31st December 2018 by Shaun Crook. Mixed and mastered by Paul Abbott. Photo by Dawid Laskowski.
XT and RP Boo – 31.12.18
After touring together in 2016, Paul Dunmall's joyous Quintet returned to OTO last winter. Known for his past collaborations with saxophonist Elton Dean and drummer Tony Bianco, and his work with improvising quartet Mujician (with pianist Keith Tippett, bassist Paul Rogers, and percussionist Tony Levin), Paul's work as a writer really shines brightest with this Quintet. The first set showcases totally new material - The Soultime Suite - and the second an emphatic rendition of 2016's Dreamtime Suite. Pure melody switches through pennywhistle, trumpet, tenor and alto with an elated rhythm section keeping things high energy.
"When I listen to Paul, which is a great pleasure, and when I play with him, I hear the whole history of everything. You hear the history of the saxophone. You hear what Yusef Lateef called 'The Great Tradition'. That's the type of artist I want to be, one that reflects, as Paul does, the great tradition." Hamid Drake in conversation with Soweto, BBC.
“Ever since I heard UK sax colossus Paul Dunmall with Keith Tippett’s Mujician quartet, I knew that there was something special, spiritual about his (tenor) sax playing. Nobody has a sound like him, he is in a class of his own!” – Bruce Lee Gallanter, Free Jazz Collective
Paul Dunmall / tenor & alto saxophone, pennywhistle
Hamid Drake / drums & framedrum
Percy Pursglove / trumpet
Steve Tromans / piano
Dave Kane / bass
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Thursday 8th November 2018 by Shaun Crook. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Artwork by Paul Dunmall.
Paul Dunmall Quintet ft Hamid Drake – 8.11.18
Members of psychedelic Russian / Israeli collective Staraya Derevnya rarely get to perform live together, so it's with huge pleasure that we are uploading this one. After spending a week holed out in our Project Space, the group emerged to present 45 minutes of curious, home-brewed folk psych wonk made with objects, percussion, vocals and homemade instruments. Live animated projection makes a large impact on each of their improvisations so be sure to check out the video of the night too."They play a kind of psychedelic folk with wind-up toys, shouting, buzzy sounds and with live animated drawings – out of some foggy scribble emerges a head, then a bug thing grows tentacles and sucks ectoplasm out of the head, then stuff starts spinning around and then a phoenix rises." - Lee Fisher, NARC magazine
"Staraya Derevnya make bewitching music that seems impossible to place in terms of direction and intention, like climbing into a cab only to realise its not a cab at all." - TUSK
Amos Ungar / dulcimer, sampler
Danil Gertman / digital drawing
Gosha Hniu / percussion, toys, cries and whispers
Grundik Kasyansky / feedback synthesizer, objects
Maya Pik / synthesizer, rocking chair, melodica
Ran Nahmias / silent cello, theremin
Lyrics by Arthur Molev. Mixed and mastered by Gosha Hniu from the original recording made by Shaun Crook. Filmed by Heliana Trovato, Sam Way, Filippo Mira and Patrick Farrell. Video edited by Heliana Trovato. Huge thanks to Tsip Nahmias and to the wonderful people at Cafe OTO and Tusk Festival - this wouldn't have happened without you!
Staraya Derevnya – 13.10.17
This week we’re pleased to be sharing a solo set from composer, improviser, performer and creative polymath, Alex Ward. Predominantly a guitar and clarinet player, Ward is regarded as one of the most technically accomplished performers of both free and composed music, and has recently played shows in the UK and US as part of the phenomenal This is Not This Heat. Having had his debut record put out on Derek Bailey's Incus, Ward has continued to play at an astonishing level ever since. His current work ranges from his formidably knotty guitar playing in avant-rock two piece Dead Days Beyond Help to his compositions-for-improvisers including Forebrace, the Alex Ward Quintet/Sextet, and his new ITEM series which returns to OTO in September.
After releasing his solo clarinet album in 2017 on the Weekertoft label, Ward's solo performances strive to bring acoustic and amplified playing into closer integration. '15.2.18' is a reminder of what a singular player he is, pulling open the full range of the instrument - from warm trills and woody overtones to overblown, amped up blowouts.
Alex Ward / clarinet, guitar
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on 15.2.2018 by Martyn Larcombe. Mixed by Alex Ward and mastered by James Dunn.
Alex Ward – 15.2.18
Nearly an hour of rhythmic explorations from tonbak player Mohammad Reza Mortazavi. His first vinyl release on Padre Himalaya was stocked by Hardwax - the comparisons between his technique and techno are evident. Live in a hot room, his playing barely ceases, and the organic polyrhythmic patterns he creates command a hypnotic force. ---
Mohammed Reza Mortazavi / tonbak, daf
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Friday the 8th of June by Shaun Crook.
