107CD - Charlotte Keeffe - Right Here, Right Now - CD plus download

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Solo, Duo, Quartet and Ensemble Music from Charlotte Keeffe


This first release from the dynamic trumpet player features Charlotte Keeffe in a number of configurations recorded mainly live over the last three years. The four Quartet recordings on the disk find Charlotte in her group with guitar, bass and drums – the music is melodic, soaring, incisive jazz. By contrast, the tracks with the venerable London Improvisers Orchestra find Charlotte in a conduction mode, spontaneously creating structures and textures from this very large group of players. The solo and duo tracks on the record highlight Charlotte’s love of live electronic transformation of her sound. Taken as a whole this collection sets out a varied musical stall for this exciting young player / composer.

In Charlotte's words: Right Here, Right Now is an exciting collaboration of over 60 improvising musicians and artists from all over the world! Including British stalwart improvising musicians Steve Beresford, Caroline Kraabel, John Edwards and vocalists Maggie Nicols and Phil Minton amongst the improvised textures of the large ensemble pieces (London Improvisers Orchestra).

It’s been captured visually by sensational artist Gina Southgate, who created the artwork on the front and disc covers especially for this Discus Music release.

It’s always been a necessity for me to make music, but it feels like only recently that I’m truly allowing myself to just play, just be, in the right here, right now…

When I’m improvising freely I feel the most connected to everything, the most creative, the most musical. I feel the most freedom.

Right Here, Right Now is also the title of my first conduction with the London Improvisers Orchestra in 2019. Noizemaschin!! is an excerpt from my first freely improvised solo performance in 2017 at a concert series also called Noizemaschin!!

I’d love people to be inspired by the rawness of this music/album, its moments, its liveness…

Right Here, Right Now is an invitation for people to explore a creative freedom of their own.

Right Here, Right Now is for all.  



Charlotte Keeffe Quartet

Charlotte Keeffe - trumpet and flugelhorn

Moss Freed - guitar

Ben Handysides - drums,

Ashley John Long - double bass


Duo with

Diego Sampieri – guitar


The London Improvisers Orchestra 

Knut Aufermann - electronics, Stephan Barrett - bells, Douglas Benford - melodica, harmonium, Steve Beresford - piano, electronics, John Bisset - guitar, Phoebe Bognár - flute, Adam Bohman - objects/voice, Dee Byrne - alto saxophone, Daniel Cano-Amaro - trumpet, Andrew Ciccone - electronics, Martin Clarke - alto saxophone, Phil Durrant - e-bowed dulcimer, mandola, John Edwards - double bass, Susanna Ferrar - violin, Jacques Foschia - clarinet, Dave Fowler - percussion, Dawid Frydryk - trumpet, Ng Chor Guan - theremin, Martin Hackett - electronics, Mark Hilton - double bass, Charlotte Hug - viola/voice, Linda Jankowska - violin, Robert Jarvis - trombone, Ivor Kallin - viola/voice, Emil Karlsen - percussion, Charlotte Keeffe - trumpet and trumpet mouthpiece, Gero Kempf - double bass, Caroline Kraabel - alto saxophone, David Leahy - double bass,  Edward Lucas - trombone, Sue Lynch - tenor saxophone, clarinet, Marcello Magliocchi - drums, Jonny Martin - trumpet and flugelhorn, Pascal Marzan - microtonal 10-string guitar, Neil Metcalfe - flute, Phil Minton - voice, trumpet,  Olivia Moore - violin, Maggie Nicols - voice, Adrian Northover - alto and soprano saxophone, Simon Petermann - trombone, Dave Powell - tuba, Cath Roberts - baritone saxophone, Lukax Santana - percussion, Emily Suzanne Shapiro - clarinet, bass clarinet, Sebastian Sterkowicz - bass clarinet, Bryan Styles - percussion, Trevor Taylor - gong/vibraphone, João Pedro Viegas - bass clarinet, Martin Vishnick - guitar,  Philip Wachsmann - violin, Jackie Walduck - vibraphone, Sarah Washington - electronics, Jerry Wigens - mandolin, Pei Ann Yeoh - violin, Thodoris Ziarkas - lyra 


British trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe expands her work in more ways than one. Moving from solo to duo to quartets to large ensemble she retains a strong identity. Her full-bodied broad tone and stealthy phrasing are effective regardless of the changes in instrumentation and stimulus provided by her wide range of accompanists, and first and foremost Keeffe shows notable strength of character as she runs the sonic and emotional gamut. Her harmonising with the steely vibrations of guitar and discreet yet penetrating drums and bass on "1200 Photographs" makes for a very impressive overture from which Keeffe builds steadily, becoming intensely lyrical on several intimate laments, and uncompromisingly adventurous on "NoizeMaschin!" where her amalgamations of agitated breath and scrambling tone make for an enticing timbral landscape. Yet as much as Keeffe and all her accompanists thrive on compositions in which the onus is on a kind of detailed finger-painting-voice-printing of sounds, they also handle well situations which call for fewer notes are more largo lines, as is the case on the mysterioso atmosphere of the title track which sees the distinctively ashen and atomising vocals of Phil Minton and Maggie Nicols come forcefully into play. - Kevin Le Gendre, JAZZWISE



Improvising trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe is an extremely versatile and active player; she leads her own quartet, is one of the main organisers of the Mopomoso sessions of improvised music that take place at The Vortex and more recently online. A key figure in the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO), she is much in demand a soloist with various improvising groups, for example Andrew Woodhead’s group of improvisers and bellringers that has recently recorded the Pendulums album. This album is in essence a showcase for her various projects; we have three tracks with her quartet recorded live at a Jazz at The Cockpit session, three tracks with the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO) and three smaller scale tracks that feature Charlotte solo or in a duo setting with guitarist Diego Sampieri.  The quartet sessions are particularly impressive with their movement between composed sections and freely improvised passages.  Each member of the quartet, Moss Freed on guitar, Ashley John Long on double bass, and Ben Handysides on drums has the ability to move between structure and freedom thereby creating constantly evolving pieces.  This is definitely one of the ways forward for jazz and improvised music.  Charlotte Keeffe is a player of great imagination and sensitivity.  The solo and duo pieces show both these aspects of her playing.  OM, the duo with Diego Sampieri, is particularly poignant, and The Melody’s In The Post, a solo trumpet and flugelhorn piece inspired by a melody of Alicia Gardener-Trejo’s, makes effective use of electronics. Charlotte’s imagination is also to the fore in the three improvisations with the LIO.  These tracks are built around the unique and wonderful textures that a large group of improvisers create when improvising together.  Mysterious Breath is a track for 36 improvisers which features her improvising, largely with her trumpet mouthpiece, To Steve Beresford for a smaller group of 18 improvisers is a conduction led by Charlotte as is Right Here, Right Now, for 29 improvisers,  This album with its huge variety has captured very effectively the impressive range of Charlotte Keeffe’s activities. – Tony Dudley-Evans, LONDON JAZZ NEWS.



Wandering trumpeter and member of the extended London Improvisers Orchestra, Charlotte Keeffe‘s first solo album finds here drawing together various facets of her abilities, ranging from her solo trumpet improvisation via her jazz quartet recordings through to the sprawling conduction of the pieces she has arranged for the LIO. What holds all these disparate pieces together is Charlotte’s shining love of the trumpet and the mysterious roads down which she finds herself winding.  The album opens with the quartet: Moss Freed on guitar, Ben Handysides on drums and Ashley John Long on double bass. Their fizzing blend of melancholy with sharp stabs of staccato guitar finds the trumpet looking back at old memories. The pieces sound live, with scraps of percussion and bass sketching in the corners, filling in the blanks. They are as much about thought as sound and you can feel the projection between them as the rimshots scatter.  It is subtle in places, nuanced; but when the circular rhythm of “Sweet Corn” hits, it just carries you away, with the trumpet second guessing where next to go. At times, the guitar reflects Django Reinhardt back on a bed of hurried rhythm and smooth supple trumpet, the sweet and sunny disposition warmed by the burr of bass. The pieces with the LIO are far more random. “Mysterious Breath / This One’s For The Bees” is like a storm in a forest, all those little sounds unseen and hidden away. There are the best part of forty players beavering away here, but the overall sensation is that of generous space and patience. Moonlight hovers above with electronics a distant drone, groups of birds cackle in branches as the players take it in turns to colour in the monochrome surroundings. A tuba plums the depths on “To Steve Beresford” as a gang of miscreants make their laughing way home, uproar in the streets, hiding behind dustbins and hedges.  Elsewhere, Charlotte goes it alone on the brief improv “The Melody’s In The Post”, which sounds as though it were recorded in a lead-lined bunker, the trumpet dripping with perspiration, while “Noizemaschin” has many languid voices, a low rasp or a distant groan rising to the sound of Miles Davis suffocating Herb Alpert. You feel she is reminding herself of things in the past but dragging them barrelling into the future.  Her capabilities with trumpet and flugelhorn are widespread and evoke all sorts of jazzy odysseys, but with the assistance of guitarist Diego Sampieri, we find ourselves lying back against sand dunes, wind just stirring the long grass with the last rays of evening sun casting a golden glow. It is that warm fuzzy feeling that only a trumpet can conjure; part heartache, part joy. This album has it all and leaves no doubts at all. - Mr Olivetti, FREQ



Trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe is a passionate musician operating in the contexts of improvisation, experimental music and jazz in the UK. So far you can know her from her collaboration with the Mopomoso Workshop Group, the London Improvisers Orchestra and Martin Archer’s  Anthropology Ensemble.    Recently she made noteworthy contributions to another project of Martin Archer, the ‘Hi-Res Heart’ album. This performance makes her debut album a logical and hoped-for next step. The nine works on ‘Right here, right now’ give a nice overview of her activity. The CD counts two solo improvisations and one duo improvisation with Diego Sampieri on guitar. Three live recordings of her quartet with Moss Freed (guitar), Ben Handysides (drums) and Ashley John Long (double bass) is presented. Also, the CD offers two improvisations with the London Improvisers Orchestra. In both solo improvisations ‘The Melody’s In The Post’, ‘Noizemaschin!!’ practises live electronic treatment. In
‘Noizemaschin’ she plays with reverb, and ‘The Melody’s In The Post’ embed her playing in a surreal environment. The duo improvisation ‘Om’ with Sampieri is an impressive melodic and ethereal improvisation demonstration fine interplay between the two. Very captivating. The three improvisations by her quartet give an impression of what her quartet is about. Melody-based improvisations that sound very fresh and engaging, with fine playing by Freed on electric guitar.  The London Improvisers Orchestra is a large ensemble focused on free and conducted improvisation. On ‘To Steve Beresford’ and the title track, Keeffe is listed for ‘conduction’, meaning directing and conducting the ensemble. In the case of the title track, this results in a spaced-out improvisation going through different sections. ‘Mysterious
Breath/This One’s For The Beas’ has muted trumpet playing by Keeffe in a sound exploration with the involvement of many musicians, plus an important role for electronics, more than in the other two improvisations from this impressive collective. The album offers a varied collection of adventurous improvisations in different constellations. Underlining that Keeffe is a multi-sided, very inventive and inspired musician. - Dolf Mulder VITAL WEEKLY



Beautiful and captivating – bestofjazz.org   



Over the past couple of years we’ve been listing dozens of discs from the UK-based Discus label, which is run by Martin Archer. The label has recently passed the 100 mark of releases and what amazes me is the consistency and diversity of all of the discs that myself and Darren B have reviewed. The other thing that amazes me is how well everything is recorded and how many little known British musicians that they’ve introduced us to. Which brings us to Ms. Charlotte Keeffe, trumpeter, flugelhornist and composer. I hadn’t heard of Ms. Keeffe before the past year when she appeared on two Martin Archer CD’s as well as a quartet led by Alex Ward (rel on Relative Pitch). This disc ranges from solos to duo to a quartet and the London Improvers Orchestra. It turns out that this disc is Charlotte Keeffe’s first release as a leader and it includes her first freely improvised trumpet solo and her first conduction. Several pieces feature Ms. Keeffe’s quartet with Moss Freed on guitar, Ashley John Long (Dunmall collaborator) on double bass and Ben Handysides on drums. The quartet kicks things off with “1200 Photographs”, a tightly played, impressive piece with organically written (skeletal) and free sections well integrated. The second piece is an improvised duo for trumpet and electric guitar (Diego Sampieri), it is spacious, eerie and carefully played. Plus it sounds like a continuation (vibe-wise) from the first piece. “Mysterious Breath” is the first of three pieces featuring the massive London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO), who play regular gigs in London and have many discs out on the Emanem label. The LIO members can range anywhere from 15 to 40 musicians. Ms. Keeffe is a member of the 40+ piece orchestra on “Mysterious Breath”, which sounds like someone is directing the massive ensemble. “Sweet Corn” features the quartet live and it is an impressive, tight, quick, flash of exciting ensemble playing. The second piece for LIO, “To Steve Beresford’ is intense, focused improv at its best. Mr. Beresford takes a wonderful, humorous, in between categories piano solo midway which is another highlight. “Noizemaschin!!” is for solo, improvised trumpet with some effects. It is nice to hear some strong close-mic’d trumpet weirdness from an under-recognized talent. “A Horse Named Galaxy” is played by Ms. Keeffe’s quartet and it has a melody which one could hum or whistle yet there is nothing cheesy about it, showing a much different side to Ms. Keeffe’s writing. The final piece, the title track, is a longer excursion for the LIO with Ms. Keeffe conducting. This piece buzzes, floats, creating a dream-like vibe which organically shifts through different connected sections. Like everything we’ve heard on Discus, this is a winner which sounds great on many levels. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG



