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CARTOON (Biscoe / Pope / Turner): Change of Meaning (Confront)

A trio of UK free improvisers--Chris Biscoe on alto & soprano saxophones, and John Pope on double bass, and Roger Turner on drumset & percussion--in two extended performances, one recorded in the studio in West London, the other live at The Bridge in Newcastle, for collective improvisation of great clarity, direction and creativity.

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product information:

Label: Confront
Catalog ID: ccs 100
Squidco Product Code: 27946

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: UK
Packaging: CD in a tin case
Track 1 recorded at Dave Hunt's Studio, in West London, UK, march 3rd, 2019, by Charlie McGovern.

Track 2 recorded live at The Bridge, Newcastle, UK, on December 3rd, 2017, by Charlie McGovern.


Chris Biscoe-alto saxophone, soprano saxophone

John Pope-double bass

Roger Turner-drumset, percussion

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Artist Biographies:

"Born in 1947, Chris Biscoe was drawn to jazz by hearing Fats Waller, Erroll Garner and Benny Goodman on the radio. Early listening to Lester Young and Stan Getz (Jazz Samba) and Charlie Parker led to him starting to learn alto sax in 1963. Chris is self-taught on sax and clarinet. Turning to tenor sax in 1965, Chris's major influences were Sonny Rollins, Charlie Rouse and Dexter Gordon, but after his tenor was stolen he returned to alto.

While studying at Sussex University Chris met pianist Ben Sidran and made his first recording with Ben in 1970. After graduating in 1968 Chris played gigs in London but soon realised that not reading music was a serious barrier, so under the influence of educator and composer Ken Gibson began to attend rehearsal bands and joined NYJO, with which he made two LPs. He became a professional player in 1973.In 1975 Chris joined Red Brass with Pete Hurt and led by Tony Haynes. The association with Tony continues to this day, including numerous concerts and recordings. In 1979 Chris joined the Mike Westbrook Brass Band, and since then has played in many of Mike's bands, from trio to big band. Mike asked Chris to join 'The Cortege', and this led to him starting to play the baritone sax seriously, which he carried on into the Brass Band, the Westbrook Trio and several records.

In 1986 Chris Biscoe joined the George Russell Anglo American Orchestra for its first tour, staying with the band until the final 80th Birthday Concert in 2003 and making three CDs. Also in 1986 Chris augmented his regular quartet (with Peter Jacobsen) to make the first recording under his name: 'Chris Biscoe Sextet'. The quartet and quintet performed regularly in England in the 1980s and 1990s. He also broadcast and recorded with Pete Hurt ('Lost for Words') and the Brotherhood of Breath ('Country Cooking'). From the 1990s on Chris has been associated with French bassist/composer Didier Levallet in his quartet, tentet, The Orchestre National de Jazz and The Brotherhood Heritage, touring and making 4 CDs.BiographyChris started to learn clarinet in the early 1970s, picking up the rarely used alto clarinet in 1975. This instrument he featured in the improvising quartet Full Monte, in various Westbrook bands, with The Liam Noble Group ('In the Meantime'), with the long-running groups exploring the music of Charles Mingus ('Profiles of Mingus') and in The Profiles Quartet with Tony Kofi dedicated to Eric Dolphy ('Gone in the Air' and 'Live at Campus West'). Chris is now playing alto clarinet and baritone sax in Two of a Mind.

In most of these bands Chris has also played alto sax, and soprano sax, which he started to play around 1970. The baritone sax has often been a separate strand, in the John Williams Baritone Band, with the Hermeto Pascoal Big Band, The New York Composers Orchestra and The Dedication Orchestra. Chris Biscoe and Allison Neale joined forces in 2015 to bring to the fore the sense of collective improvisation on standard material so brilliantly demonstrated by Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan."

-Chris Biscoe Website (

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John Pope: "Who am I, indeed? Well, for starters:

I am a bass player. I play both electric bass and double bass, with a pretty even split in focus.

I am an improviser. Most of the music I make is based in contemporary forms of improvisation, mostly along the lines of ‘jazz’ or ‘free improvisation’. Of course, my rock or funk sides also like to make their presence known.

