The Squid's Ear Magazine

Musson, Rachel / Pat Thomas / Mark Sanders

Shifa: Live at Cafe Oto [VINYL + DOWNLOAD]

Musson, Rachel / Pat Thomas / Mark Sanders: Shifa: Live at Cafe Oto [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577 Records)

"Shifa", or "Healing", is the London-based trio of saxophonist Rachel Musson, pianist Pat Thomas, and drummer Mark Sanders, here in a live concert at Cafe Oto in 2018 of two collective improvisations of arching sax lines, rolling and potent drumming, powerful block chords and intricate lines, from dark to joyful moments, an intoxicating tonic for the ears.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Rachel Musson-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone

Pat Thomas-piano

Mark Sanders-drums


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UPC: 023632674883

Label: 577 Records
Catalog ID: 577R-5823
Squidco Product Code: 27757

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Live at Cafe Oto, in London, UK on June, 3rd 2018, by James Dunn.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.
"Shifa, from the Arabic word for healing, is a new trio born out of old musical partnerships from the ever-shifting sands of the UK improvised music scene. Pat Thomas, pianist extraordinaire whose eclectic motherboard pushes the music in unexpected twists and turns, suggested the name. The healing, in this case, is a raw, unfettered musical space where he, saxophonist Rachel Musson and drummer Mark Sanders meet and make music in the moment, of the moment. Each player values the others' ability to dive in deep, and demands that they each remain fully present to where the music needs to evolve next. The palette includes a mutual history in jazz, elements of classical, folk and pulling notes apart to allow sonic textures to come into focus. The trio has played together in previous collaborations and incarnations: Musson and Sanders have collaborated on various projects, and Thomas and Sanders have played together for decades, but this is the first time they have come together in this particular formation.London venue Cafe Oto hosted this particular performance that was recorded live for New York-based 577 Records."-Shift/577 Records

"Shifa’s Live at Cafe Oto is a recording by Rachel Musson (saxophone), Pat Thomas (piano) and Mark Sanders (drums), due on July 12, 2019 via 577 Records. These three musicians are well-established on the U.K. jazz scene and have played together in various combinations before but never recorded as a trio, so this is a first – and it is glorious. Shifa is an Arabic word that means “healing,” and it’s a good choice of title. The music has an energy which lifts, engages and takes the listener on a series of twists, turns, changes and concepts which evolve as the music is released.

“Improvisation 1 (Part 1)” sees Pat Thomas’ piano introduce just over 20 minutes of improvisation with sax blowing up a storm across delicately placed piano chords initially and heavy percussion which then swaps and changes with the piano across the track. That provides a rhythmic background against which Rachel Musson’s sax swirls, soars, dives and swoops, at times with raw, unfettered power which is refreshing. During the second half of the track, Thomas creates arching, lower note waves of sound across the keyboard, providing a backdrop against which drums and sax take apposite stances. Then, a little later, the piano raises an octave and creates rivulets of tinkling, busy sound lines around which the sax and drums duck and weave.

The piano sets the tone across most of “Improvisation 1 (Part 1),” yet there are sections where the sax in particular introduces off-set rhythms against which the piano recedes and takes a back line, while Mark Sanders’ drums later emerge to change the overall atmosphere with deep, rolling sounds. The art of improvisation here is well honed, as each player adds their own voice, creating a cohesive wholeness. The final minute is completely engaging for the ears, as the piano takes control and the others are happily led along a musical line which is slightly unsettled but also rather beautiful in its essence.

“Improvisation 1 (Part 2)” is again introduced by the piano, this time with a chord and then single notes in lower octaves over which percussion enters, light and off-rhythm, which serves to grab attention. The sax joins, stut-notes and short phrases, and the conversation has begun. The rest of the track is a to-and-fro between the three musicians, largely short, simplistic riffs with developed phrases from the saxophone. In places, the opposition of deep, steady notes from the piano pitched against altissimo wails from the saxophone create a sense of stretching the music out. In the second third, the piano builds a foundation of chords while the sax and percussion create some well-worked lines of their own, with the sax singing out over the top before a quietude which contrasts so beautifully with the busy section preceding. This is a wonderful piece of listening.

