The second recording made in a series of concerts at The Network Theatre, Waterloo, London, in which Eddie Prévost invited notable saxophonists to make music with him.
John Butcher / tenor and soprano saxophones
Guillaume Viltard / double bass
Eddie Prévost / drums
Recorded at the Network Theatre, Waterloo, London, on the 1st August 2011 by Giovanni Le Rovere. Mixing and editing by John Butcher. Cymbol photography by Tom Mills. Design my Myuh Chun.
Review in Point of Departure:
The first part of the three-part suite opens up with tuned toms, and moves quickly into popping, lip-smacking sax and burbling pizzicato, making for a good old free jazz romp for starters. Amidst the nicely heated metal and woody thwacks, you can hear Butcher digging into some of his most audibly saxophonic playing (to call it conventional, even though there are lines and intervals, would be overstating things). But there’s also such a sheerly avian quality, at times evolving into a menacing spitfire, that you forget those previous passages altogether as overtones proliferate. There are also some extraordinary moments in the second part, where Butcher seems to reduce the soprano to pure whizzing sound, with no breaks in the sound, only a massive metallic whistle that occasionally boils down into burrs and grumbles. I have to confess that there are moments when (partly owing to his place in the mix) Vitard sounds a bit inconsequential; and in the hot exchanges to begin “part 3” it’s clear that the sympathy between Butcher and Prévost is where the action is. But thankfully the bassist subsequently proves me wrong with a truly sizzling arco solo – bold and confessional at once – midway through the 28-minute closing section.
– Jason Bivins
Available as a 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC download.
1. All But - Part 1 - 14:12
2. All But - Part 2 - 15:52
3. All But - Part 3 - 28:32
An intensely physical double-bassist Viltard was one of OTO’s first associate artists – he has played and performed here with musicians as diverse as Otomo Yoshihide and Kan Mikami, Louis Moholo-Moholo, and Evan Parker. Particularly memorable was a sensational solo set in support of Marc Ribot. Most often his work has been in the ‘classic’ jazz format of saxophone/bass/drums: from trios with the late Tony Marsh and Shabaka Hutchings, to most recently Eddie Prévost and Ken Vandermark.
His uncompromising, physical and rhythmic approach to the double-bass – always acoustic, adamant – connects to jazz learning from sources as diverse as Jean-Jacques Avenel, Barre Phillips, Johnny Mbizo Dyani and Ronnie Boykins.
His close association with OTO endures, and since late summer 2013 he has been part of a group of musicians playing, pushing and learning day and night in the OTO project space. Most often private, groupings around this new energy these groups are increasingly public, for example Steve Noble’s (new) Quartet.
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.
Eddie Prévost began his life in music as a jazz drummer. A recurring interest in this form has been maintained, although always with an experimental ethos. Along the way he has maintained his fifty-year plus experimental credentials with AMM and numerous other improvisation projects, including his now twenty-year long weekly workshop. But drumming has generally been backgrounded to his experimental percussion work. More though, is to be expected of his drumming in 2020 on forthcoming multi-CD album: The Unexpected Alchemy. A part of this Krakow festival recording features the drums and saxophone trio of Ken Vandermark, Hamid Drake, and Eddie Prévost. His most recent released recordings include AMM’s: An Unintended Legacy, and a duo with John Butcher - Visionary Fantasies, both on Matchless Recordings. Also, a solo percussion LP on the Earshots label called Matching Mix. Later, in 2020 he meets with Jason Yarde and Nathan Moore, while in March concerts and recording will hear him drumming with US guitarist Henry Kaiser and saxophonist Binker Golding.
And, early 2020 should see the publication of his fourth book: An Uncommon Music for the Common Man: a polemical memoir.
“Prévost's free drumming flows superbly making use of his formidable technique. It’s as though there has never been an Elvin Jones or Max Roach.” - Melody Maker
“Relentlessly innovative yet full of swing and fire.” – Morning Star