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Ward / Hill / Lash / Sanders: Predicate (FMR)

Alex Ward developed this band to confront the issue of combining composition with improvisation, using free jazz as a touchstone for pieces allowing stylistically unbounded playing, here with an incredible set of players.

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product information:

UPC: 649849982407

Label: FMR
Catalog ID: FMR 318-0811
Squidco Product Code: 15569

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2011
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded on September 22nd, 2010 by Ash Gardner at House Of Strange Studios.


Alex Ward-electric guitar

Tim Hill-alto saxophone, baritone saxophone

Dominic Lash-double bass

Mark Sanders-drums

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track listing:

1. The Denied 5:12

2. Courtesy Class 9:01

3. Stub 8:58

4. Happy New Year 6:48

5. Forecast 14:49

6. Candidates 7:23
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The pieces on this CD were written between October 2009 and March 2010 specifically for this group, which played its first show in February 2010. Even though the majority of my available recordings are of free improvisation, the challenge of composing for improvising musicians and/or creating music where composed and improvised elements coexist interdependently has long been one of my foremost concerns — but it's only recently that I've felt ready to put together a working band for this purpose and make the results public. I have always believed that for such a combination of methodologies to be worthwhile, any composed material should be as strongly characterised as the improvising. Otherwise, the incorporation of composition would signify nothing more than a reluctance for the music to be fully improvised, a capitulation to the notion of improvisation as insufficient to generate music by itself — which, as one might suspect from my prior history (and in particular the key role of Derek Bailey in my musical development), I do not believe to any extent. Therefore, I had first to learn how (and why) to compose music that aspired to stand on its own merits, before addressing the specific issue of composing for improvisers. This was a lengthy process, moving through several phases, principally:

1) several years of collaborative work with Benjamin Hervé, mainly in the rock band Camp Blackfoot (represented on the 1999 album "Critical Seed vs. The Spartan Society");

2) a period of songwriting, represented by the 2005 album "Hapless Days" and subsequent work with the band Alex Ward & The Dead Ends — which, while in some ways constituting a diversion from the technical/aesthetic considerations involved in writing instrumental music, clarified for me how I perceive material and could incorporate psychological/ emotional resonances in a compositional context; and

3) the writing of through-composed instrumental structures for a duo line-up of guitar and drums, which became the basis for the repertoire of the band Dead Days Beyond Help (formed late 2006). These pieces were collected on the album "Access Denied!" (released 2009).

Dead Days Beyond Help marks the point where I felt I'd reached a level of clarity and sureness in my approach to composition, and in its initial stage also represented a summary of everything I'd been working on up to that point, incorporating as it does in its live performances songs, free improvisation and the aforementioned through-composed instrumental pieces. In mid-2009 however, DDBH underwent a transformation, shifting towards a fully collaborative method of composition, and now the material for the band is written jointly by myself and drummer Jem Doulton. At that point, I started to feel it was time to establish some new compositional outlets, firstly to provide a vehicle for the solo composing I was no longer doing for DDBH, secondly to test whether my new-found confidence in writing music could extend to other formats and instrumentations, and thirdly to confront at last the issue of combining composition with improvisation (DDBH deals in both, but very seldom together in any given piece). Predicate is the first band to be formed with these aims> in mind.

In putting together Predicate and assessing how composition and improvisation might interact in the band's music, I was guided initially by a conception of my own performance role. Having found myself playing more and more guitar over the preceding few years, both with DDBH and in the improvising trio N.E.W. (with Steve Noble and John Edwards), I felt that some aspects of how I approach the instrument might be interestingly applied in a more linear and less stylistically volatile context than either of those bands tend towards. This idea informed both the compositions I would write for the group and my choice of instrumentation — one which offers a clear delineation of rhythm section (double bass and drums) and lead instrument (saxophone), allowing the guitar to sit in between. This certain traditionalism of format, combined with a willingness for the music to gravitate towards a high level of propulsive energy and intensity, has led me on occasion to refer to Predicate as my "free-jazz" group — but this is really no more than a fairly abstract aesthetic touchstone, and while there may be less moment-to-moment dislocation than in much of the music I've been involved in previously, the group's improvisations have tended to be equally stylistically unbounded, to my great satisfaction.