“Improvisation 2” is introduced by the piano, at speed, traveling in short three- and four-bar riffs across the length of the keyboard, over which the sax calls and drops into any short gaps, creating a call and response that maybe deliberate, maybe not but it’s a lovely moment redolent of traditional jazz performances – yet improvised and very much of the moment. This track is wonderful partly because of the perfectly placed gaps and spaces, which capture the imagination and create anticipation. Together with the on-point percussion, this makes interesting and attention-grabbing listening.

[...]

There is a sense of collective synergy, the energy contained within Shifa swapped back and forth as the highly imaginative improvisation is worked through and the energy is shared. Each player is listening and respectful of the others, yet chooses at times to assert their own musical message and interpretations of the rhythms and tempos set out before. That echoes the time-honored tradition in jazz music of listen, interpret, play, share.

This is joyful, unfettered, yet there is control and a depth of musical interpretation which does credit to Shifa’s experienced and intuitive free players. Live is definitely best and the recording does justice to the atmosphere and setting. Shifa’s Live at Cafe Oto is stunning and beautiful."-Sammy Stein, Something Else!

Also available on CD.

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

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The Squid's Ear!

Get additional information at Something Else!

Artist Biographies

"Rachel Musson is a saxophonist, improviser and composer living in London, UK. She is involved with a variety of improvisation projects, including a trio with Hannah Marshall and Julie Kjaer, a duo with vibraphonist Corey Mwamba, and a trio with Mark Sanders and John Edwards. She has released two albums under her own name, one featuring Liam Noble and Mark Sanders (Tatterdemalion, Babel Records), and one featuring her ensemble Skein (Flight Line, F-ire Recorded Music). She also plays with the London Improvisers Orchestra and Alex Ward's Quintet and Sextet, and has performed with a diverse range of musicians on the fluid European improvising scene, including Alcyona Mick, Han Bennink, Liam Noble, Gail Brand, Eddie Prevost, Olie Brice, Federico Ughi, Mary Halvorson, John Russell, Adam Linson, Sebastian Rochford, Louis Moholo-Moholo, Pat Thomas, among many others."

-Rachel Musson Website (https://rachelmusson.com/)
2/21/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Born 27 July 1960; Piano, electronics. Pat Thomas started playing at the age of 8 and studied classical music and played reggae. He began playing jazz at sixteen after seeing Oscar Peterson on television then listened to snatches of jazz on the radio before, in 1979, playing his first serious improvised gigs. From 1986 he played with Ghosts which was Pete McPhail and Matt Lewis.

In addition to programming his keyboards, Pat Thomas also utilises prerecorded tapes. He told Chris Blackford (1991), 'As far as the tapes are concerned I'll probably just sit in front of the TV and tape whatever's going on and so some editing afterward to decide what might be useful. ...But I don't actually put a label on each tape saying what's on there, so when I come to use them I don't know what I'm going to be playing. That obviously prevents me from setting things up. I pick them at random and see what happens. So I'm just as surprised as anybody else at what comes out'.

In 1988 he was awarded an Arts Council Jazz Bursary to write three new electroacoustic compositions for his ten-piece ensemble, Monads: Roger Turner and Matt Lewis, percussion; Pete McPhail, WX7 wind synthesizer; Neil Palmer, turntables; Phil Minton, voice; Phil Durrant, violin; Marcio Mattos, bass; Jon Corbett, trumpet; Geoff Searle, drum machines. The intention was to feature different aspects of electronics using improvisation so, for example, one piece - Dialogue - featured Pete McPhail and Neil Palmer, another concentrated on the interaction of percussionists and drum machines, and a third piece had Phil Minton and Jon Corbett improvising with a computer. The pieces were performed at the Crawley Outside-In Festival of new music in 1989.

Pat Thomas was invited by Derek Bailey to play in Company Week in 1990 and 1991 and he also took part in the Ist International Symposium for Free Improvisation in Bremen with the guitarist. He has been a member of the Tony Oxley Quartet (documented on Incus CD 15) and played in Oxley's Angular Apron along with Larry Stabbins, Manfred Schoof and Sirone at the 8th Ruhr Jazz Meeting and in the percussionist's Celebration Orchestra. He plays with Lol Coxhill in a range of combinations from duo to being a member of 'Before my time', is a member of Mike Cooper's Continental Drift, and he has a well established duo with percussionist Mark Sanders and a trio with Steve Beresford and Francine Luce. In 1992 Pat Thomas formed the quartet Scatter with Phil Minton, Roger Turner and Dave Tucker; funded by the Arts Council they toured the UK in 1993 and again at the beginning of 1997.

