• 1. LOW VORTEX (27:54)
  • 2. HIGH VORTEX (10:20)
  • 3. RHAGYMADRODD (10:04)
  • 4. PREGETH (11:12)
  • 5. DIWEDDGLO (03:55)

Vortices & Angels

1. John Butcher and Derek Bailey - Low Vortex
Amplified Guitar – Derek Bailey
2. John Butcher and Derek Bailey - High Vortex
Amplified Guitar – Derek Bailey
3. John Butcher and Rhodri Davies - Rhagymadrodd
Harp – Rhodri Davies
4. John Butcher and Rhodri Davies - Pregeth
Harp – Rhodri Davies
5. John Butcher and Rhodri Davies - Diweddglo
Harp – Rhodri Davies

Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – John Butcher

Two very different duo concert performances both featuring saxophonist John Butcher: the first (38 minutes) at the Vortex with electric guitarist Derek Bailey; the second (25 minutes) in All Angels Church with harpist Rhodri Davies. 63 minutes.

Excerpts from sleeve notes:
"Although Derek Bailey lives in London, he rarely plays in public there. One of those rare occasions is captured here - an evening he organised at the Vortex, a north London club that normally presents Jazz gigs. The first half of the gig (not included on this CD) consisted of solos by John Butcher and the guitarist. After the interval, there were two duets, which are heard as the first half of this CD. This was the first time Bailey and Butcher had played as a duo for about ten years, although they had worked together in larger groupings, such as trios with Oren Marshall and Gino Robair.

The second half of this CD was recorded two months later at one of the regular series of concerts that Rhodri Davies and Mark Wastell organise at St Michael and All Angels, a west London church that normally presents Christian services. The three duets heard here are the complete performance by John Butcher and Rhodri Davies that evening - the first time they had worked together as a duo. (All the pieces on this CD are unedited, and presented in the order of performance.)

The two halves of this CD are very different, even though John Butcher is half of each half. To start with, the two acoustic spaces are very different - one is a smallish club room, the other a largish, resonant church. The music is also very different, possibly somewhat influenced by the acoustics. The duo with Derek Bailey is generally very busy, rather like a vortex, while that with Rhodri Davies is generally more spacious, somewhat angelic.

As well as being exceptionally fine improvisers, all three musicians have considerably extended the ranges of their respective instruments. Yet, all three use 'normal' instruments of the sort that one hears in more conventional areas of music. (It should be pointed out that Davies makes use of certain accessories not usually associated with harps. However all the sounds he produces involve the harp, except for an occasional bowed hand-bell.)

Bailey (born 1930), Butcher (born 1954) and Davies (born 1971) can be said to represent three 'generations'" of improvising musicians. More importantly, they represent the continuing development and renewal of improvised music. These two performances are very fine examples of the current state of the art."
Martin Davidson (2001)

Album label: 
Release date: 
01.07 / 2001
Recording date: 
23.02 / 2000
Recording location: 
London (Vortex) 1-2, (All Angels) 2000 May 24 3-5
Artwork design : Martin Davidson
Mastering engineer : Martin Davidson
Recording engineer : Martin Davidson / Tim Fletcher

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