Articles | Popular | Future

ALBUM REVIEWS

Thomas/Butcher/Solberg: Fictional Souvenirs

Read "Fictional Souvenirs" reviewed by John Sharpe

Free improvisers favor ephemeral lineups more than most musicians. They keep things fresh and present new challenges. But most improvisers are also fond of particular groupings or connections. That's definitely the case with the British pairing of saxophonist John Butcher, keyboardist and electronicist Pat Thomas and Norwegian drummer Stale Liavik Solberg. They have worked together in various constellations, such that Fictional Souvenirs might be seen as a follow up of sorts to His Flights At Ten (Iluso, 2018) by a ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

John Butcher

Read "John Butcher" reviewed by John Eyles

In the Building a Jazz Library article on Evan Parker, it says that seasoned Parker followers would describe him as the finest improvising saxophonist of his generation. Curiously, many of those same people would use exactly that phrase about John Butcher. The simple explanation for this apparent contradiction is that we are talking about two generations; Parker (born 1944) is a member of the “first generation of free improvisation" (along with Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley, John Stevens, Paul Rutherford, Barry ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Stray: Into Darkness

Read "Into Darkness" reviewed by John Sharpe

Two old masters and two younger pretenders unite to produce Into Darkness. Saxophonist John Butcher and guitarist John Russell were both part of the so-called second generation of improvisers, following in the wake of progenitors such as Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and John Stevens. Joining them in a continuous 51-minute live performance from London's Iklektic in December 2015 are bassist Dominic Lash and Norwegian drummer Ståle Liavik Solberg. In coming together under the moniker Stray, they decisively upend some stereotypical ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Butcher / Ståle Liavik Solberg: So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain

Read "So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain" reviewed by John Sharpe

British saxophonist John Butcher and Norwegian percussionist Ståle Liavik Solberg come together in a striking first meeting recorded live at north London's Cafe Oto in August 2015. Butcher brings to bear all the experience one would expect from one of the so-called second generation of English improvisers. Solberg, who co-curates Oslo's Blow Out! Festival each January, has worked extensively with other members of the same cohort such as pianist Steve Beresford and guitarist John Russell, so it's no surprise he ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Butcher, Thomas Lehn, Matthew Shipp: Tangle

Read "Tangle" reviewed by John Eyles

Recorded at Café Oto in February 2014, on the first night of pianist Matthew Shipp's three-day residency at the venue, Tangle is the first recording of the trio of saxophonist John Butcher and synthesiser player Thomas Lehn with Shipp. (The YouTube clip, below, was filmed on the night in question.) Typically, there were previous links between the three, with evidence being available on past Fataka releases; Butcher and Lehn had first collaborated as far back as 1996 and, in June ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Catching up with John Butcher at 60

Read "Catching up with John Butcher at 60" reviewed by John Eyles

In November 2014, saxophonist John Butcher celebrated his sixtieth birthday over two evenings at Cafe Oto, London, in the company of musicians including Gino Robair, Tony Buck, Magda Mayas, dieb13, Olie Brice, Guillaume Viltard, Adam Bohman and Ute Kanngiesser, with Butcher playing both solo and in various small groupings. At those gigs, he demonstrated all the attributes that have made him one of the most adventurous and intriguing saxophonists of the past few decades and showed that the arrival of ...

CATCHING UP WITH

John Butcher: So Far

Read "John Butcher: So Far" reviewed by Sammy Stein

Saxophonist John Butcher's career could have taken an academic path. He completed a Ph.D in theoretical physics--Charmed Quarks to be precise--but left the academic world behind shortly thereafter. As a saxophonist, Butcher has played with and collaborated with many musicians. He is not afraid to try completely off the wall musical experimentation. All About Jazz: What is your background? Where did you grow up and how did you come to music? John Butcher: ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Butcher, Thomas Lehn, John Tilbury: Exta

Read "Exta" reviewed by John Eyles

The trio of saxophonist John Butcher, synthesiser player Thomas Lehn and pianist John Tilbury had a certain inevitability about it. Although they had not recorded together prior to this album, each of the three possible pairs had done so--Lehn and Tilbury when the Englishman recorded the extraordinary The Hands of Caravaggio (Erstwhile, 2002) with MIMEO of which Lehn was a member, Butcher and Tilbury when the saxophonist joined AMM to record Trinity (Matchless, 2008), and Butcher and Lehn when the ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

John Butcher: Winter Gardens

Read "John Butcher: Winter Gardens" reviewed by John Eyles

Just as they say about London buses, you wait ages for one to come along and then two arrive at once. Hot on the heels of Bell Trove Spools, comes another John Butcher solo album, Winter Gardens. The main difference between them is that this one is a vinyl LP release rather than a CD. Otherwise, there are considerable similarities; like its predecessor, Winter Gardens features concert recordings from two separate locations, Vogel Hall, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in October 2011 and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Butcher: Bell Trove Spools

Read "Bell Trove Spools" reviewed by John Eyles

In saxophonist John Butcher's extensive discography, there are examples of many contexts, from solo through duos--including the recently released Daylight (Emanem, 2012), with drummer Mark Sanders, and At Oto (Fataka, 2012), with pianist Matthew Shipp--and trios, up to larger ensembles including Butcher's own seven-piece group, which recorded Somethingtobesaid (Weight of Wax, 2008). Taken together, they paint a detailed picture of the breadth and depth of Butcher's abilities. Yet, if it were necessary to zoom in on a single ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Butcher: Bell Trove Spools

Read "Bell Trove Spools" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

British saxophonist John Butcher is one of the most innovative and influential saxophonists to emerge in recent decades. Butcher introduced a new conception of the saxophone--not just a horn instrument but a resonant metallic tube in which the properties of air moving through are investigated in relation to amplification devices as a microphone positioned inside the bell; using it as a device for controlling and modifying feedback; and in relation to the unique acoustic spaces in which he plays.

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Butcher / Gino Robair: Apophenia

Read "Apophenia" reviewed by John Eyles

The partnership of John Butcher and Gino Robair dates back to 1997, their first joint release appearing soon after. It is some years since they released their last duo recording-- New Oakland Burr (Rastascan, 2004)--but Robair was part of Butcher's seven-piece group, which recorded somethingtobesaid (Weight of Wax, 2009) at the Huddersfield Festival in 2008. Now comes Apophenia, a radio recording originating from KFJC, California, in October 2009. That source may explain its relative brevity--it just tops twenty-eight minutes. It ...


Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.