Since London Calling last appeared, we have all been saddened by the deaths of Derek Bailey and Elton Dean. Both leave behind a huge legacy ... and a vast unfillable gap. Anyone who has ever experienced their music knows that they will not be forgotten.
Freedom of the City 2006
For lovers of radical and improvised music (or even for the mildly curious), Freedom of the City is one of the highlights of the year in the capital. The programme for this year's festival is now out and is an exciting blend of familiar faces and newcomers. Particularly welcome are Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg, Adelheid Sieuw, Jan Huib Nas and Guy Strale of Collectif Inaudible from Brussels, whose album Cardo was recently released jointly by Emanem and Inaudible. (Perennial festival favourites the London Improvisers Orchestra are not on the bill as the Sunday is not the first one of the month, their habitual meeting time!)
As last year, the festival will be at The Red Rose Club in Seven Sisters Road, Islngton. It runs over two days, Sunday April 30th and Monday May 1st, and is curated by Evan Parker, Eddie Prévost & Martin Davidson.
Sunday April 30th, 4pm
John Butcher (soprano & tenor saxophones) and Eddie Prévost (percussion)
Gail Brand (trombone) and Guy Strale (piano, clarinet, etc)
Garry Todd (tenor saxophone), Nigel Coombes (violin), Nick Stephens (bass), Tony Marsh (Drums)
Furt: Richard Barrett And Paul Obermayer (electronics)
Sunday April 30th, 8pm
Tara Stuckey (clarinet), Sam Rebello (flute), Seymour Wright (alto saxophone), Jamie Coleman (trumpet)
Iskra3: Paul Rutherford (trombone), Lawrence Casserley & Robert Jarvis (Live computer processing)
Quaqua: John Russell (guitar), Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (voice), Henry Lowther (trumpet), Stefan Keune (sopranino & alto saxophones), Philipp Wachsmann (violin), Ashley Wales (piano), Hans Schneider (bass), Javier Carmona (percussion), Steve Beresford (electronics)
Monday May 1st, 4pm
John Coxon (guitar, etc), Ashley Wales (electronics, etc), Alex Ward (clarinet), Evan Parker (soprano & tenor saxophones)
Dave O'Connor (baritone saxophone), Chris Prosser (violin), Oli Mayne (vibes), Stefano Tedesco (percussion & electronics)
Terry Day (bamboo pipes) And Charlotte Hug (viola)
Ensemble: Chris Burn (piano), Adelheid Sieuw (flute), John Butcher (soprano & tenor saxophones), Jan Huib Nas (guitar), John Edwards (bass), Matt Hutchinson (synthesizer)
Monday May 1st, 8pm
Chefa Alonzo (soprano saxophone), David Leahy (bass), Javier Carmona (percussion)
Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (voice), Adelheid Sieuw (flute), Jan Huib Nas (guitar), Guy Strale (piano, clarinet, etc)
Alan Wilkinson (alto & baritone saxophones), Joe Williamson (bass), Eddie Prévost (percussion)
Evan Parker (tenor saxophone), Neil Metcalfe (flute), John Rangecroft (clarinet), John Russell (guitar), Philipp Wachsmann (violin), John Edwards (bass)
The Red Rose Club is at 129 Seven Sisters Road, a short walk from Finsbury Park underground and overground station.
Tickets cost £8 (£6 for concessions) for one concert, £13 (£10 for concessions) for one day.
Spring Heel Jack, John Tchicai, Louis Moholo, John Edwards & Orphy Robinson. Friday March 31st. 8pm. Spitz.
As well as participating in Freedom of the City, Spring Heel Jack are busy elsewhere. On March 31st at Spitz (and also on April 6th in Budapest, Hungary, sponsored by the British Arts Council) they are presenting a concert featuring John Tchicai (tenor sax), Louis Moholo (drums), John Edwards (bass), Orphy Robinson (vibraphone and percussion), Ashley Wales (electronics) & John Coxon (electric guitar).
Tchicai's appearance with Spring Heel Jack last May at the Red Rose Club was one of last year's most memorable events. An album that Tchicai recorded on that visit, with the duo and drummer Mark Sanders, has just been released as part of series 2 on SHJ's Treader label. Also part of series 2 are an album by SHJ in a trio with Eddie Prevost and an album of solo guitar loops by J Spaceman. Reviews to follow soon.
One of the highlights of Treader's series 1 of releases was Evan Parker with Birds, the label's inaugural release. On Friday March 10th, SHJ and Parker appeared at the Whitechapel Gallery in a special concert to recreate the spirit of the album. Parker played soprano sax in duet with a wide assortment of birdsong provided from discs and other recordings by SHJ, keeping a capacity audience entranced. In this context, the saxophonist's playing was more episodic and hence far closer to birdsong than usual, allowing plenty of space to appreciate the birds as well as Parker.