Which brings me to the members of the group... After everything I might say about my ideas and aims, the character and quality of the music ultimately depends on the players, and in that regard I could not have been more fortunate. I thought long and hard about which musicians would be right for this band — and yet once I'd arrived at the final decision of who to ask, it seemed so perfect that there could have been no other choices, and I'm enormously grateful that they all agreed to be involved. If one composes to have one's intentions realised, one works with improvisers to find oneself in areas that go beyond anything one could have intended — and Tim, Mark and Dominic are the type of musicians who can fulfill both of those wishes at once. I've known Tim Hill for close to twenty years, and owe an enormous amount of my understanding of how to combine composition and improvisation to my experiences in various of his own groups. As a saxophonist, he has the rare ability to play simultaneously with emotion and momentum — that distinctive combination of attack and poignancy that characterises my very favourite jazz soloists. Besides his power and inventiveness as a bassist, Dominic Lash embodies for me the best qualities of a new generation of improvising musicians — an informed understanding of a huge range of technical and instrumental possibilities, a sense of one's connectedness to tradition(s) being potentially strengthening rather than deadening, and an ability to cater to the musical demands of any given situation without suppressing his own personality or instincts in the process. And Mark Sanders is a man whose résumé speaks for the astonishing scope of his musical conception and ability: from any species of metrical groove, through the multi-directional all-time/no-time of freejazz, to pure textural exploration of the kit's sonic potential, he has not only mastered all the above but made them his own — and also possesses a readiness to engage with notated music unusual in someone with such a breadth of improvisational resource. It has been a joy and an inspiration playing with these musicians and experiencing the ways they have been able to transform the material I brought to the group, and my heartfelt thanks go to all of them.

It is my hope to write many more pieces for this quartet, and to work with it for much time to come. We hope you enjoy this first instalment of our music."-Alex Ward, April 2011.

Other Releases With These Artists:
Moon, The
Good And Evil

N.E.W. (Noble / Edwards / Ward)
Motion [VINYL]
(Dancing Wayang)

Watts / Weston / Sanders / Edwards
Hear Now: A Film by Mark French [DVD]

SFQ (Simon Fell Quartet)
Four Compositions [2 CDs]
(Red Toucan)

Trzaska, Mikolaj / Olie Brice / Mark Sanders
Riverloam Trio [2 LPs]

Dunmall / Wooster / Sanders / Mapp
The Iceberg Quartet

Maroney, Denman / Dominic Lash
All Strung Out

Stabbins / Riley / Wren / Sanders
St. Cyprians 2

Grant, Kay & Alex Ward
Fast Talk

London Improvisers Orchestra
Lio Leo Leon

Dunmall / Gibbs / Rogers / Sanders


SFE - Simon Fell Ensemble
Positions and Descriptions
(Clean Feed)

Coxhill / Ward
Old Sights New Sounds

Convergence Quartet, The
Live In Oxford

Pisaro, Michael: 3 compositions played by Philip Thomas & others
Fields Have Ears
(Another Timbre)

Remote Viewers, The
To The North
(Remote Viewers)

Dunmall / Edwards / Gibbs / Sanders

Various Artists
Freedom of the City Festival 2005 [2 CDs]

Erdmann, Daniel / Samuel Rohrer / Vincent Courtois / Frank Mobus
From The Inside Of A Cloud

Squakk (Griener / Mahall / Roder / Thewes)
Willisau & Berlin

Fume of Sighs

Ensemble SuperMusique
Bruit court-circuit
(Ambiances Magnetiques)

Gustafsson / Russell / Strid
(Den Records)

Ducret, Marc
Tower, Vol. 4

Zabelka Trio, Mia
Weird Tales And Elegant Motion

Grimal, Alexandra

Black Music Disaster

(Thirsty Ear)

Barno, Niklas / Joel Grip / Didier Lasserre
Can't Stop Snusing

Double Tandem (Baars / Vandermark / Nilssen-Love)

Klare's 1000, Jan
(Red Toucan)

Warner, Henry P. / Earl Freeman / Philip Spigner
Freestyle Band

Lamb, Andrew / Tom Abbs / Michael Wimberly / Guillermo E. Brown
Rhapsody in Black

Rutherford, Paul & George Haslam with the Samuli Mikkonen Trio
Raahe '99

Quijano, Antonio Quartet (feat Paul Dunmall)
Songs From Another Blue Planet

Abrahams, Chris / Lucio Capece
None Of Them Would Remember It That Way
(Mikroton Recordings)

Sharp Trio, Elliott
(Clean Feed)

RED Trio + Nate Wooley
(Clean Feed)

Toral, Rafael / Davu Seru
Live in Minneapolis
(Clean Feed)

Kullhammar / Zetterberg / Aalberg
Basement Sessions Vol.1
(Clean Feed)