Mohammed Reza Mortazavi – 8.6.18
Subterranean saxophones and self made instruments from the first time collaboration between Takahiro Kawakuchi and Seymour Wright. Using everyday horns powered by homemade airpumps, Kawaguchi generates swelling peals and perforates them with pinches of his tabletop valve box. Having laid three saxophones on the floor, Wright live mixed their feedback from the back of the room, producing undulating gargles which bubble under Kawaguchi and surface in the gaps. Neither artist simply 'investigates the specifics of space' but instead fully regurgitages the innards of their dreamt up instrument with devilish humour.
Takahiro Kawaguchi / self-made instruments, self-made objects
Seymour Wright / 3 alto saxophones and their feedback
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Tuesday 7th August by Shaun Crook. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Seymour Wright. Artwork by Oli Barratt.
Takahiro Kawaguchi & Seymour Wright – 7.8.18
First time trio ft. Bobby Glue aka you know who, (Guttersnipe) and legendary Leeds freak-out collective Vibracathedral Orchestra members Neil Campbell and Michael Flower. Cambell and Flower have been moonlighting as a parallel universe rock'n'roll duo since early millenia, taking some of the archetypes of garage rock and dragging them through a muzzy haze of blown-out multi-phasing repetition to head out toward the unknown region. Joined by breakless Bobby Glue, Leeds' latest lightning bolt, the trio spare no energy whatsoever.
Bobby Glue / drums
Michael Flower / guitar
Neil Campbell / electronics
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Friday 9th March 2018 by Chris Penty. Mixed & mastered by James Dunn.
Neil Campbell / Bobby Glue / Michael Flower – 9.3.18
Having released her 'Melancoholic' 7" on American Tapes back in 2012, it was super special to have Sharon Gal play a solo set as part of Wolf Eyes' residency last year. 23.9.18 slinks around the demonic end of Gal's doings; kin to her work as Mami Wata (duo with Andie Brown) and Meltaot (with Edwin Pouncey). Bells and electronics summon malevolent birdsong and creatures lit by the light of a will-o'-the-wisp.
Sharon Gal / electronics, vocals
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Sunday 23rd September 2018 by Shaun Crook. Mixed & mastered by Jimmy Dunn. All music by Sharon Gal.
Sharon Gal – 23.9.18
Before heading up to Counterflows festival, we were lucky to have new two piece Zywizna play an extraordinary set at OTO. Zywizna is a collaborative project between two distinct voices in underground Polish music – Genowefa Lenarcik and Raphael Rogiński. With guitar and voice they re-realize traditional Kurpian folk songs within a new experimental context; making music that is as much about the past as it is about the possible future. Raphael returns solo on the 7th March for a night of solo guitar.
Raphael Roginski is one of the most exploratory guitarists to emerge in Europe in past few decades. Laying the foundations for new Jewish music in Poland with the bands Shofar, Cukunft and Alte Zachen, he has gone on to immerse himself in primitive American folk and blues, early Israeli music, European improvisation, Mediterean music, Jewish African music, American experimental music, as well the work of of Bach and Coltrane.
Genowefa Lenarcik is a singer and performer of traditional Kurpian folk music. Daughter of the Kurpian vocal legend Stanisław Brzozowski and the acclaimed torch-bearer of her father’s oeuvre.
Raphael Roginski / guitar
Genowefa Lenarcik / vocals
Zywizna – 4.4.18
The bold voice of James Brandon-Lewis meets one of the UK's fiercest rhythm sections. A relatively new, young player, Lewis' credentials include having studied with with Charlie Haden and Wadada Leo Smith at Cal Arts and recorded top records with Jamie Branch and Chad Taylor. His playing is characterised by a strong attack but has a wicked way of threading a fine melody from a chunky chord. When Edwards matches him on a tone and the pair find themselves locking into Sander's smouldering, skittish groove it's magic - proper mid-air, heady free jazz. Solo sections from Sanders and Edwards testify to the fun had in our hot little room. We look forward to a reunion.
James Brandon-Lewis / tenor saxophone
John Edwards / double bass
Mark Sanders / drums
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Paul Skinner on the 4th February 2019. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn.
James Brandon Lewis / John Edwards / Mark Sanders – 4.2.19
First time trio from Ren Schofield, Seymour Wright and Paul Abbott. Under the Container moniker Ren usually improvises overblown electronic hardware: infectious drum patterns, restructured feedback and dying tape loops. Wright and Abbott’s respective practices look to interrogate the British tradition of improvised music – groups such as AMM and SME - so this meeting somewhat shoves spontaneous interplay onto the dancefloor. The result is a high density recursive tangle of magnified antagonism and genuine investigative collaboration which steps off on the more cognitive side of techno. Not your usual dancefloor but experiments like this will keep free improvisation fresh.
Seymour Wright / saxophone
Paul Abbott / drums, electronics
Ren Schofield / Roland 909, tape machine, delay
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Adam Maschulat on Thursday 9th August, 2018. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn.
XT & Container – 9.8.18