On the 'Festival circuit', Pat Thomas has appeared at: the Young Improvisors Festival at the Korzo Theatre, Den Haag (with Jim O'Rourke, Mats Gustafsson and Alexander Frangenheim); Angelica 95 in Bologna, Italy; the Stuttgart 5th Festival of Improvised Music 96 (with Fred Frith, Shelly Hirsch, Carlos Zingaro and others); and the 3rd International Festival 96 in Budapest (with Evan Parker, Phil Minton, John Russell and Roger Turner).

-EFI (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/mthomas.html)
2/21/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Mark Sanders has played with many renowned musicians including Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Derek Bailey, Henry Grimes, Roswell Rudd, Peter Brotzmann, Barry Guy, Otomo Yoshihide, Jah Wobble, Sidsel Endresen , Charles Gayle, Peter Evans and William Parker. He works with John Edwards in a duo and with groups including Evan Parker, `Foils` with Frank Paul Schubert and Matthius Muller and groups with Veryan Weston, John Tilbury, Agusti Fernandez and Mathew Shipp. Mark works in a regular improvising duo with John Butcher and also performing John`s composition `Tarab Cuts` which has played festivals in Rio de Janiero, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Glasgow, Bristol and London. In a trio with cellist Okkyung Lee, John and Mark have played in Belgium, France, England and Scotland. He also has a longstanding duo with Sarah Gail Brand which has featured on the BBC`s `The Stuart Lee Show`and in the film `Taking the dog for a Walk`.

He has performed solo for a Christian Marclay exhibition at The White Cube Gallery in London, Evan Parker`s festival`Unwhitstable` in Wroclaw, Poland for `Solos Festival` The 100 Years Gallery London, an improvised music series in Derby and Cafe Oto in London. Working with Christian Marclay in his `Everyday` piece for film and live music, he has performed in Aldeburgh, Ruhr Trienalle, Vienna Bienalle, Holland festival and London`s QEH and has also collaborated with him playing for the film `Screenplay`in London and Lisbon. In situations using composition in one form or another Mark works in various projects including `13 Vices` with Brian Irvine/Jennifer Walshe, Alex Hawkins Ensemble featuring Peter Evans, Simon Fell Ensembe, groups with Hasse Poulsen and Luc Ex , Sarah Sarhandi`s `Both Universe`, Elaine Mitchener`s `Sweet Tooth` and has played in the groups of Shabaka Hutchings including`Sons of Kemet` Conceptual Artist Sam Belinfante collaborated with Mark in his piece `On the One Hand, and the Other` in two exhibitions at Camden Arts Centre, London For Conceptual artist Henrik Hakensen`s film `The End` he has performed as an improvising soloist with orchestras conductedd by Jessica Cottis, playing the music of John Coxon in Glasgow, Sydney and Monte Carlo As a guest with New York`s ICE Ensemble he has performed John Zorn`s `The Tempest` in London and at Huddersfield New Music Festival.

Mark also works in the groups of Paul Dunmall including Deep Whole Trio with Paul Rogers, in duo and `Frisque Concordance` with Georg Graewe , and the ensembles of Mikolaj Trzaska, Uwe Oberg and Peter Jaquemyn. He has performed in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Morrocco, South Africa, Australia, Mozambique and Turkey, playing at many major festivals including Nickelsdorf, Riga, Ulrichsburg, Glastonbury, Womad, Vancouver, Isle of Wight, Roskilde, Berlin Jazz days, FMP, Mulhouse, Luz, Minniapolis, Banlieue Bleues, Son D`hiver and Hurta Cordel."

-Mark Sanders Website (http://www.marksanders.me.uk/biography.html)
2/21/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



SIDE A



1. Improvisation 1 part 1 20:28

SIDE B



1. Improvisation 1 part 2 11:11

2. Improvisation 2 06:59

Related Categories of Interest:


Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Jazz
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Trio Recordings

Search for other titles on the label:
577 Records.


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