I live in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North East of England. I have done since about 2005.

I believe in magic, and that it exists when performers are given space to make art. Music is my primary way of doing this.

As well as making music I’m also a devoted fan of comic books, tapletop RPGs and assorted culty, fringe geekery. My life pretty much revolves around those two points, and I’m equally geeky about both. It’s a good way to be!"

-John Pope Website (

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"Roger Turner (born 1946, Whitstable, England) is an English jazz percussionist. He plays the drumset, drums, and various percussion, and was brought up into the jazz and visual art cultures inhabited by his older brothers, playing drums from childhood in informal jazz contexts.

Turner studied English literature and contemporary philosophy at Sussex University, playing with Chris Biscoe for the British Council in 1968, a first concert in improvisation. His move to London gave him contact with the first and second generation improvisers and he began to play primarily with Lol Coxhill, Gary Todd, John Russell, Hugh Davies, Steve Beresford, and Phil Minton.

In the years immediately after 1974 his work was primarily concentrated on opening the way to a more personal percussion language. This was also a period of intense collaborations that structured many of his future approaches to music-making and saw the formation of two long-lasting acoustic duos with Phil Minton and with John Russell. Recordings of these duos document an extreme attention to timbre and pitch, as well as a constantly shifting speed that typified much of his work at the time. The duo with Minton toured extensively throughout Europe, USA and Canada.

In 1979 he established CAW records with John Russell and Anthony Wood, and recorded the solo album The Blur Between focussing on single surface improvisations: a linear and reduced equipment approach he had started using with Carlos Zingaro and others in live performances.

In addition to forming Trump music with Gary Todd to promote improvised music in London, he also involved himself in formative activities of the London Musicians Collective during this period. He was awarded Arts Council of Great Britain bursaries for solo percussion in 1980, and in 1983 for investigation into percussion with electronics. Extensive festival and club solo work followed, including the Bracknell Jazz Festival and the Brussels Festival of Percussion.

In 1982 the trio The Recedents was formed with Lol Coxhill and Mike Cooper exploring the possibilities of electro-acoustic music, in which Turner initially played drumset and EMS Synthi A as a means of bending the sounds of various metal percussion instruments. This group, still existing, mixes song, jazz, punk/thrash, with acoustic detail in always shifting sonorities, and has worked throughout Europe, Canada and the UK, also recording for the French Nato label. Involvements with experimental rock musics and open-form song included extensive work in duo with Annette Peacock 1983-5, with whom he toured in Europe and Scandinavia. They recorded the album I have no feelings for Ironic.

In 1984-5, he was invited for workshop residences at Alan Silva's Institute Art Culture Perception in Paris, where long-term collaborations with Alan began, culminating in The Tradition Trio with Johannes Bauer. This group was central to his explorations of forms of free jazz, an interest that has seen him working with musicians on both sides of the Atlantic (including Elton Dean, Irene Schweizer, Cecil Taylor, Roy Campbell, Henry Grimes, The Wardrobe Trio and Charles Gayle).

Since the early 1980s his work has focussed on numerous projects with improvising musicians and groups, touring Europe, Australia, USA and Canada. Perhaps the most important of the later groups would be Konk Pack, formed in 1997, with Tim Hodgkinson and Thomas Lehn, a group whose use of volume and sense of detail continues the exploration of an electro-acoustic dynamic that forms one of his main musical concerns. This group has toured extensively in Europe and USA.

He forged working relationships with Japanese musicians over the years: in the 1980s with Toshinori Kondo in the trio with John Russell, but since the mid-1990s in concerts and recordings with guitarist Kazuhisa Uchihashi in Austria, Japan, and U.K, and in the recent (2009) Hana-Bi three-day event in London that included the guitarist and the pianist Chino Shuichi.

An active involvement in visual art has always been in dialogue with his music, and an inspiration for it. In the forefront of this is his work with Susan Turcot (the investigation/documentation of music and sound-drawing both in Europe and Canada-including the Being Rich box collection --, and music for her 2008 animation film Bitumen, Blood, and the Carbon Climb.

