Sunday 24 July 2016, 8pm
Hugely excited to welcome back the great American trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist and composer, Wadada Leo Smith, after hosting the European premiere of his phenomenal large-scale masterwork - the complete Ten Freedom Summers suite - on his last visit here in 2013. This time around, Smith is joined by an incredible line-up of talented improvisers for distinct sets across two nights.
“In his eighth decade, the pioneering US trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith is stepping even harder on the gas... [his] tone and phrasing often reflect mid-period Miles Davis, but he blends free jazz into those resources with a unique poetic focus.” – The Guardian
Wadada Leo Smith / trumpet
Steve Noble / drums
Pat Thomas / piano
John Coxon / guitar
Ashley Wales / electronics
Wadada Leo Smith has been active in the creative contemporary music world for over 30 years and in 2013 was one of the three Finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. A trumpet player, multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser, his original theory of jazz and world music has been significant in his musical development as an artist and educator.
Born in Leland, Miss., Smith's early musical life began in high school concert and marching bands. At the age of 13, he became immersed in the Delta Blues and improvisational music traditions. As an improvisor-composer, Smith has studied a variety of music cultures (African, Japanese, Indonesian, European and American) and to fully express this music, he has developed an original theory and notation system for jazz and world music which he calls Ankhrasmation.
Some of the artists Smith has performed with are Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Richard Teitelbaum, Joseph Jarman, George Lewis, Cecil Taylor, Andrew Cyrill, Oliver Lake, Anthony Davis, Carla Bley, David Murray, Don Cherry, Jeanne Lee, Milton Campbell, Henry Brant, Richard Davis, Tadao Sawai, Ed Blackwell, Sabu Toyozumi, Peter Kowald, Kazuko Shiraishi, Han Bennink, Misja Mengelberg, Marion Brown, Kazutoki Umezu, Kosei Yamamoto, Charlie Haden, Kang Tae Hwan, Kim Dae Hwan and Tom Buckner, among many others.
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).
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
John Coxon, perhaps uniquely for an improvising guitarist, is inspired as much by the plangencies of Reggie Young as by the astringencies of Derek Bailey. As irascible and as spiky as it gets, his playing is always haunted by the ghosts of popular song and fragments of the blues.
Ashley Wales is a British composer and record producer, one half of Spring Heel Jack with John Coxon and an integral part of Bruise with Tony Bevan. He put on and hosted the monthly ‘back in your town’ concerts at the Red Rose in North London which saw the likes of John Tchicai, Other Dimensions in Music, Matthew Shipp, Han Bennink and many others playing with local improvising musicians. Ashley uses a wide range of sources to make music with including live sampling, electronics and acoustic instruments .