The Squid's Ear Magazine


Caines, Ron / Martin Archer Axis: Blutopia (Discus)

The fourth collaboration between composer & saxophonist Ron Caines and arranger & saxophonist Martin Archer, recorded in Brighton between 2022 & 2023 with a cast of UK luminary improvisers--Charlotte Keefe, Chris Sharkey, Graham Clark, Gus Garside and Johnny Hunter--chosen for their applicability to each piece, in configurations from solo to full octet ensemble.
 

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Personnel:



Ron Caines-soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone

Martin Archer-sopranino saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet, flute

Graham Clark-violin

Laura Cole-piano

Charlotte Keeffe-trumpet

Chris Sharkey-electric guitar

Gus Garside-double bass

Johnny Hunter-drums


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UPC: 5051078003825

Label: Discus
Catalog ID: DISCUS152CD
Squidco Product Code: 33491

Format: CD
Condition: Sale (New)
Released: 2023
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Church Road Studio, in Brighton, UK, in 2022 and 2023, by Martin Archer.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"For this fourth collaboration between Caines and Archer, we've concentrated on the pure, raw jazz feel of Ron's playing - a rawness which reflects Charles Parker filtered through the prism of British jazz from the 70s or thru AACM music, rather than then more polished sound of many of today's players. A sequence of short tracks mixes every possible combination of the players from solo through to full ensemble, with instrumental colours scattered around the canvas of what is effectively a concerto with Ron's highly individual sound at its centre.

Ron's work with East Of Eden was a massive influence on the teenage me, and it is a massive pleasure and privilege for me to be able to present Ron's late work across these Discus Music releases."-Martin Archer


Artist Biographies

"Ron Caines began playing saxophone while at Bristol Art School, and during this time became enthralled by the music of Charlie Parker. He worked in commercial rock and roll bands which led to sessions at the Star Club in Hamburg. Returning to Bristol he formed the Contemporary Jazz Quintet with David Arbus on trumpet, and this led to a BBC 2 recording.

He founded East of Eden with Geoff Nicholson on guitar and Dave initially on trumpet. They played the 1969 Actuel Festival in Amougies where Zappa, Beefheart , AACM and Soft Machine were also performing. Caines contributed original music and lyrics, and introduced ska material by Don Drummond and eclectic material including Mingus, Coltrane and the folk heart of Bartok (uniquely so for a pop band on a pop label in that pre-niche music era). In the climate of post-1968 Paris, where the band frequently played, their combination of theatre and live improvisation struck a chord with audiences and critics. The band's single Jig-a-Jig, subsequently re-released by Decca and promoted as a novelty instrumental, anticipated the genre of Celtic Rock, but its success effectively overshadowed the true direction of the group, and this confirmed Caines' disaffection with commercial music.

In 1977 he joined Bristol Co-operative, the first improvisors' co-operative in the UK. He co-ordinated the Festival of Improvised Music, Arnolfini Bristol 1979 featuring Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and Leo Smith. He played in Keith Tippett's Ark, and various collaborations at venues including Glastonbury, Bracknell, and ICA. He worked with Larry Stabbins, Paul Dunmell, Julie Tippetts and others, and played with Steve Lacy.

Caines summed up his musical aims at this time:

"I am interested in improvised playing as a means of working directly with ideas, a process which the audience and musician can share at the moment of creation. To me it is not unlike drawing, and it is this evidence which is the work - unlike a 'finished painting', where the process which has taken it to that point, of being 'finished' has been brushed out."

Around 1989 he formed Parkers Mood, with Nigel Jefferies on piano, playing an Arts Council tour, including Brecon Jazz Festival. He also performed original compositions for film, television and radio.

He moved to Brighton in 1995, concentrating on painting, and gave up musical performance due to the long term effects of a tendon injury. However in 2008 he began performing again, initially with Brighton's Safehouse Collective and other local musicians.

Caines is essentially interested in the idea of 'presence' and 'expressiveness' and the concept of the artist or musician as 'author'."

-Ron Caines Website (http://www.roncaines.co.uk/musicalcareer.html)
6/7/2024

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

"Martin Archer was born in Sheffield, England, in 1957. He started playing saxophone at age 15 and first got active on the Sheffield improvisational scene in 1973. In the early '80s, he recorded an LP with Bass Tone Trap, his first group. In 1983 he formed the saxophone quartet Hornweb, which, in ten years of existence, released three albums. It is during that time that Archer released his first solo album, Wild Pathway Favourites (1988) and founded the Discus label on which he since releases all his music.

