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Formidable quartet of Phil Minton (vocals), John Butcher (saxophones), Veryan Weston (piano) and Roger Turner (drums) returning to the 'Mouthfull of Ecstasy' work based around texts from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake and premiered in Bratislava in 1994. "What we heard and witnessed were large and small scraps of Joyce's text, sometimes intoned by the whole ensemble, sometimes sung in a gruff, urban patois or garbled like emetic sonic slurry, by Minton, on one occasion sung rather sweetly by Butcher, and more often than not chewed up by the clattering skronk of the ensemble. The musicians were clearly playing from scores of some order or another, where broad emotional/sonic-lexical grids seemed to be the directions on their mysterious notational antigrams, and as such the performance felt dynamically purposeful." - Stephen Graham.
Phil Minton comes from Torquay. He played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Band in the early 60s - Then in dance and rock bands in Europe for the later of part of the decade. He returned to England in 1971, rejoining Westbrook and was involved in many of his projects until the mid 1980′s.
For most of the last forty years, Minton has been working as an improvising singer in lots of groups, orchestras, and situations. Numerous composers have written music especially for his extended vocal techniques. He has a quartet with Veryan Weston, Roger Turner and John Butcher, and ongoing duos, trios and quartets with above and many other musicians.
Since the eighties, His Feral Choir, where he voice-conducts workshops and concerts for anyone who wants to sing, has performed in over twenty countries.
JOHN BUTCHER / saxophones
John Butcher is a saxophonist of rare grace and power, who has expanded the vocabulary of the saxophone far beyond the conventions of jazz and other musics, to encompass a staggering range of harmonics, multiphonics, overtones, percussive sounds, and electronic feedback. But his playing is far more than merely an array of special effects: it's characterised by an intensity that propels it into strange new places that are both incredibly beautiful and deeply exhilarating.
VERYAN WESTON / piano
Born 1950; piano. Veryan Weston moved to London from Cornwall in 1972 and began playing as a freelance jazz pianist as well as developing as an improvisor at the Little Theatre Club. He accepted a fellowship with the Digswell Arts Trust in Hertfordshire in 1975 who commissioned him to revise his book on piano improvisation which he was able to do through a subsidy from the Arts Council of Great Britain. During this time he co-founded and composed for Stinky Winkles. With the group he was voted a 'Young musician of 1979' by the Greater London Arts Association and won three major awards in France, Spain and Poland.
Throughout the 1980s and early 90s he worked primarily with the Eddie Prévost Quartet, Trevor Watts' Moiré Music and duets with Lol Coxhill and Phil Minton. He also worked in other ensemble projects with Minton, including 'riverun' the Phil Minton Quartet with John Butcher and Roger Turner. Major festivals have included Zurich, Berlin, Nicholsdorf, Karlsruhr, Warsaw, Wroklaw, San Sebastian, Bombay, Vancouver, St Etienne, Aukland, Nevers, Washington, Lille, Houston, Le Mans, Straasbourg and Victoriaville.
ROGER TURNER / drums, percussion
Roger Turner is applauded for his precision and speed since he entered the London improvising scene in the 1970s. His restricted drum kit is extended by found objects to create a sound comparable to no other. He’s played with Evan Parker, Cecil Taylor, Otomo Yoshihide, Shelley Hirsch, Joëlle Léandre, Keith Rowe...