Friday, February 15, 2008

Cor Baby That's Really Free

Having promised I would many times, I finally made it down to Anton's free improvisation soirée at Fuel Cafe in Withington last night, The Noise Upstairs - "An evening of uncomposed sounds... combining our backgrounds of jazz, contemporary classical and electro-acoustic music". Good fun it was too with the democratic principle of drawing three names out of a hat to form each improv trio being adhered to.

It was interesting to hear the different 'free' styles. The first trio consisting of a drummer and two saxes was clearly reminscent of classic 1960's free jazz, reminding me a little of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. It was especially effective when the two sax players came together for a long unison note and then drifted microtonally apart giving a bitter tasting atonal whining clash.

The second trio was a cello, violin and a mic'd muted trumpet through a series of multifarious effects units. I'm not at all familiar with classical free improv (any good suggestions?) but this trio again reminded me of stuff I've heard and seen in TV documentaries on people like Stockhausen. Anton joined in for the final ensemble of the evening on mandolin (ok it was a quartet to give everyone a bash). With the addition of violin, french horn (I think!) and electric guitar, much staccato stabs and scratching of bows on the back of violins made for a wholesome aural brew.

I joined in myself (see pic above) for one trio session and had scratch about on a few guitar strings running through buckets of delay and wah wah to create a back wash for my trombone and violin ensemble partners. This went into a heavily delayed Terry Riley'ish arpeggio thing that seemed to go down well with a few folk. Nice evening and highly recommended.


Sam said...

Sounds ace... I'll be there soon as I'm suitably free!

Ade said...

Nice one Sam! Think you'll like it. Ade xx