In 1993, he disbanded Hornweb and turned to synthesizers and sequencers while shifting his activities from stage to studio. He developed a compositional approach in which he records improvisers soloing, then manipulates this raw material, combining it with electronics and structuring it into a whole new piece. This technique is illustrated on Wild Pathway Favourites, Ghost Lily Cascade (1996), and Pure Water Construction (with bassist Simon H. Fell, released in 1999). Later works such as Winter Pilgrim Arriving (2000) moved toward more constructed and less abstract pieces, even making room for melodies and rhythm tracks at times.

Apart from his solo work, Archer is also involved in Ask, a duo with guitarist John Jasnoch, and Transient v Resident, an ambient electronics project with Chris Bywater."-All Music, François Couture



"Martin Archer is a composer / improviser who is equally at home on stage or in the studio. His own distinctive saxophone playing is rooted in AACM jazz. Through his use of keyboards and electronics, and as a studio producer, he extends this interest into extended song form and leftfield rock music. He is also co-director of the uncategorisably avant choir Juxtavoices.

His principle music work is the Discus Music label, the imprint for his various releases, notably by the groups described below.

His current jazz based projects include Engine Room Favourites (current a 4 drummer, 14 piece big band), Story Tellers (6 piece group including shaman instruments alongside the conventional instruments), plus various ad hoc smaller groups. All of these are strongly aligned with AACM tradition and teaching.

Archer has a long running duo with veteran vocalist Julie Tippetts. Each of their highly acclaimed CD releases deliberately explores song from a different perspective - the duo aims to be truly progressive, and takes in elements from jazz, rock, soul and pure abstraction.

Archer's main live performance vehicle is the trio Inclusion Principle with Herve Perez and Peter Fairclough. The group operates in a space between electronics, nu-jazz, contemporary electroacoustic music and free improvisation. In performance you will hear pure jazz skill, electronic beats and areas of texture and abstraction all seamlessly woven into a fascinating and constantly shifting tapestry of sound.

The sprawling Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere was formed by Archer as an improvising rock group with shades of Terry Riley, Magma, Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra, very much in the progressive / krautrock tradition, and noted for its large scale string, horn and vocal arrangements.

Also in rock music, Archer is a member of the USA based heavier than plutonium prog / sludge / zeuhl group Combat Astronomy under the direction of Jamie Huggett.

Surprising, delighting and occasionally alarming audiences for a number of years now, Juxtavoices is a 30 piece choir for mainly untrained voices co directed by Archer with Alan Halsey which has racked up dozens of performances and issued three CDs.

This eclectic combination of sources and highly individual applications makes Archer a unique inhabitant of the school of English maverick composer / improvisers. "-Discus

-All Music, Discus Records (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/martin-archer-mn0000146946)
6/7/2024

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

"Graham Leslie Lionel Clark (born 16 December 1959) is an English jazz violinist based in Buxton, Derbyshire.

He also plays electric guitar. A freelance violinist in most styles of jazz, rock, blues and pop, he specialises in improvisation.

He worked with Daevid Allen from 1988 to 2014:[1][2]

August 1988-October 1989: with the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet
October 1989-December 1991: with Gongmaison
February 1992-December 1992: with Magick Brothers / Gong
December 1996 - 2014: with Magick Brothers

He has also worked with Andy Sheppard, Keith Tippett, Tim Richards, Phil Lee, Paz, Brian Godding, Elbow, Lamb, Bryan Glancy, Little Sparrow, Jah Wobble, Graham Massey, Louis Gordon and Liz Fletcher."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Clark_(violinist))
6/7/2024

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

"Laura Cole is a jazz composer/pianist who lives in Leeds but whose band (Metamorphic) is based in London. Metamorphic features, Kerry Andrew (vocals), Chris Williams (alto),John Martin (tenor/soprano), Paul Sandy (bass), Tom Greenhalgh (drums).

Metamorphic will play in Jazz in the Round at the Cockpit Theatre on Monday January 28th. They also have a gig at the Vortex on the 24th February with Frank Byng's (Slowfoot Records) quintet, Snorkel.

The group have one album out (The Rock Between, 2011, F-IRECD43 - reviewed by Chris Parker), and release their follow up (Coalescence, also on F-IRE) later this year (2013).

Laura also has a blog which discusses the issues that women face in music and holds a First Class Honours Degree in Jazz from Middlesex University."

-London Jazz News (http://www.londonjazznews.com/2013/01/artist-profile-laura-cole.html)
6/7/2024

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

"Trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe's unique approach and passion for improvised, experimental and jazz music has seen her performing regularly across the UK and internationally as a soloist and as part of several ensembles, duos and trios. Her music has been featured on BBC Radio 3, Resonance FM and Jazz FM and recent appearances with her quartet include Jazz In The Round and a sell-out performance at Lancaster Jazz Festival. Other recent highlights include being featured as a performer and composer/arranger on Sheffield-based Martin Archer's latest project, Anthropology Band, performances with Alex Ward's Item 4 and regular appearances and conductions with the London Improvisers Orchestra.