Ballister (Dave Rempis, Fred Lonberg-Holm and Paal Nilssen-Love)
(Clean Feed)

Lehman, Steve Trio, feat. Matt Brewer and Damion Reid
Dialect Fluorescent
(Pi Recordings)

Lateef, Yusef / Nicolas Humbert / Marc Parisotto
Roots Run Deep

Crothers, Connie / David Arner
Spontaneous Suite For Two Pianos [4 CD Box Set]

Flaten, Ingebrigt Haker

Flaten, Ingebrigt Haker

Realisation Trio: Dunmall / Jurd / Bashford
Salt Dolly

Dunmall / Gibbs / Rogers
Tribute to Tony Levin

Sao Paulo Underground (Featuring Rob Mazurek)
Tres Cabecas Loucuras

Bryan and the Haggards
Still Alive and Kickin' Down the Walls
(Hot Cup Records)

World Heritage, The
Travelling Silk Road

LHZ + H : Thomas Lehn, Carl Ludwig Hubsch, Philip Zoubek, Franz Hautzinger

erikM / Michel Doneda

Nilssen-Love / Hana
Hosanna and Prallel Sevens I [10-inch LP]

Liebman / Eskelin with Tony Marino & Jim Black
Non Sequiturs

Mockuno NuClear
Drop It

Orelli 6, Marco von
Close Ties On Hidden Lanes

Savoldelli, Boris

Gonzalez Yells at Eels, Dennis
Resurrection and Life

Burk Trio, Greg
Path Here
(482 Music)

Irvine Ensemble, Brian With Paul Dunmall / BBC Concert Orchestra
Montana Strange: The Music Of Brian Irvine

Gonzalez, Dennis / Joao Paulo
So Soft Yet
(Clean Feed)

Ehrlich's Rites Quartet, Marty
Frog Leg Logic
(Clean Feed)

Bradford / Dresser / Ferris
Live in LA
(Clean Feed)

(Clean Feed)

Bica, Carlos & Azul
Things About
(Clean Feed)

Hauf Sextet, Boris
Next Delusion
(Clean Feed)

Baloni (Badenhorst / Loriot / Niggenkemper)
(Clean Feed)

Ames Room, The
Bird Dies
(Clean Feed)

Drake, Bob
Bob's Drive-In
(Recommended Records)

Laplante, Travis
Heart Protector: Solo Tenor Saxophone

Chadbourne, Eugene & Warren Smith
Odd TIme

BARREL (Blunt / Kallin / Marshall)
Gratuitous Abuse

Hemphill, Julius and Peter Kowald
Live at Kassiopeia

McPhee, Joe and Michael Zerang
Creole Gardens (A New Orleans Suite)

Clarinets, The [Anthony Burr/Oscar Noriega/Chris Speed]
Keep On Going Like This

Ducret, Marc
Tower, vol. 2

Mezei, Szilard Wind Quartet

Lazro, Daunik
Some Other Zongs

Fields, Scott Multiple Joyce Orchestra
Moersbow Ozzo
(Clean Feed)

Lopes, Luis
Lisbon Berlin Trio
(Clean Feed)

Davis, Kris
Aeriol Piano
(Clean Feed)

Hug, Charlotte
Slipway to Galaxies (Solo Viola & Voice)

Watts, Trevor & Veryan Weston
5 More Dialogues

Blaser, Samuel Quartet with Marc Ducret

Savoldelli, Boris

Eisenstadt, Harris
September Trio
(Clean Feed)

EMJO (European Jazz Movement Orchestra)
EMJO Live in Coimbra
(Clean Feed)

Heberer, Thomas Clarino
(Clean Feed)

Haslam, George
Once Upon A Time In Argentina [2 CDs]

Eskelin, Ellery / Andrea Parkins / Jim Black
One Great Day

Miguel, Sei / Pedro Gomes
Turbina Anthem

Lundbom, Jon & Big Five Chord
Big Five Chord
(Hot Cup Records)

Lundbom, Jon and Big Five Chord
Accomplish Jazz
(Hot Cup Records)

Lundbom, Jon & Big Five Chord With Irabagon / Murray / Elliott / Fischer + Kanelos
Quavers! Quavers! Quavers! Quavers!
(Hot Cup Records)

Ducret, Marc
Tower, vol. 1

Dunmall / Gibbs / Metcalfe / Rogers
Sun Inside

Pedersen / Johannesen / Corsano
Door to Door

Cage, John
(Hat [now] ART)

O'Leary, Mark

Johnston / Shelton / Mezzacappa / Nordeson
(Clean Feed)

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