I looked forward to the compilation of Charlotte Keeffe’s own music with a quartet including guitar, double bass and drums recorded live at the Cockpit Theatre Jazz in the Round in 2019, a large ensemble, the mighty London Improvisers’ Orchestra on three tracks- quite magnificent- bees are suggested as the title implies on the tremulous first piece; the second, ‘To Steve Beresford’ a ‘conduction’ i.e. spontaneously created structures and textures, the sudden silence on 3:30 is stunning, as ‘bass’ sounds such as tuba make way for rippling piano, almost breaking into honky-tonk (!), and woodwinds, an intriguing, teasing piece with growling brass having the final say; the flutes and trumpet doing a marvellous dance, on the third, in Stravinsky territory perhaps, with a spoken mantra at the end; and one duo free improvisation with guitar (‘OM’) - ethereal harmonics and sensitive playing by Keeffe that marks her out as a top contemporary jazz musician- and a 5 minute live free improvisation. ‘Right Here, Right Now’ is the title of the Discus 107 CD. The quartet recordings are snappy, well-structured and played, four minute pieces with dreamy, lingering trumpet notes with repeated motif followed by mazy runs, mercurial guitars and flailing, swishing drums, rocking out on the second. The influence of John McLaughlin seems obvious on guitarist Moss Freed- a whole album of this please! – Phil Jackson, ACID DRAGON



Right Here, Right Now collects together pieces by trumpet / flugelhorn player Charlotte Keeffe in various different formations – solo with electronics; in a duo with Diego Sampieri (guitar); in the Charlotte Keeffe quartet with Moss Freed (guitar), Ben Handysides (drums) and Ashley John Long (double bass). We also hear Keeffe’s work composing for the London Improvisers Orchestra on three adventurous and frequently unpredictable, playful pieces.


The result is a collection that draws out an immediacy of playing and an adaptable, varied tone. The pieces she conducted for the London Improvisers Orchestra veer from intricate, scratchy electronics, howling bells and ominous voices (‘Mysterious Breath / This One’s For The Bees…’) to the joyfully chaotic, cataclysmically euphoric nod to Orchestra stalwart and Flying Lizard par excellence Steve Beresford (‘To Steve Beresford’).


Quartet pieces like ‘Sweet, Corn’ are full of enticing energy, the interplay of the rhythm section and Keeffe’s wild, urgent playing reaching several crescendos before pivoting toward hook-y melodies and finally into squalling, beautiful noise. A more contemplative tone can be heard on the pretty ‘A Horse Named Melody’, even as Handysides’ drumming seems hellbent on upending the piece toward messier territory. Whether in her quartet or in a duo with Sampieri, you can hear a perfect unity between Keeffe and guitarists, leading to some genuinely breathtaking, intertwined melodic runs on the gentle, captivating ‘OM’ in particular.


Another dimension to Keeffe’s all-encompassing approach can be heard on the two solo pieces. Here we find Keefe subjecting her trumpet and flugelhorn to a series of electronic processes, showcasing yet another side to her playing completely. ‘The Melody’s In The Post’ (inspired by a melody by Alicia Gardener-Trejo) finds her horns fading in and out over a bed of restless, itchy static that sounds like an after-hours Radiophonic Workshop for an astral jazz documentary that sadly never was. Something similar occurs on ‘Noizemaschin!!’, taken from Keeffe’s first live improvised solo set in 2017. Somewhat more restrained in its processing than ‘The Melody’s In The Post’, ‘Noizemaschin!!’ instead relies on washes of reverb and stuttering, chattering, inchoate passages interspersed with rapid note clusters, leading to a ghostly, atmospheric otherworldliness. - Mat Smith  https://furtherdot.com/



