Sunday, January 18, 2015

John Russell's 60th birthday party


John Russell's 60th birthday party

with Henry Lowther and Satoko Fukuda, Phil Minton, Evan Parker, John Edwards, Thurston Moore at Cafe Oto London on the 19 December 2014. Filmed by Helen Petts

A special 60th birthday concert for the great improvising guitarist John Russell, revisiting some of the key musical partnerships that he's fostered over the years. Russell has played with a huge range of musicians - from Derek Bailey to John Butcher, Akio Suzuki to Mats Gustafsson - and has been an integral part of London's new music community for the past 4 decades. His Mopomoso club - founded in 1991 - is the UK’s longest running concert series featuring mainly improvised music. Tonight he performs in four sets, running the full gamut of his formidable musical versatility. 

- Set 1. Trio with Satoko Fukuda (violin) and Henry Lowther (trumpet)

- Set 2. Duo with Phil Minton (voice)

- Set 3. Trio with Evan Parker (saxophones) and John Edwards (bass)

- Set 4. Electric guitar duo with Thurston Moore

John Russell

“for Russell the fingerboard is apparently multiple. He finds new tones in the same place, new relationships in the same gesture. A second trip across the fingerboard is always a different excursion. The harmonic is a transparent sound: silence and ambient sound pass through it. It accounts for Russell’s unhurried pace and his sense of order, even when he’s playing fast: there’s simply so much going on.” - Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure 

John Russell got his first guitar in 1965 while living in Kent and began to play in and around London from 1971 onwards. An early involvement with the emerging free improvisation scene (from 1972) followed, seeing him play in such places as The Little Theatre Club, Ronnie Scott’s, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Musicians’ Co-Op and the London Musicians’ Collective.

From 1974 his work extended into teaching, broadcasts (radio and television) and touring in the United Kingdom and, ever extensively, in other countries around the world . He has played with many of the world’s leading improvisers and his work can be heard on over 50 CDs. In 1981, he founded QUAQUA, a large bank of improvisers put together in different combinations for specific projects and, in 1991, he started MOPOMOSO which has become the UK’s longest running concert series featuring mainly improvised music.