Mick Beck Trio – 9 January 2013

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On the free scene since 1980, as an improvising big band leader to solo performer, Mick is known for his energy and originality: his playing covers the full emotional gamut from heartbreaking to mischievous, and from abstracts to compelling swing.

His improvising big band Feet Packets was unique in the UK and influential in the late 1980s. In the 1990s he led many small groups including the powerful free jazz trio Something Else with Paul Hession and Simon Fell, which released two acclaimed CDs. Since the millennium, Beck’s ground-breaking work with the mysterious and humorous bassoon, supplemented by his use of other wind instruments add many new sounds and moods. Since 2005, Gated Community, a 15-piece big band, has been revisiting the boundaries between total musical freedom and novel compositions, and has also played twice with Damo Suzuki as guest artist.

Beck’s technical innovations and musical ideas are often a source of inspiration to his collaborators on stage, and hehe works with many of free music’s best-known exponents covering a wide age range. He is based in Sheffield , plays regularly in London and elsewhere in the UK , and from time to time in Spain , Germany , Austria , France , Canada and Australia .


Mick with Derek Bailey

He has worked with many great musicians such ass saxists J.D. Parran to Alan Wilkinson, guitarists Derek Bailey to Hugh Metcalf, percussionists Tony Buck to Steve Noble and Paul Hession, bassists Marcio Mattos to Simon Fell, pianists Chris Burn to Stephen Grew and Pat Thomas.

In the 1990s through to 2004, he was one of the lead organisers of Sheffield ’s Other Music, a bastion of the UK ’s free music scenefor 22 years.

Recordings include

BLISTRAP on Stage: Mick Beck, Jonny Drury, Stefano Giust, live in London Manchester Edinburgh.Setola di Maiala. Sm1560.

Life Echoes, Mick Beck solo, Feb 2009, Discus 36CD.

Weavels at The Nether Edge, Mick Beck bassoon, Chris Cundy bass clarinet, Alex Ward guitar, Discus 34CD, November 2008

A Low Carbonation, Discus 28 CD, Beck/Drenching/Pleasure, June 2006;

Shkrang: Some thoughts about, (Mick Beck, Dave Tucker guitar and laptop, Paul Hession drums, Discus 25 CD, issued April 2006): “A top avant garde pick for 2006” (All About Jazz review) and “ One has to look back as far as early Amalgam to find free jazz / improv as compellingly rooted and adventurous as this” (The Wire review)

It’s Morning (Grew Trio, Discus 22 CD, autumn 2005). Jazzwise review “ This release carries the hallmarks we’ve come to expect: an uncompromising and intense approach to non-idiomatic free music, delivered with an irrepressibly mischievous sense of humour. Ridiculously entertaining”.

Meanwhile, Back in Sheffield … (Derek Bailey guitar, Paul Hession drums, Mick Beck reeds, Discus 21 CD, Spring 2005. The Guardian “ The opening track “After The Red Deer ” is a 30 minute evolution through many sound scapes. “Raining” develops into dense ensemble jostles, with the raucous entry of Beck’s bassoon. And on “Buckets”, the three players trade phrases as though hurling a hot coal back and fourth. These last two titles celebrate the apparent passage of the Sheffield rain through the roof, an event sure to convince free improvisers that there definitely is a god.

Motion Ejecta: Milo Fine (reeds and percussion), Paul Hession (drums), and Mick Beck (t/sax bassoon), Cadence USA, 2004; Web Store Review from USA : “ It took Milo Fine, Mick Beck, and Paul Hession 56:43 to make this album. You’ll be listening to it for a lot longer than that!” Cadence Magazine , USA , “ This is free Jazz at its most uncompromising and it’s all the stronger for that”. Cadence Jazz Records “Able to double- and triple-tongue on a double reed, he creates dissonant textures you wouldn’t associate with the usual orchestral instrument”.

The 3 Bs (Pat Thomas, Paul Hession, live at the Termite Festival, Leeds ).

… To Play Music, (Stephen Grew Trio, live from Liverpool ).

Beck-Drenching-Pleasure ( Live at HOTS-OD, with T H F Drenching and Miss Sonic Pleasure,2002. Beck Drenching Pleasure Live at Hots OD re-issued at Fen Hibrow recordings with this fantastic quote, below.

Synopsis – everything fh-b017cd should have been, and the reason for the ignoble deposition of that disc, this new shit more than lives up to the wire’s gush. Pleasure creates a dialectical guide-book of latticed brickwork: the whole is sundered into different concepts, this divided whole yields a fixed and permanent determinacy; not a fossilised determinacy but one which permanently recreates itself in its dissolution. As beck departs into heavily gestural bassoonery with the timing and ritualised brutality of a tartar horde, drenching spreads upended tacks and melted action-figures exactly where you were going to park. The divided whole fails to stop, causing damage to the rear passenger-side quarter of your vehicle. Later you exchange details.



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Mick Beck Trio - 9 January 2013
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
8:00pm - All Ages
1 Mowbray Street
Sheffield S3 8EN

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The Noise Upstairs is an improv collective which runs a free-improv night in Manchester. The basic premise is that anyone can turn up and join in by putting their name in the hat. Names are pulled out, ensembles formed, and hearts broken.

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