Inspired by the likes of Miles Davis and Polish artist Tomasz Stańko, Charlotte studied Jazz Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama before going on to become a scholarship recipient at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and a Help Musicians UK Award Winner. With her Quartet, Charlotte explores the relationship between her compositions and experimental improvisation, producing a unique musical experience inspiring creative freedom of expression. Bassist Ashley John Long, drummer Ben Handysides and guitarist Moss Freed join Charlotte in this latest collaboration.

Charlotte is also a performer with The Brass Monkeys, Moss Freed's Union Division and Calum Gourlay's Big Band. She took part in the Summer Studios Artist Residency 2019 with drummer Andrew Lisle and bassist Otto Willberg in Andrew's trio project at The Sage, Gateshead. Charlotte played in Marin Alsop's Taki Concordia Orchestra at the World Economic Forum 2019 playing to world leaders and celebrities including Sir David Attenborough. She's performed at several music festivals including Brecon Jazz as part of Steve Waterman's Big Band, Glastonbury and Wilderness alongside Liane Carroll, Charlotte Church, Laura Mvula, Kate Nash, Camille O'Sullivan and Will Young."

-Charlotte Keeffe Website (https://www.charlottekeeffe.com/biography)
6/7/2024

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

"Chris Sharkey is a musician from the north-east of England.

Based in leeds since 1999, chris has dedicated the last 20 years to making forward-thinking new music that blurs boundaries between improvisation, production, composition and the associated genres of these often separated fields.

He is an active national and international performer as a member of Acoustic Ladyland, Triovd, Shiver, The Geordie Approach, Roller Trio and as a solo artist.

Chris is a also a producer and has recorded, mixed and remixed music for for ACV, Mole, Taupe, Seb Rochford, Oliver Coates, Troyka, World Service Project, Triovd, Shiver, Beyond Albedo, Session Fries, The Geordie Approach, Roller Trio, The Orchid And The Wasp and more."

-Chris Sharkey Website (https://www.chrissharkeymusic.com/media)
6/7/2024

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

"Gus Garside, double bass: I have worked in a variety of musical settings - jazz, contemporary music, rock, cabaret, dance, theatre and, most importantly, improvised music.

I perform in a number of regular groups and one off projects as well as occasionally performing solo (see WHO I PLAY WITH). I often use electronics and occasionally voice. I have enjoyed working with dancers, visual artists and films.

I also create structured improvisational compositions including The Star Field, The Sleepwalkers (featuring 10 of the leading improvising string players in the UK) and Collective Stories (a commission in Quebec with Grand Groupe Régional d'Improvisation Libérée).

I am part of the Brighton Safehouse collective, a collective of local improvising performers which is now in its 13th year.

I'm also the national coordinator for Creative Minds, a project led by learning disabled artists and performers who wish to take their rightful place in the wider arts world."

-Gus Garside Website (https://gusgarside.wordpress.com/)
6/7/2024

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

"Johnny Hunter is a northern UK-based drummer who comes from a background of both the Avant-Garde and the more mainstream Jazz. He has performed or recorded with such esteemed musicians as Benn Clatworthy, Mick Beck, Nat Birchall, Jamil Sheriff, Jamie Taylor, Pete Fairclough, Walt Shaw, Corey Mwamba, Steve Beresford, Graham Clark, Adam Fairhall and Steve Berry to name a few. He is also heavily involved in the Reggae and Dub scene.

He is currently playing with Misha Gray's Prehistoric Jazz Quintet, Liverpool-based group playing heavy modal Jazz inspired by John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and the like; Nat Birchall; Engine Room Favourites, AACM inspired Free Jazz; the Blind Monk Trio, sax/bass/drums trio playing heavy rootjazz; the Dub Jazz Soundsystem, a mash-up of heavy Dub and psychedelic modal Jazz; Skamel, a Ska/Jazz/Dub ensemble inspired by the French Reggae group Raspigaous; his own "chordless" quartet set up to explore the freedom and limitations of having no chordal instrument; among several other projects. He also runs the Jazz jam night at Matt & Phred's Jazz Club."

-Johnny Hunter Website (http://www.johnnyhuntermusic.com/bio/)
6/7/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. Street Drums 2:52

2. Glyphx 4:01

3. Bell 2:53

4. Hunting Horns 4:30

5. Acrylic 2:12

6. Ornette's Leap 5:05

7. Reverie 4:09

8. Ancient and Modern 13:31

9. Pale Alto 1:23

10. Parole 5:26

11. Random 2:03

12. Portland 3:28

13. Morocco Rose 2:39

14. Blutopia 4:01

15. Marcel 3:22

16. Spike Island 6:10

17. Pepper Spray 4:13

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Large Ensembles
New in Improvised Music
Friends of Squid

Search for other titles on the label:
Discus.


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