87CD - MPH - Taxonomies
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MPH came together in 2018 at the suggestion of Alex Maguire, who had worked with Mark Hewins and Martin Pyne individually. The trio plays completely improvised music. All three musicians have diverse musical interests and a wealth of experience, and this results in music with a gloriously wide frame of reference: their playing can be by turns playful, ethereal, earthy, abrasive, delicate and lyrical. Listeners will hear influences from many sources, ranging from the blues to the jazz abstractions of Jimmy Giuffre and the prepared piano sounds of John Cage.
The album was recorded live over two days. The first was on 15/08/18 at Playback Studio in Margate where Alex played Hammond Organ, Mark digital slide guitar and electronics, and Martin moved between vibraphone with electronics, drums, and a spot of processed Wave Drum. The second track on the album, “False Jasmine”, was actually the first piece the group played together. The second day was at TallGuy Studio, Egham on 16/08/18. Alex switched to acoustic piano, while Mark used a big fat jazz guitar, again with electronics on a few pieces, and Martin played acoustic vibraphone, with and without preparations, and some small percussion.
The titles are inspired by the wonderfully evocative traditional names for various flora and fauna, suggestive of timeless narratives, characters, landscapes and mindscapes.
Alex studied with Howard Riley, John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Steve Lacy. After attending the Barry Summer School (with Tony Oxley, Keith Tippett etc.) he co-founded the improvised music night ‘The Ping Pong Club’ at the London Musicians’ Collective with percussionist Steve Noble, performing with Derek Bailey, Paul Rutherford, Evan Parker, Ernst Reijseger, Toshinori Kondo and Tristan Honsinger (among many others), and dancers Steve Paxton,Kirstie Simson, Julyen Hamilton and Katie Duck. Alex has additionally worked with Theatre de Complicite, the National Theatre (UK) and has been a member of Richard Sinclair’s RSVP, The Canterbury Legends (with the late Hugh Hopper and Didier Malherbe), Pip Pyle’s BASH!, many Elton Dean formations, Sean Bergin’s MOB with Han Bennink and Wolter Wierbos, the Michael Moore Duo, and Quartet, as well as a scorching duo with Stefano Maltese and the Roberta Maci’s Sicilian Quintet. Alex was the keyboard player for the final line-up of Hatfield And The North, performing and recording in Europe, North and South America and Japan. Alex is also an award-winning UK state-registered Music Therapist specialising in forensic psychiatry and has published and presented this work at conferences throughout Europe and the US.
Martin grew up with a very classical music education playing percussion in orchestras. His love of tuned percussion in particular led him to both Milt Jackson and Gary Burton, and hence to jazz in general, and the door to free improvisation was opened by the recordings of Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell. Martin worked with contemporary classical groups while at the same time founding the improv trio Dangerous Kitchen with saxophone legend Stan Sulzmann and fellow percussionist Simon Allen: together the trio recorded an album which was the first release on Martin’s own label TallGuyRecords. After working through a period where he fell out of love with jazz, he formed a trio, Busnoys, with Jeff Spencer and Trevor Davies , playing his own compositions. They have recorded three albums, including contributions from Get The Blessing members Jim Barr and Pete Judge. Martin has also recorded a duo album with noted improvising pianist Stephen Grew, as well as a solo vibraphone record. He is currently writing songs in collaboration with jazz singer Laura Zakian: the first fruit of this, Laura’s EP Minor Moments, was released earlier this year. Martin has a longstanding involvement with contemporary dance and over the years has collaborated with acclaimed choreographers including Mark Baldwin, S Ama Wray and Zamira Kate Mummery. Most recently he composed a score for Mikaela Polley’s ballet Interplay, and toured with Images Ballet Company in Spring 2019, performing live on stage. Another of Martin’s ongoing projects is his partnership with pianist Stephen Horne, accompanying silent film: they have performed together around the world and have an extensive repertoire, recently premiering their own new score to the 1928 sci-fi classic, Metropolis.
Mark Hewins' professional career as a guitarist began at 15 with the London band Mother Sun. Early work included John Stevens' Dance Orchestra A Luta Continua (alongside Phil Collins, John Martyn, and Danny Thompson); also multiple projects with Elton Dean. He played on Dave Sinclair's Moon Over Man album and with him in The Polite Force (1976-8, Canterbury Knights album). He was in Going Going (1990) and Caravan of Dreams (1991) with Richard Sinclair. and in later incarnations of Soft Heap (with Dean, Pip Pyle and John Greaves CD; A Veritable Centaur). He was a member of Gong for a long world tour in 1999 and has also worked extensively with Hugh Hopper, including a Duo (CD ‘Adreamor’) and Mashu (CD, ‘Elephants in Your Head’) (1995-8) subsequently working with Mashu and Gong percussionist Shyamal Maïtra on other projects, including a duo and a trio with Carol Grimes. Other collaborations include work with Dennis Gonzalez and Andrew Cyrille amongst others in the U.S. In Europe with Django Bates in Research; (Social Systems LP). Hewins' first solo album was The Electric Guitar (1987) released by Daagnim in the US. He was asked by Lou Reed to be his guitar tech on several tours and is mentioned on the CD ‘Songs for Drella’. He led a big band FF, his dance band Tritonik (with Tania Evans, who went on to Culture Beat), and the Music Doctors (with Dean and Lol Coxhill). He has alsoplayed with Julie Felix, Lol Coxhill, Bill Bruford, Fred Frith, Joe Lee Wilson, Dudu Pukwana, Mervyn Africa, Anthony Aiello and more recently Bob Geldof.
This new release is awaiting first review