A unique evening featuring Luxembourg filmmaker Antoine Prum’s latest music documentary, followed by a series of live performances by some of the world’s leading figures in Free Improvised Music.
6 pm - Ciné Starlight: SCREENING
Luxembourg film premiere of
TAKING THE DOG FOR A WALK:
CONVERSATIONS WITH BRITISH IMPROVISERS
A music documentary by Antoine Prum
LUX/UK 2014, 111 min., Dolby 5.1, English w/French s.t.
With the support of the Centre National de l’Audiovisuel
8 pm - Foyer: BREAK
Nibbles and Drinks
8.30 pm - Grand Auditoire: LIVE MUSIC
John Butcher – saxophones
Mark Sanders – drums, percussion
Steve Beresford – piano, electronics
Tony Bevan – bass saxophone
Rhodri Davies – electric harp
Mark Sanders – drums percussion
Steve Noble – drums
John Edwards – double bass
Alex Ward – electric guitar
After Sunny’s time now, his authoritative portrait of the American Free jazz drumming legend Sunny Murray, Luxembourg filmmaker Antoine Prum turns his attention to the British Free Improvised Music scene in this new feature-length music documentary. Branching out from a three-day festival in Berlin conceived and organised for the purpose of the film, Taking the Dog for a Walk maps the scene of British Improvisers, past and present, retracing the road that led from its emergence and emancipation in the 1960s to the recent (albeit small) surge in popularity as talented new players and dynamic venues are coming to the fore.
In his search for the ‘Britishness’ of British Free Improvised Music, Prum is assisted by bass sax player Tony Bevan and stand-up comedian Stewart Lee, who talk to musicians from different generations and backgrounds to uncover the specifics of a genre that refutes the very notion of genre. Alternating with extended live music sequences, the conversations gravitate around the idiosyncrasies of improvisation, from playing in front of the proverbial ‘four men and a dog’ to pursuing a career in a milieu where success is not measured by mainstream criteria.
With Tom Arthurs, Steve Beresford, Adam Bohman, Matthew Bourne, Eileen Boyes, Sarah Gail Brand, Karen Brookman Bailey, John Butcher, Lol Coxhill, Rhodri Davies, Max Eastley, John Edwards, Caroline Kraabel, Phil Minton, Thurston Moore, Maggie Nicols, Steve Noble, Eddie Prévost, John Russell, Mark Sanders, Victor Schonfield, Alan Tomlinson, Roger Turner, Alex Ward, Trevor Watts, Veryan Weston, Richard Williams a.o.
The work of John Butcher (born 1954 in Brighton, UK) ranges from improvisation and composition to multi-tracked pieces and explorations with feedback and extreme acoustics. Originally a physicist, Butcher left academia in 1982 and has since collaborated with hundreds of musicians, including Derek Bailey, John Tilbury, John Stevens, The EX, Gerry Hemingway, Polwechsel, Gino Robair, Rhodri Davies, John Edwards, Toshi Nakamura, Paul Lovens, Eddie Prévost, Mark Sanders, Christian Marclay, Otomo Yoshihide, Phil Minton, and Andy Moor. Known as a solo performer who attempts to engage with the uniqueness of place, he also values playing in occasional encounters ranging from large groups, such as Butch Morris’s London Skyscraper and the EX Orkestra, to duo concerts with David Toop, Kevin Drumm, Thomas Lehn, Fred Frith, Okkyung Lee, Matthew Shipp, and Akio Suzuki. Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival has twice commissioned him to compose for his own large ensembles. Other commissions include Elision (Australia), the Rova and Quasar Saxophone Quartets (USA and Canada respectively), reconstructed Futurist Intonarumori (USA) and, most recently, Tarab Cuts, pieces based on pre-WWII Arabic recordings. Recent collaborative projects include The Apophonics with Robair and Edwards, and Anemone with trumpeter Peter Evans.
After drumming with rock outfits such as The Delta 5 during the early 1980s, Mark Sanders (born 1960 in Beckenham) joined the London jazz scene where he played with Dudu Pukwana, Tim Richards, Dick Heckstall-Smith, and Peter Nu.
In the 1990s he performed regularly with Paul Rogers and subsequently formed durable musical associations with two bassists, Jah Wobble and John Edwards. Sanders has recorded extensively and collaborated with many distinguished musicians including Elton Dean, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Paul Rutherford, Howard Riley, Lol Coxhill, Barry Guy, Keith Tippett, Charles Gayle, William Parker, Johannes Bauer, Peter Evans, Myra Melford, and Roswell Rudd. He has also been a member of numerous improvising groups, including the ZFP quartet with Carlos Zingaro, Simon Fell and Marcio Mattos, and SPEEQ with Hasse Poulsen, Luc Ex and Phil Minton. His interest in electronic music has been reflected in his work with DJ Sniff, Pat Thomas, Phil Durrant, and electroacoustic composer John Wall. Sanders is a visiting tutor at the Royal Academy of Music and contributes to the music therapy course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Steve Beresford (born 1950 in Wellington) studied music at York University before moving to London in 1974, where he became an energetic member of what became known as the second generation of free improvisers. Equipped with piano, toy instruments, low-grade electronics and fine comic timing, his improvised performances in countless ad hoc groups, including Derek Bailey’s Company, have been in equal measure entertaining and subversive. In 1977, with Peter Cusack, David Toop and Terry Day, Beresford formed Alterations, a group that embraced any instrument or style and blew apart expectations of how free improvised music should sound. His solo work has extended into numerous genres including dub, pop, Bollywood, chamber music and scores for film and television. His many collaborations include a celebrated duo with Han Bennink and ongoing projects with Christian Marclay. After working with Butch Morris’s conduction ensemble in the late 1990s, Beresford helped form The London Improvisers’ Orchestra. He is currently a senior lecturer on the Commercial Music course at the University of Westminster.
