During her stay in London from 2004-2008, saxophonist Chefa Alonso developed a rewarding duo with percussionist Tony Marsh of great technical and musical value, as heard on these excellent recordings from Red Rose and Ryan's Bar in London, and Matadero in Huesca, Spain.
Marsh, Tony / Chefa Alonso
Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)
Released in: Great Britain
"Chefa Alonso performed with numerous musicians during her 2004-8 stay in London. Perhaps the most profound and rewarding musical relationship was the duo with Tony Marsh. This is at least the fifth soprano saxophone and percussion duo on Emanem. While perhaps influenced by the other duos, the strengths of the two participants mean that it is a unique addition to the instrumentation. Besides their contribution to the last night at the Red Rose, there are also appearances at another London venue, FlimFlam, and a concert in Huesca from their Spanish tour."-Emanem
Chefa Alonso studied both medicine and music in Brunel University, earning a doctorate in free improvisation and composition at Brunel University. She has participated in free jazz festivals in Germany, Austria, Brazil, France, Spain, England, Mexico, and Switzerland. She is part of the groups Sin Red, Cuarteto de Improvisacion Libre, Uz, Trio of Winds, Akafree, and performs in a duo with pianist Alberto Kaul. She is a part of the London Improvisers Orchestra, Orquesta FOCO, and OMEGA.
"The percussionist Tony Marsh, who has died of cancer aged 72, was an inspired
collaborator, combining intensity with restraint and stroking the drums more than he struck them. He worked with some of the most creative artists in European jazz of the past four decades, from the composer Mike Westbrook to the saxophonists John Tchicai and Evan Parker.
Marsh devoted his life to an art form short on cash and kudos, but long on creative satisfaction. In his last months he sought inspiration in the complex scores of the composer Iannis Xenakis; formed a new trio with two of London's most creative jazz 20-somethings; and, in March, played an impromptu London performance with the Chicago saxophone master Roscoe Mitchell that astonished those who witnessed it.
Marsh was born in Lancaster, the eldest of three brothers. The family moved to London after the second world war in search of better medical care for his tuberculosis, and he spent a long period of recuperation in St Thomas' hospital. That period of illness seriously hampered his formal education, but he became a good enough teenage footballer to enter trials for professional clubs.
He took up the drums as a military bandsman during national service in the 50s and would play them at Butlins' holiday camps and on cruise ships. In the 60s, he made a living in the West End of London as a jobbing drummer - also learning from records by the great American jazz bands of Clifford Brown (with the bebop drums pioneer Max Roach), Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
In the early 70s, Marsh joined the saxophonist Don Weller, the bass guitarist Bruce Colcutt and the guitarist Jimmy Roche in Major Surgery. The band only released one album, First Cut (1977), but it acquired lasting cult status. He also began productive relationships with the saxophonist Chris Biscoe, the Barbadian trumpeter Harry Beckett and the saxophonist Mike Osborne (in the last period of that cutting-edge artist's playing life, before mental illness incapacitated him in 1982).Advertisement
Marsh then discovered Westbrook's brass band and big-band music, improv, cabaret and more. Marsh's relaxed dynamism powered an unusual Westbrook big band on an Ellington tribute at Amiens, France, in 1984. It became the landmark album On Duke's Birthday. Four years later, Marsh joined Biscoe's quartet, Full Monte.
Through his European tours with Westbrook, Marsh forged a link with the French jazz scene, regularly commuting between Paris and London until the early 2000s. In 1985, he joined Biscoe and a French brass section to record the bassist Didier Levallet's album Quiet Days, followed by a series of sessions led by Beckett - including one that Levallet considered among his best recordings, Images of Clarity (1992). He also played with the adventurous UK pianist Howard Riley, reeds player Paul Dunmall, and with the saxophonist Simon Picard and the bass virtuoso Paul Rogers on their recording News from the North (1991) for the Swiss experimental label Intakt.
Marsh then committed himself increasingly to life in London. He hugely enjoyed his monthly involvement in the experimental London Improvisers Orchestra (involving the composer/pianist Steve Beresford, Parker and a loose repertory company of others). He was also a permanent member of one of the most thrilling European free-improv trios of recent times, with Parker and the double bassist John Edwards. Marsh was also the driving force behind a genre-crossing quartet with the flautist Neil Metcalfe, the violinist Alison Blunt and the cellist Hannah Marshall.Advertisement
Since 2011, he had begun a productive relationship with two hotly tipped newcomers, the reeds player Shabaka Hutchings and the bassist Guillaume Viltard. They played freely without prolixity, combined fine detail with spontaneity, and eschewed amplification.
"Listen closely, take a chance, keep going even if money's tight, and you'll find the real reward - that's why Tony was hip in the most meaningful sense," Parker says. "And he didn't need to play loud, or be loud, to get that intensity. It's like splitting diamonds or something. If you know exactly the right place to make the impact, you don't need to hit anything hard." "-The Guardian UK
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Shipping Weight: 2.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Catalog ID: 5043
Squidco Product Code: 22217
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Tracks 1-2 recorded at The Red Rose in London on January 20th, 2008.
Tracks 3-5 recorded at RyanŐs bar in London on July 30th, 2008.
Track 6 recorded at Matadero in Huesca, Spain on January 29th, 2009.
Chefa Alonso-soprano saxophone
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1. Goodbye Red Rose (Adios Red Rose) 12:14
2. By The Hand (de la mano) 5:44
3. FlimFlam one (FlimFlam uno) 9:51
4. No Es Un Truco (it is not a trick) 9:03
5. Frusleria Tres (FlimFlam three) 15:57
6. Huesca (not Wesker) 15:26