Photo credit: Dmitri Djuric
Led by experimental vocalist, movement artist and composer Elaine Mitchener with saxophonist Jason Yarde and bassist Neil Charles, The Rolling Calf trio make music partly inspired by the innovations of Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and other members of the 1960s Black American avant-garde.
As an act of homage and an attempt to contextualise and validate their own experiments in electroacoustic improvisation, the trio perform alongside screenings of abstract non-narrative films The Magic Sun (1966), which records a performance by the Sun Ra Arkestra, and New York Eye and Ear Control (1964/66), which features Albert Ayler’s quartet with trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray, alongside New York Art Quartet altoist John Tchicai and trombonist Roswell Rudd.
The rarely screened 3 Songs on Pain, Light & Time (1995) will also feature in the programme, a video portrait of the late visual artist Donald Rodney – a leading figure of the BLK Art Group – made by Trevor Mathison and Edward George and produced with Black Audio Film Collective.
The Magic Sun, Dir. Phill Niblock, 1966, black and white, 17 min.
New York Eye and Ear Control, Dir. Michael Snow, 1964/66, black and white, 34 min.
3 Songs on Pain, Light & Time, Dirs. Trevor Mathison and Edward George, 1995, colour
The Rolling Calf is a Black power trio featuring vocalist Elaine Mitchener, saxophonist Jason Yarde and bassist Neil Charles. The Rolling Calf performances combine texts by revolutionary African-Diasporic thinkers with collective electroacoustic improvisation to strike a new bridgehead for the Black British avant-garde.
Elaine Mitchener is an experimental and contemporary music vocalist, movement artist and composer whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary music theatre and performance art. Recent performances and forthcoming projects include b r e a d t h b r e a t h (LCMF, 2018), the then + the now = now time (Maerzmusik, Berlin, 2019), Jeanne Lee Project (Kings Place, London, June 2019), Vocal Classics of the Black Avant-Garde (Meteo Festival, Mulhouse, August and London Jazz Festival, November 2019) and Charles Mingus’ String Quartet No.1 (for strings and voice) with ensemble Apartment House (Totally Thames Bascule Chamber Concerts, September 2019).
Neil Charles is a classically trained double bassist, electronic music producer and composer (BenMarc Music). He performs, records and tours with numerous jazz, classical and contemporary music groups and ensembles including Sun Ra Arkestra, Alexander Hawkins, Mingus Big Band, Pulled By Magnets (with Seb Roachford and Pete Wareham), Charles-Mitchener duo (with Elaine Mitchener), The Rolling Calf (with Mitchener and Jason Yarde), and has played with Terence Blanchard, Black Top, Shabaka Hutchings, Anthony Braxton and China Moses.
Jason Yarde is a saxophonist who has been a member of Louis Moholo-Moholo’s groups for three decades. He is one of the most sought-after musicians of his generation, and has been a member of groups led by Andrew Hill and Jack DeJohnette and has worked with Hugh Masekela, among many others. He is also a renowned arranger, producer and composer, having been widely commissioned, including by the London Symphony Orchestra. His Windrush Suite was premiered at the 2018 London Jazz Festival.