In the early 1970s Tony Bevan (born 1956 in Aylesbury) started playing soprano saxophone, inspired by Captain Beefheart and Terry Riley. Lol Coxhill gave him his first lesson and a sense of the instrument’s potential. Subsequently Bevan has also taken up tenor and bass saxophones. After completing a philosophy degree at Southampton University, he participated in open sessions at the London Musicians‘ Collective, where he met Steve Beresford and other second-generation improvisors. Later Bevan became involved with the Oxford Improvisers’ Collective. In 1988 he played with Derek Bailey’s Company and issued his first CD on Incus. Bevan now runs his own Foghorn label, which has issued recordings of his work with John Edwards in Sunny Murray’s European trio and performances by Bruise, his quintet with Edwards, Mark Sanders, Orphy Robinson and Ashley Wales. In 2009 he toured in a quartet with Joe Morris, Dominic Lash and Tony Buck, and in 2010 with Buck, Matthew Bourne and Barre Phillips.
Rhodri Davies (born 1971 in Aberystwyth) became interested in collective free improvisation while doing postgraduate research into contemporary harp music at the University of Huddersfield. In 1995 he moved to London, where together with Mark Wastell he co-ran the All Angels concert series. Since 2007 Davies has been living in Gateshead, where he hosts the Hauskonzert series. As an improviser he has recorded extensively and has worked with many musicians including The Chris Burn Ensemble, Derek Bailey’s Company, The London Improvisers’ Orchestra and Evan Parker’s String Project. He has run a duo with John Butcher, and a trio with Lee Patterson and David Toop, and is a member of The Sealed Knot, SLW, CRANC, and Common Objects. Davies also interprets contemporary composition with the chamber group Apartment House, the harp ensemble Branches, and in a trio with Michael Duch and John Tilbury. New harp pieces have been composed for him by Eliane Radigue, Christian Wolff, Alison Knowles, Radu Malfatti, and Yasunao Tone, among others. In 2008 he collaborated with visual artist Gustav Metzger on the project Self-Cancellation. Davies also builds wind, water and fire harp installations.
Steve Noble (born 1960 in Streatley) plays drums, percussion and turntables. He studied with Nigeria master drummer Elkan Ogunde and in the early 1980s was a member of Rip Rig and Panic, touring extensively throughout Europe and England, before going on to work with the pianist Alex Maguire and with Derek Bailey (including Company Weeks 1987, 1989 and 1990). He was featured in the Bailey's excellent TV series on Improvisation for Channel 4 based on his book Improvisation; its nature and practise. His 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, Peter Brötzmann, Alexander Hawkins and many more.
John Edwards (born 1964 in London) took up bass around 1987 and co-founded The Pointy Birds, a group that provided award-winning music for The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs dance troupes. During the early 1990s Edwards started to perform solo and to play with other improvising musicians, including Lol Coxhill and Phil Minton, while also touring as a member of B-Shops For The Poor, The Honkies, and GOD. Since 1995 he has been one of the key figures on the British improvising scene, playing with The London Improvisers’ Orchestra and collaborating with Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker, Eddie Prévost, Veryan Weston, John Butcher, Louis Moholo, and many others. He has been a member of Bruise alongside Mark Sanders and Tony Bevan, and has toured and recorded in a trio with Bevan and Sunny Murray. Other ventures have included work with electroacoustic composer John Wall, Spring Heel Jack, FunDaMental, and The Remote Viewers.
By the time he began to study music at Oxford in 1992 Alex Ward (born 1974) had already participated in two of Derek Bailey’s annual Company weeks and had released an Incus CD of duets with percussionist Steve Noble. At Oxford he began playing with locally based improvisers including Pat Thomas and Jim Denley. He also met electronics player Switch (Benjamin Hervé), with whom he formed the duo The XIII Ghosts. Since 2000 Ward has been based in London and has performed with an impressive roster of musicians including Joe Morris, Wadada Leo Smith, Butch Morris, Eugene Chadbourne, Duck Baker, Thurston Moore and Joe Williamson. He has been a member of Simon Fell’s ensembles, and has performed in a duo with Roger Turner and in a quartet with Dominic Lash, Alexander Hawkins and Paul May. Ward plays guitar in the avant-rock duo Dead Days Beyond Help, with drummer Jem Doulton, and in the power trio N.E.W. with Steve Noble and John Edwards. Ward has also issued Old Sights New Sounds (Incus), a series of duets with Lol Coxhill.