The Squid's Ear Magazine

Flame, The (Robert Mitchell / Neil Charles / Mark Sanders): Towards The Flame, Vol. 1 [VINYL CLEAR] (577 Records)

Their first time playing together as a trio despite many permutations in various projects over the years, the trio of Robert Mitchell (F-IRE Collective) on piano & percussion, Neil Charles on double bass and remarkably collaborative drummer Mark Sanders are heard in this 2022 concert at London's Cafe OTO for two extended, free and very informed collective improvisations.

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product information:

UPC: 736952026101

Label: 577 Records
Catalog ID: LP-577R-5920-1
Squidco Product Code: 33187

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Vinyl LP
Recorded at Cafe Oto, in London, UK, on October 2nd, 2022, by Shaun Cook.


Robert Mitchell-piano, percussion

Neil Charles-double bass

Mark Sanders-drums, percussion

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

A heartfelt thank you to the beautiful audience that came out on the 10th Feb 2022 to Cafe Oto (London) to make this such an enjoyable show. We came as a blank page, one that had been scrunched up for the years of this horrific pandemic. Upon it all we had written was 'we must play!'. And so to finally seeing the light of day - as we tentatively unfolded this venture into life - in what we (I hope not prematurely) believe was a slow emergence into a new 'normal' (sadly to soon be overshadowed by warfare in Europe joining too many conflicts all around the world, and containing the same imbalances in society as the old normal).

This was a pure performance circumstance. A debut performing together in this format, we have played in different projects over the years - but this particular trio is literally being born on this recording. Mark and Neil are internationally known as masters in multiple fields involving improvisation. Their creativity and interactivity here is both incendiary and inspirational."-577 Records

Artist Biographies

"Born in Ilford, London, Mitchell has forged a formidable reputation as a gifted pianist and composer. As part of the F-IRE Collective, Robert won the Jazz on 3 Innovation Award at the 2004 BBC Jazz Awards; he has also been nominated twice: for Rising Star in 2002, and Best New Work in 2003. He has worked with Norma Winstone, Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Courtney Pine, Steve Williamson, Iain Ballamy, Mark Wingfield, Jeremy Stacey, David Lyttle, Ty, 2 Banks of 4, and IG Culture, in addition to leading the 4/6-piece Panacea, his trio (with Richard Spaven and Tom Mason), performing in duo with Omar Puente (Bridges), and performing as a solo pianist.

Mitchell studied at City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Early band memberships included Tomorrow's Warriors and Gary Crosby's Nu Troop, plus award-winning bands Quite Sane and J-Life.

Panacea first performed in 2000, and have performed in the London Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival (Pillar Room), and the North Sea Jazz Festival (2006), and Vienne Jazz Festival (2008) and in such venues as the Pizza Express, Jazz Cafe, The Wardrobe, The Spin, The Spitz, Le Tavernier and Cargo. The group released its debut album Voyager on the Dune label in 2001. Its second album, Trust, was released on F-IRE in 2005. In March 2006, the band recorded a session for BBC Radio 1's Gilles Peterson Worldwide show. The band was subsequently nominated for Session Of The Year at the 2006 Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards.

The duo with Cuban violinist Omar Puente began in 2003. The performance of this duo in the Havana International Jazz Festival (2004) resulted in a TV programme being made about the pair for Cuban TV (A TODO JAZZ 2005). The debut album Bridges was released in 2006 on F-IRE. They have also performed to great acclaim in Morocco and Belgium, as well as the UK.

Mitchell's solo album, Equinox, was originally a BBC Radio 3/Jerwood commission, and was released in 2007. It was nominated for Best Work at the BBC Jazz Awards (2003). It was launched at Lifting The Lid, a three-day celebration of modern solo jazz piano instigated, organised and curated by Mitchell. He has performed solo in Sweden, Belgium, Latvia and across the UK. He opened for Wayne Shorter in Brighton in 2003 (at the Dome), and Branford Marsalis in the same year (at the Barbican, London).

Robert Mitchell 3io grew out of the long-running band Panacea. It features Tom Mason (on bass) and Richard Spaven (on drums). After starting in around 2003/04, it released its debut album The Greater Good in late 2008 (33 Jazz Records/Jazz Services). The trio also tour the UK during the same period.

In September 2011 the album Embrace was released. Reviewing the album for the BBC, Kevin Le Gendre wrote: "Mitchell's command of avant-garde and mainstream piano vocabulary is impeccable."

Mitchell is working with singer Jhelisa Anderson (cousin of Carleen Anderson), Dan Stern (saxophonist, clarinettist and composer), and Yolanda Charles (bassist and singer), among others.

Since 2003, Mitchell has been a visiting composer at the Royal Academy of Music Jazz Department. His education work has also included projects at WAC, City University London, Middlesex University, and as solo, ensemble teacher and examiner on the jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music."

-Wikipedia (

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"Neil Charles is a bassist, electronic producer and composer. He regularly performs, records and tours with numerous jazz, classical and contemporary music bands and ensembles like alex Hawkins, mingus big band, has played with Terence Blanchard, black top and is a member of the electro-acoustic jazz trio, Zed-U."

-Cafe Oto (

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"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 (

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Track Listing:

Side A:

1. Ignitions 22:34

Side B:

1. Clouds Ablaze 17:25

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Collective Free Improvsation
Trio Recordings
Piano Trio (Piano Bass Drums)
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
New in Improvised Music
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