Wednesday 6 July 2016, 8pm
THE ALEX WARD QUARTET
Rachel Musson / tenor sax
Alex Ward / clarinet and electric guitar
Olie Brice / double bass
Steve Noble / drums
The Alex Ward Quartet is the latest incarnation of a flexibly-sized ensemble formed by Alex to explore various ways of combining improvisation with composed material. The project began in 2013 with the writing of the extended quintet composition "Glass Shelves And Floor", which premiered at the Cafe Oto Project Space in August of that year. The ensemble was subsequently expanded to a sextet, and the 2015 release "Projected/Entities/Removal" featured another extended work for the full line-up alongside two pieces for trios drawn from the sextet's personnel. Following up on this use of smaller sub-groupings to explore specific aspects of the ensemble's music in greater depth, the Alex Ward Quartet draws inspiration from the propulsive momentum and detailed interplay which characterises the classic small-group free-jazz tradition, without specific emulation of its stylistic conventions.
Born in 1991, Elliot Galvin is a London based jazz pianist, composer and collaborator. From de-constructing standards to creating his own mirco-tonal melodica, Galvin’s music is both playful and deadly serious drawing on a wide range of influences from Keith Jarrett to Stravinsky, Ligeti, Deerhoof and the Beatles as well as the films of David Lynch, the Dada movement and the literature of James Joyce.
His main artistic vehicle is the Elliot Galvin Trio, who in 2014 were announced as the winners of the European Young Jazz Artist of the Year Award in Germany. That same year they released their debut album ‘Dreamland’ to rave reviews, with the Guardian calling it “audaciously accomplished” ****; Jez Nelson (BBC Radio 3, Jazz on 3) saying it was “perhaps one of the strongest debuts that I’ve heard from a UK artist in a long while… extremely bold and progressive”; and The German Jazz Magazine ‘JazzThing’ naming it as one of its albums of the year. They will release their new album 'PUNCH' on the 29th July 2016 on Edition Records.
Elliot is a prolific composer and has been commissioned by a number of ensembles, dance companies, theatre groups and festivals including the Ligeti String Quartet, St. John Smith’s Square, The London Jazz Festival, The RESOLUTION! Dance Festival at The Place and the Theatre Company Cut Tongues. He works regularly with multi-media and in 2014 put on an installation piece of at the Turner Contemporary Gallery, which consisted of live performance, interactive sound sculptures and film. The Vanderbilts is a theatre music ensemble that performs Elliot's work.
Elliot features on a number of critically acclaimed albums including his soon to be released duo with Mark Sanders, Laura Jurd’s Landing Ground, Chaos Orchestra’s Island Mentality, Phil Meadow’s Engines Orchestra and Huw William’s Hon. He is a co-founder of the Chaos Collective, an organization and record label, which provides a platform for original improvised music, composition and collaborative performance in the UK, putting on festivals and having a monthly residency for new music.
Alex Ward is a composer, improviser, and performing musician, working primarily with clarinet and guitar. His involvement in freely improvised music dates back to 1986, when he met the guitarist Derek Bailey. He subsequently took part regularly in Bailey's Company events, and has gone on to become a major figure in British improvised music.
His current work ranges from the duo Dead Days Beyond Help, in which he plays guitar and sings, his group Predicate who perform his compositions, regular improvising groups with Steve Noble, Kay Grant and others, as well as more ad hoc encounters with musicians as diverse as Thurston Moore, Joe Morris and Duck Baker. He brings a unique energy and inventiveness to all these projects, elevating them far above the ordinary and injecting them with a thrilling sense of danger and possibility.
"...guitarist Alex Ward [is] a compulsively creative polymath of indiscriminately omnivorous appetite ... a reliably unpredictable axe-hero for collaborators of all backgrounds." Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times Review
Rachel Musson is a saxophonist, improviser and composer living in London, UK. She is involved with a variety of improvisation projects, including a trio with Hannah Marshall and Julie Kjaer, a duo with vibraphonist Corey Mwamba, and a trio with Mark Sanders and John Edwards. She has released two albums under her own name, one featuring Liam Noble and Mark Sanders (Tatterdemalion, Babel Records), and one featuring her ensemble Skein (Flight Line, F-ire Recorded Music). She also plays with the London Improvisers Orchestra and Alex Ward’s Quintet and Sextet, as well as with a variety of other musicians on the fluid European improvising scene.
Olie Brice is an improvising double bassist from London. He leads two bands - a quintet that plays his original compositions and a freely improvising trio featuring Tobias Delius and Mark Sanders. He has also worked with musicians including Paul Dunmall, Tony Malaby, Steve Swell, Achim Kaufmann, Alex Ward and Ingrid Laubrock.
“Brice makes the entire body of his bass sing. He has the ability to deliver a fractal line that is as purposeful as any by the great jazz bassists, but to do so within an entirely abstract setting” - Brian Morton, Point of Departure
Steve Noble is London's leading drummer, a fearless and constantly inventive improviser whose super-precise, ultra-propulsive and hyper-detailed playing has galvanized encounters with Derek Bailey, Matthew Shipp, Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Stephen O'Malley, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, Rhodri Davies and many, many more.
In the early eighties, Noble played with the Nigerian master drummer Elkan Ogunde, Rip Rig and Panic, Brion Gysin and the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, before going on to work with the pianist Alex Maguire and with Derek Bailey (including Company Weeks 1987, 89 and 90). He was featured in the Bailey's excellent TV series on Improvisation for Channel 4 based on his book ‘Improvisation; its nature and practise’. He has toured and performed throughout Europe, Africa and America and currently leads the groups N.E.W (with John Edwards and Alex Ward) and DECOY (with John Edwards and Alexander Hawkins).