His music for dance/performance includes work with Alexander Frangenheim's Concepts of Doing, Stuttgart ; Carlos Zingaro's Encontros projects in Lisbon and Macau; and most recently in the Josef Nadj production etc.etc. (premiered Vandeouvre, France, 2008) and which is a continuing involvement.

In March 2009 he was invited to travel and perform on the Arctic island Svalbard, and was also invited to attend and play in the Comprovise event in Cologne, Germany in June 2009, set up to examine any possible relationship between improvisation and composition.

Turner's music-making with international improvisers in ad hoc and group collaborations have since the 1970s to the present day included Toshinori Kondo, Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, William Parker, Cecil Taylor, Otomo Yoshihide, Shelley Hirsch, Joelle Leandre, Keith Rowe, Ab Baars, Barry Guy, Barre Philips, Henry Grimes, Paul Rutherford, Gunter Christmann, Marilyn Crispell, Irene Schweizer, Frederik Rzewski, and Malcolm Goldstein."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. Unbuilding 37:21

2. The Plate 18:01
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The Confront Recording's Collectors Series is distinguished by the packaging of its CDs which arrive in a DVD sized metal box. Rather than any cover art, there are instead simple stickers affixed to the front and rear denoting the artist, title and track names. The CD itself quaintly replicates the grooves and track markers of a vinyl record. These are limited edition runs of just a few hundred and sell at an attractively competitive price. But that's merely the icing on the cake, since what really matters is the calibre of the musicians involved. Amongst a burgeoning cohort featured on the label are improvisational pioneers Derek Bailey, David Sylvian, Keith Rowe, John Butcher, Phil Minton and label owner and bassist Mark Wastell, to name just a few.

Cartoon is comprised of a trio of the UK's leading improvisers. Chris Biscoe is perhaps the most widely known of the three. An alumnus of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, he played with the big band from 1970 until 1973. Following his departure from NYJO, the self-taught saxophonist has played in a variety of ensembles including Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, George Russell's Living Time Orchestra, the Hermeto Pascoal Orchestra and the David Murray Big Band. He's also collaborated with the likes of Harry Beckett, Andy Sheppard and Graham Collier. However, he is undoubtedly most recognised for his work with Mike Westbrook with whom he's recorded over a dozen albums, the earliest being The Westbrook Blake (Bright As Fire) (Original Records, 1980).

Drummer and percussionist Roger Turner's first formal performance in improvisation was in a duo with Chris Biscoe for the British Council, Brighton in 1966. He's recorded on scores of albums featuring improvising luminaries such as Lol Coxhill, Trevor Watts, Veryan Weston, Phil Minton and the London Improvisers Orchestra. The youngest member of Cartoon is John Pope. But this bassist, a resident of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, is no novice. He's a lecturer at Newcastle University where he gained a MMus in 2010 and runs Jazz North East's Improvisers Workshop. He also leads his own chordless jazz quintet playing music inspired by Ornette Coleman.

Despite only two tracks, there's almost an hour's worth of music on Change Of Meaning. "Unbuilding" was recorded live on December 3, 2017 at Bridge Hotel, Newcastle under the auspices of Jazz Northeast. Biscoe's alto paints a sonic picture with crystal clarity, his wailing and swooping notes underpinned by resonant bass and rolling, rumbling percussion. The trio assiduously follows Biscoe's lead throughout this mammoth set of nearly forty minutes duration which reveals an extraordinary three-way conversation. Following a short glissando-rich bass introduction, "On The Plate" features Biscoe on soprano, playing at his most lyrical, his saxophone tracing serpentine lines, once again closely mirrored by bass and drums. This relatively shorter track, weighing in at just over fifteen minutes, was recorded at Dave Hunt's West London studio on 3 March 2019. Despite the chronological gap between the two recordings, the music in the two sets is remarkably consistent, clearly demonstrating a natural collective compatibility with the three protagonists continually bouncing ideas off one another."-Roger Farbey, All About Jazz

Get additional information at All About Jazz
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Trio Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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