Coming to the Vortex Jazz Club

From London’s Vortex:

SUN 16 MAR • 20.00 • £8/£6 • MD
In a wide ranging programme, all of the groups performing tonight are making their Mopomoso début including Italian improv duo Utter Chaos with Andrea Caputo (guitar) and Massimo Semprini (sax); pianist Stephen Grew playing an unusual solo show aside from his regular 4-piece band Grutronic; Norwegian improv duo KTHXBYE with Stian Larsen (guitar) and Brage Tomaenen (drums); and finally Nick Malcolm (trumpet), Hannah Marshall (cello) and Lauren Kinsella (voice) – three fine musicians with backgrounds across a variety of styles and genres, here bringing it all to bear in a freely improvised context.

MON 17 MAR • 20.00 • £10 • MD
Don’t miss Fringe Magnetic’s final London show as they launch their final album! Clocca is the third and final album from this 12-piece ensemble led by trumpet-player and composer Rory Simmons. Originally born out of a desire to fuse contemporary classical composition with the energy of cutting edge jazz, Fringe Magnetic’s genre-bending sonic landscape has been sculpted over the last seven years by influences as diverse as Django Bates, Brian Eno, Scott Walker, Bela Bartok and Igor Stravinsky. As The Guardian puts it, “nothing else sounds quite like them.”

TUE 18 MAR • 20.00 • £9/£10 • MD
Danish saxophonist and composer Lotte Anker is known for her intense playing and as one of the strongest improvisers in the freeform and improv field in Denmark. Mark Sanders has been acclaimed as “the most exciting, original and overwhelmingly powerful drummer alive” (Steve Reynolds, Jazz Corner). Adam Pultz Melbye has improvised double bass solo concerts with Peter Brötzmann, Rudi Mahall, Henrik Walsdorff and many more artists.

WED 19 MAR • 20.00• £9/£10 • MD
As part of a Match & Fuse tour, composer and pianist Alexander Hawkins will be sharing the bill with the Norwegian group Wolfram Trio. Hawkins’ highly distinctive soundworld is forged through the search to reconcile both his love of free improvisation and profound fascination with composition and structure, whilst Wolfram Trio seek inspiration in acoustic free jazz, as well as modern contemporary improvised music.

THU 20 MAR • 20.00 • £10 • MD
Evan Parker invites Black Top invites Evan Parker
Continuing our monthly residency with saxophonist Evan Parker, tonight Evan will be joined by Pat Thomas and Orphy Robinson for the ad hoc Black Top series which is dedicated to exploring the intersection of live improv and the technology of dub, reggae and other worldly noises – using improvisation to explore these black influences but not necessarily from an African American perspective.

FRI 21 MAR • 19.30 • £17/£20
The Vortex City Sessions at Bishopsgate Institute: THE NECKS
Together for 25 years this Australian cult trio have enthralled audiences worldwide with their compelling style of improvisation. Not entirely avant-garde, nor minimalist, nor ambient, nor jazz, their music is regularly described internationally as, simply, unique. Every Necks performance is a singular event, entirely improvised and working with the acoustics of the room. Featuring lengthy pieces of long-form improvisation which build in a mesmerising, epic fashion frequently underpinned by an insistent deep groove, their performances are never less than phenomenal.

Sound American’s What is Jazz? Issue

Interesting premise from Sound American – ask thirty musicians to define jazz. Darcy James Argue, Ab Baars, Tim Berne, Kyle Bruckmann and Fred Frith, John Butcher, Roy Campbell, Jr., Gerald Cleaver, and many other answered.

Gerald Cleaver
Gerald Cleaver

If you’ve been involved in the sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-subculture that is Jazz music, you know already that the road taken within this issue is both well traveled and perilous. If there are politics in music, and we all know that there are, then the debate about what is or isn’t really Jazz, could easily be held up as a prime example of the divisive and damaging social dynamic that can come about by trying to put a name or label on something as ambiguous as a musical tradition.

Two Rare Noise Records Releases in April

From Rare Noise:

Jamie Saft
Cover of Jamie Saft

ELEC3CITIES, the new album by Italian piano trio CHAT NOIR (Michele Cavallari on piano, multiple keyboards, analog synthesizers and effects, Luca Fogagnolo on electric bass, upright bass, guitars and effects and Giuliano Ferrari on drums and effects). By organically blending elements of Electronica, both Ambient and Concrete Music with structures arising out of chamber music and jazz, this group has come up with a wholly unique sound on Elec3Cities that may establish a daring new direction for the format.

Concurrently RareNoise will be releasing PLYMOUTH , a three part improvised psychedelic suite Jamie Saft (piano,organs), Joe Morris (guitars), Gerald Cleaver (drums), Chris Lightcap (electric bass), Mary Halvorson (guitars). Recorded in Jamie Saft’s Potterville studios, this record presents itself as an entrancing, psychedelic organic voyage. It establishes psychedelia as one of the columns of contemporary free music, and is both mind blowing and incredibly subtle.

Robert Rich’s Premonitions 1980-1985, 4LP set, due late April

From Robert Rich:

Robert Rich in Des Moines
Robert Rich in Des Moines 

Here’s one for the folks who keep asking me whether I’ll release an album on vinyl. Four discs of music from my formative years, most of it never before released. It also contains the strongest sections of the 1984 “Live” cassette, and the cyclic introduction from the original “Inner Landscapes.” I made new 24/96 digital transfers from original master tapes. It’s coming out in Germany on the label Vinyl On Demand (VOD122), and I’ll import 40 copies for listeners here in the USA.

John Zorn in Australia Reviewed

From The Age:

John Zorn (cropped version)
John Zorn

It seemed almost unbelievable when it was announced – that John Zorn was coming to Australia for the first (and probably only) time to perform with a mind-blowing collection of musicians from the US for a four-night series celebrating his music and career. Yet there they were on Tuesday for a marathon concert: Zorn and more than 20 of New York’s finest improvising artists, all gathered together in one room in Adelaide.

From The Guardian:

John Zorn has never been to Australia before and, according to Adelaide festival director David Sefton, he’s never coming back again, so these concerts mark the rarest of opportunities for Australian audiences to see the 60-year-old avant garde legend in the flesh. Tuesday saw the first of four concerts designed as a retrospective of Zorn’s long and eclectic career, the whole of which will involve some 40 musicians including Mike Patton, and Dave Lombardo, formerly of Slayer, plus the Adelaide Symphony orchestra.