Fred Frith


Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Intuition
UPC: 0608917132427
Catnr: INTCHR 71324
Release date: 08 September 2017
1 CD
✓ in stock
€ 19.95
Catalogue number
INTCHR 71324
Release date
08 September 2017

"I think it's a very intriguing album, so it's highly recommended."

Rootstime, 23-9-2017

About the album

Everything you need to know about Fred Frith can be found on this album. It is in the music, every single improvised note of it, played live at the Theater Gütersloh on March 18, 2017, in a trio with the Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker and the percussionist Samuel Dühsler from Switzerland. A tricky concept, improvisation, and one which the 68-year-old guitarist and composer from Yorkshire, who lives and teaches in Oakland and Basel, embodies. „I had a crisis in 1981“, he said in the interview for his „European Jazz Legends“ article in the magazine Jazz thing. „I did a solo tour of Japan (...) and I was fixated on the idea that, if I was really an improviser, I would never repeat myself. How dumb can you be? But anyway. I got so fixated on this that it became a struggle to actually play at all. (...) One night I came off stage with my fingers bleeding. Both hands. And then I understood that something wasn’t right here. I mean, I was pathologically obsessed. And I think it was a good experience to have gone through to understand, that it’s actually totally irrelevant. I have an instrument, I have my resources, all I have to do is be empty. So if I’m empty, I don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s where you should start from.“

Being a man of his word, in more ways than one, Fred Frith ambled through the backstage area that night singing something slightly operatic while joining his musical partners on their way to the stage, and began to play.

Alles was man über Fred Frith wissen muss, kann man auf dieser CD finden. Man hört es in der Musik, in jeder einzelnen improvisierten Note, die live im Theater Gütersloh am 18. März 2018 gespielt wurde, im Trio mit der dänischen Saxophonistin Lotte Anker und dem Schlagzeuger und Percussionisten Samuel Dühsler aus der Schweiz. Improvisation ist ein kompliziertes Unterfangen, das der 68-jährige Gitarrist und Komponist aus Yorkshire, der in Oakland/U.S.A. und in Basel/Schweiz lebt, geradezu verkörpert.
„1981 hatte ich eine schwere Krise“, sagte er in dem Interview für den Artikel der Reihe „European Jazz Legends“, das im Magazin „Jazz thing“ erschien, „als ich auf Solo-Tour in Japan war. Ich war von der Idee besessen, dass ich mich als wahrer improvisierender Künstler niemals wiederholen dürfe. Wie dumm von mir! Ich war derart fixiert auf diese Idee, dass tatsächlich jede musikalische Betätigung zu einem Kampf wurde. (…) Eines Nachts kam ich mit blutenden Fingern von der Bühne. An beiden Händen! Da dachte ich: irgendwas läuft hier komplett falsch. Ich hatte mich offensichtlich fürchterlich verrannt. Aber ich glaube, es war eine gute Erfahrung, und es hat geholfen zu verstehen, dass das alles in Wirklichkeit völlig irrelevant ist. Ich habe ein Instrument, ich habe meine Fähigkeiten, alles was ich tun muss: ‚leer‘ sein. Wenn ich leer bin, habe ich keine Ahnung was passieren wird. Und genau da sollte man anfangen.“

Da Fred Frith – in vielen Beziehungen – ein Mann der Tat ist, schlenderte er in dieser Nacht mit seinen musikalischen Partnern Richtung Bühne, sang dabei etwas fast opernhaftes vor sich hin, und fing dann an zu spielen.


Though the point of reference for many remains the iconic band Henry Cow, which he co-founded in 1968 and which broke up more than 30 years ago, Fred Frith has never really stood still for an instant. In bands such as Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Tense Serenity, the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Eye to Ear, and most recently Cosa Brava, he has always held true to his roots in rock and folk music, while exploring influences that range from the literary works of Eduardo Galeano to the art installations of Cornelia Parker.

The release of the seminal Guitar Solos in 1974 enabled him to simultaneously carve out a place for himself in the international improvised music scene, not only as an acclaimed solo performer but in the company of artists as diverse as Han Bennink, Chris Cutler, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Evelyn Glennie, Ikue Mori, Louis Sclavis, Stevie Wishart, Wu Fei, Camel Zekri, John Zorn, and scores of others.

He has also developed a personal compositional language in works written for Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble Modern, Concerto Köln, and ROVA Sax Quartet, for example. Fred has been active as a composer for dance since the early 1980s, working with choreographers Bebe Miller, François Verret, and especially long-time collaborator and friend Amanda Miller, with whom he has created a compelling body of work over the last twenty years.

His film soundtracks (for award-winning films like Thomas Riedelsheimer’s Rivers and Tides and Touch the Sound, Peter Mettler’s Gambling, Gods, and LSD, and Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow’s Thirst, to name a few) won him a lifetime achievement award from Prague’s “Music on Film, Film on Music” Festival (MOFFOM) in 2007. The following year he received Italy’s Demetrio Stratos Prize (previously given to Diamanda Galas and Meredith Monk) for his life’s work in experimental music, and in 2010 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in his home county of Yorkshire.

Fred currently teaches in the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California (renowned for over fifty years as the epicenter of the American experimental tradition), and in the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland.



I think it's a very intriguing album, so it's highly recommended.
Rootstime, 23-9-2017

Beautiful CD
Jazzenzo, 10-9-2017

Play album

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