Wednesday 8 April 2015, 8pm
Bass, drums and saxophone are the core elements of (what might still be called) ‘free-jazz’. Bassist Guillaume Viltard and saxophonist Seymour Wright are two of the most exciting current developers of this tradition – working way-beyond emulation, using knowledge of the past, extremely physical and new approaches to their instruments they lean against the jazz-past, on, into the future - always doing something different. Since late summer 2013 they have been part of a group of musicians playing, pushing and learning day and night in the OTO Project Space.
From the new-year into the spring of 2015 Cafe OTO is excited to present a series of concerts each involving them in collaboration with a different drummer (and others). The two have been significant partners since Viltard moved to London in 2007; together they have performed in bass/saxophone/drums trios with Paul Abbott, Tony Marsh, Steve Noble and Eddie Prévost, sometimes with the addition of a second bassist. Each permutation has developed, and challenged those involved, in unique and very different ways. The continuity across these different meetings is fascinating, and the opportunity for this to be made public over a several-month residency a rare and exciting one.
Viltard explains that ‘quoting Samuel Beckett’s Molloy seems (to him) the best introduction to this musical approach:
“And having heard, or more probably read somewhere, in the days when I thought I would be well advised to educate myself, or amuse myself, or stupefy myself, or kill time, that when a man in a forest thinks he is going forward in straight line, in reality he is going in a circle, I did my best to go in a circle, hoping in this way to go in a straight line (…) And if I did not go in a rigorously straight line, with my system of going in a circle, at least I did not go in a circle, and that was something.”
All four of these musicians have spent hours of their lives playing together in various groupings in public and private. It contains in it many overlapping histories and connections of other groups past and present. This will be the first public performance of this quartet.
Eddie Prévost plays drums with immense fire, grace and invention. Founder of the essential AMM, he is a definitively important improvising musician. He always manages to invent anew his contribution to what he has described as a ‘meta-music’.
Tom Wheatley is a double and electric bass player who seeks to ‘open the bass – sonically and physically, musically and surgically’ in ‘un(-)sound praxis’. He currently plays often in Hebronix (with Daniel Blumberg) and CYNTHIA (with Billy Steiger and Seymour Wright).
An intensely physical double-bassist Viltard was one of OTO’s first associate artists – he has played and performed here with musicians as diverse as Otomo Yoshihide and Kan Mikami, Louis Moholo-Moholo, and Evan Parker. Particularly memorable was a sensational solo set in support of Marc Ribot. Most often his work has been in the ‘classic’ jazz format of saxophone/bass/drums: from trios with the late Tony Marsh and Shabaka Hutchings, to most recently Eddie Prévost and Ken Vandermark.
His uncompromising, physical and rhythmic approach to the double-bass – always acoustic, adamant – connects to jazz learning from sources as diverse as Jean-Jacques Avenel, Barre Phillips, Johnny Mbizo Dyani and Ronnie Boykins.
His close association with OTO endures, and since late summer 2013 he has been part of a group of musicians playing, pushing and learning day and night in the OTO project space. Most often private, groupings around this new energy these groups are increasingly public, for example Steve Noble’s (new) Quartet.
Seymour Wright’s work is about the creative, situated friction of learning, ideas, people and the saxophone – music, history and technique – actual and potential.
His solo work is documented on three widely-acclaimed collections - Seymour Wright of Derby (2008), Seymour Writes Back (2015) and Is This Right? (2017).
Current projects include: abaria with Ute Kanngiesser; [Ahmed] with Antonin Gerbal, Joel Grip and Pat Thomas; @xcrswx with Crystabel Riley; GUO with Daniel Blumberg; The Experimental Library with Evie Ward; XT with Paul Abbott; a trans-atlantic duet with Anne Guthrie, and, with Jean-luc Guionnet a project addressing an imaginary lacunae in Aby Warburg's Atlas Mnemosyne.
His writing has been published in C//A, Sound American and The Wire.
Tom Wheatley is an artist and musician based in London
His current projects include:
- A long-standing collaboration with Billy Steiger
- Various lineups & outputs with Daniel Blumberg, often including Billy Steiger, Ute Kanngiesser and Jim White
- теплота́ with Grundik Kasyansky
Eddie Prévost began his life in music as a jazz drummer. A recurring interest in this form has been maintained, although always with an experimental ethos. Along the way he has maintained his fifty-year plus experimental credentials with AMM and numerous other improvisation projects, including his now twenty-year long weekly workshop. But drumming has generally been backgrounded to his experimental percussion work. More though, is to be expected of his drumming in 2020 on forthcoming multi-CD album: The Unexpected Alchemy. A part of this Krakow festival recording features the drums and saxophone trio of Ken Vandermark, Hamid Drake, and Eddie Prévost. His most recent released recordings include AMM’s: An Unintended Legacy, and a duo with John Butcher - Visionary Fantasies, both on Matchless Recordings. Also, a solo percussion LP on the Earshots label called Matching Mix. Later, in 2020 he meets with Jason Yarde and Nathan Moore, while in March concerts and recording will hear him drumming with US guitarist Henry Kaiser and saxophonist Binker Golding.
And, early 2020 should see the publication of his fourth book: An Uncommon Music for the Common Man: a polemical memoir.
“Prévost's free drumming flows superbly making use of his formidable technique. It’s as though there has never been an Elvin Jones or Max Roach.” - Melody Maker
“Relentlessly innovative yet full of swing and fire.” – Morning Star