The explicit and declared position about the ephemeral situativity – here and now – of improvisational practice is the title of this project by trumpeter (and fluglist) Charlotte Keeffe that reaps the fruits of several live and studio musical performances between 2016 and 2019.  Between modern jazz, avant-garde and free improvisation, the album offers different sound atmospheres, whose variety, held together consistently by the protagonist of the album, is also functioning by the different type of formations with which the trumpeter engages, who shows to be at ease in the most different situations: dialoguing with the guitar of Diego Sampieri (OM),interacting with electronics (The Melody's In The Post and Noizemaschin!!, engaging in interplay with the quartet formed together with Moss Freed on guitar, Ben Handysides on drums and Ashley John Long on double bass (200 Photographs, A Horse Named Galaxy and Sweet, Corn)and, finally, "conducting" the improvisation of the London Improvisers Orchestra (Breath / This One's For The Bees... , To Steve Beresford, Right Here, Right Now).  The pieces of the quartet, built around the idea of the theme and then developed through a skilful recourse to improvisational interplay, are the ones I prefer; but also the collective improvisation with the London orchestra offers interesting moments, although they are inevitably more bound to the (past) improvisational situation and less suitable for fixing in a recording. Overall, it is an interesting compilation, which has the merit of presenting the different facets of a quality musician. - A G Bertinetto, KATHODIK



There’s a positive air of the sampler album about this set, and at the same time the feeling of a showcase for Keefe’s undoubted talents, all of which is underscored by the fact that the music documents Keeffe solo and in groupings ranging from duo to large ensemble. The quartet of Keeffe, Freed, Handysides and Long go about some musical business with greater collective purpose than some of the hyped stars of contemporary jazz, at least as far as I can hear, typically on 1200 Photographs and Sweet Corn. The brevity of both is frustrating because the depth of interplay is exceptional and thus worth far more expansive airing. The duo of Keeffe and Sampieri is essentially more reflective, although such observation is far from unqualified because their work has such an air of potential about it that what we hear on this occasion seems like just one facet of what they’re capable of. As it is, such is the starkness of the setting that the ear homes in on Keeffe’s expansive tone and ear for knowing what (and when) not to play. Perhaps inevitably the sense of intimacy extends as far as Keeffe’s solo improvising on Noizemaschin!! where an echo leaves the listener intrigued as to where the piece was recorded, not least because Keeffe’s ear is sharp enough to incorporate the effect into her work. Keeffe’s talent for directing and conducting an improvising ensemble is documented on Mysterious Breath / This One’s For The Bees, To Steve Beresford and Right Here, Right Now, all of which are examples of how it would be churlish to regard her efforts as interventionist in terms of improvised music. In every case the results are intriguing and for very good reasons, not the least of them being the silent interplay between her actions and the players involved.  - Nic Jones, JAZZ JOURNAL



More like a CV or in contemporary terms a LinkedIn page, British trumpeter/flugelhornist Charlotte Keeffe provides a comprehensive resumé of her skills during this CD’s nine tracks. That means she’s featured playing solo, in duo, leading a quartet and playing and conducting the London Improvisers Orchestra. (LIO) There’s impressive work throughout, but like the person who provides too much detail on a job application, a tighter focus would be preferable.  As it is she demonstrates conclusively that she can maintain her capillary authority in free improvisations with guitarist Diego Sampieri and playing solo. Swaying against the guitarist’s delicate finger picking, she positions her slurring exposition with mutes, half-valve and other effects. On her own she invokes electronics for intricate live sampling and timbre multiplication that allow her to cascade bugling tones on one track and otherwise communicate the essence of “The Melody’s in the Post” with warm expansions of tangents and textures. The three tracks with guitarist Moss Freed, bassist Ashley John Long and drummer Ben Handysides build on the quartet’s strengths with plunger blasts or shifted shading prodding the guitarist to counter her expositions with staccato string stings, intense strums or frails. “A Horse Named Galaxy” adds a swing feel with Keeffe’s brassy spurts indicating Bop, Cool and Free tropes as the double bass thumps and Freed doubles the brass player’s part with clucking rhythm guitar work.  Undaunted by the weight of LIO’s instrumentation that at times swells to 40 musicians, in her conductions Keeffe is insightful enough not to call on too many soloists. Embroidering percussion thumps and electronic drones with squeals and split tones from the horns, sequences are mercurial and measured. The final conduction gives the disc its title. Impressively its evolution from crescendos to microtones makes space for solo sequences highlighting tailgate trombone blasts, flute trills, trumpet screeching and voice verbalization, “To Steve Beresford” makes better use of the orchestra. The track is directed so that stop-time patterning and shuffle expositions, driven by percussion strokes and split tone reed deconstruction, draw back enough to emphasize Dave Powell’s slick tuba burbles, Trevor Taylor’s vibes clanks and Neil Metcalfe’s flute whistles. When the dedicatee finally injects cascades of rickety-tick pseudo-ragtime piano, the disrupted narrative remains constant enough to slip, slide and smear to a concentrated finale. There’s nothing to complain about on Keeffe’s premier session. Now that’s she’s demonstrated her dynamic range though she should perhaps enlarge on just one of those skills on her next outing. — Ken Waxman, http://www.jazzword.com/