In October 2011 we organised a three-day festival in Berlin which brought together four generations of musicians. Called Just Not Cricket!, it marked the beginning of the shooting of a documentary film on British Free Improvised Music, and marked the beginning of a documentary film shoot.
During the festival the stand-up comedian Stewart Lee chatted with the musicians, exploring the artistic continuity between musicians from different generations and backgrounds who have defined the genre and continue to do so. In the same vein, the film will try to define (and maybe fail to do so) the specific characteristics of a musical movement emerging at the end of the 1960s as a European twist on libertarian jazz as much as the adventures of European modernity, Fluxus and John Cage.
The feature-length documentary will consist of portraits of key figures in connection with recordings of concerts and sessions. It aims to chart the common ground between such diverse musical experiences as John Butcher’s extended techniques on saxophone, Steve Beresford’s eclecticism, Rhodri Davies’s minimalism and Adam Bohman’s Neo-Dada bruitism, as they shape the distinct and universally recognisable sound of British Free Improvised Music.
Since January 2012 we have paid several visits to London and recorded a series of interviews with key players as well as live performances in different venues including Cafe OTO, Vortex, Boat-Ting and Flim Flam in London. Looking for the Britishness in British Free Improvised Music, we extended our search to the countryside, which brought us to unexpected places such as St Mary’s Monastery in Dalsmirren/Kintyre and The Shed in Brawby/North-Yorkshire, where we were lucky to record the unique Mrs Boyes’ Bingo featuring Mark Sanders (with guest star Alan Tomlinson).
The editing and postproduction of the film will extend well into autumn, which nevertheless leaves us with good hopes of premiering the film before the end of 2013, preferably at Cinema Rio on Kingsland High Street in Dalston, London.
The musicians and time witnesses involved so far are Tom Arthurs, Steve Beresford, Tony Bevan, Alison Blunt, Adam Bohman, Matthew Bourne, Eileen Boyes, Karen Brookman-Bailey, Gail Brand, John Butcher, Lol Coxhill, John Coxon, Martin Davidson, Angharad Davies, Rhodri Davies, Terry Day, Max Eastley, John Edwards, Satoko Fukuda, Alexander Hawkins, Paul Hession, Shabaka Hutchings, Caroline Kraabel, Dominic Lash, Stewart Lee, Henry Lowther, Sybil Madrigal, Tony Marsh, Oren Marshall, Hugh Metcalfe, Phil Minton, Thurston Moore, Brian Morton, Rachel Musson, Maggie Nicols, Liam Noble, Steve Noble, Eddie Prévost, Orphy Robinson, John Russell, Mark Sanders, Victor Schonfield, Alan Tomlinson, Simon Thackray, Stan Tracey, Roger Turner, Alex Ward, Trevor Watts, Bobby Wellins, Veryan Weston, Alan Wilkinson, Richard Williams, and many others.