Friday 29 September 2017, 7.30pm
Mike Cooper celebrates his 75th birthday this year at Cafe Oto in the company of an all star group of musical improvising friends; Pat Thomas, Orphy Robinson, Michael Thieke and Tim Hill.
In the 1980's When Mike was still based in the UK Pat and Tim were both members of his Reading based groups Beating Time, Trystero System and Continental Drift.
Berlin based Michael Thieke is currently a member of Cooper's Rome based Spirit Songs band and Orphy ( a member of Black Top with Pat Thomas) is a new friend.
Together they will re-create music from some of Cooper's recent Blue Guitar, Raft and Reluctant Swimmer/Virtual Surfer vinyl releases and some of Cooper's 'Spirit Songs' cut-ups of Thomas Pynchon novels.
Blue Guitar - Idea Records
"A truly astonishing new album from the always excellent Idea Records. Cooper's gutsy and tough avant-garde blues make this one of the most original albums of the year. Rich, powerful and unlike anything you've heard..." - Clipper Ship Bookstore.
Raft - Room 40 Records
Following on from Fratello Mare and White Shadows Of The South Seas, two previous albums on Lawrence English’s Brisbane-based Room40 label, and both dedicated to seafaring in this part of the world, Mike Cooper’s latest album Raft is dedicated to the solo voyager, of which he is an eminent example. Based in Rome, he is an intrepid musical voyager, both in terms of musical genres, starting with blues, gravitating to jazz, folk and experimental music, as well as physically, having travelled to most parts of the world with his guitar, recording equipment and electronics. - Cyclic Defrost.
“The icon of post-everything music” – Lawrence English (::Room40::)
For the past 50 years he has been an international artistic explorer constantly pushing the boundaries.
Mike Cooper’s output of the past half century has been described as ‘post-everything’. It’s a fitting phrase really when you consider he has been at the beating heart of so many critical musical moments. From the development of the blues touring circuit in the UK, through the growth of the folk scene and into the explosion of free improvisation that came to define a generation of UK musicians. Amidst it all, working at stitching these disparate forms into some kind of deterritorialised zone, was Mike Cooper. - Lawrence English Room 40 Records.
“Cooper, 75 this year, is making the most adventurous music of his life… incredibly rich and evocative, and as a live performance, it’s utterly flawless. Cooper takes live guitar processing and sampling as his raw material, using it to build something complex and substantive, full of ideas and surprises, not just abandoning it half-formed.” – (Jonathan Dean – Brainwashed)
He plays lap steel guitar and sings, he is an improviser and composer, song-maker, a visual and installation artist; film and video maker and radio arts producer.
Michael Thieke is equally at home across a broad range of musical environments, such as experimental song forms, collectively composing projects, improvising collectives, and music on the fringes of jazz. He is exploring the minutiae of sound, timbre and noise, with a particular interest in microtonality and related sound phenomena.
Tim Hill lives in Somerset, plays the saxophone and makes noise drawing on free improvisation, grooves, electronica, composition, traditional music and ritual sound. He often works out of doors in street bands, performances and rituals.
Current projects include The Noise Eating Monsters with Alex Ward (album out in October on Muteant Sounds) and Brazen Heads, a duo with Wayne Rex (https://waynerex.bandcamp.com/album/verdigris).
Since the 1980s he has played with improvisers like Mike Cooper, Paul Burwell, Steve Noble, John Edwards and Derek Bailey.www.soundcloud.com/timhill2
“Muscular, well developed playing... somewhere between Johnny Hodges and Dudu Pukwana.” – Phillip Clarke, The Wire
Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill.
"Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that’s immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude." - The Jazzmann
Orphy Robinson is one of the major figures of the jazz scene - he has released records on Blue Note and played with Don Cherry, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Courtney Pine, Jazz Warriors and Andy Shepherd.
He has composed for Film and TV- including “In answer to your question” for the Balanescu String Quartet and “ 42 Shades of Black” for Phoenix Dance Theatre,which was performed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Currently leads the groups CODEFIVE- NUBIAN VIBES - he also plays in the groups BRUISE and CLEAR FRAME
"As the saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter once famously remarked in a 1992 interview with Mel Martin, “The word ‘jazz’ means to me no category”. You would similarly search in vain for a pigeon hole in which to place Black Top #5. An evening of surpassing invention and ambition, there might be a more creative, more engaging and more inspiring gig at this year’s London Jazz Festival. But I somehow doubt it." - The Arts Desk