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© Keiko Yoshida: orkney mainland, scotland 2006.

Nigemizu | Winter Gardens | Bell Trove Spools | Resonant Spaces | The Geometry of Sentiment
Horn_Bill | Cavern with Nightlife | Invisible Ear | Fixations (14)
London & Cologne | 13 Friendly Numbers | Trace

Inner Compass - Tobias Fischer / Tokafi
Resonant Spaces - Biba Kopf / WIRE - (photos)
Solo Flights - Bill Shoemaker / Jazz Times

Site Specific performances.

I first played solo, just a short piece, in 1982 at the Workers' Music Association in Notting Hill Gate.
To quote from a 1998 Rubberneck piece:

"After a few concerts I'd learnt a lot about making connections - but had also noticed recognisable pieces beginning to develop. I quite liked this, but worried about what it meant for long-term solo work. For a while, I almost envied composers; able to wrap up a piece, send it out into the world, and move on to the next. But a lot of the pleasure in giving solo concerts is connected to the hope of finding, spontaneously, some music you didn't really know about beforehand.
Playing pieces is too close to playing routines and a concert is an opportunity for much more. As a live performer, improvising usually just feels better - less acting, less theatre, and more chance for a little magic. By way of a bonus, this means engaging with what Derek Bailey described as a "search for whatever is endlessly variable".


feedback sax
© ariele monti - area sismica, italy.
Whilst still close to my feelings about solo concerts - another side of solo work has been to develop compositional ideas for CD: from the 1992 multitracks on Thirteen Friendly Numbers to the microphone-based work on Invisible Ear.

These ideas then feed into concerts.
Live multitracking was explored with Stephen Moore and the 15 speakers at Issue Project Room (review).

Site-Specific Solos

john butcher utsunimiya stone museum photo
Oya Stone Museum, Japan                          © osamu enomoto
I have also had the opportunity to create solos specifically for large or especially characterful acoustics - such as inside the giant Oya Stone Mountain in Utsunomiya, Japan.

Resonant Spaces was a 2006 Arika tour in Scotland and the Orkneys which visited sites specially chosen for their extraordinary acoustics.
Later that year I played, for Resonance FM, in Oberhausen's famous 200m high gazometer.
In 2010 these ideas continued, with Joe McPhee, at artist James McGee's The Hill in the West Texas Desert near El Paso (review).

Recent site-specific works include in the medieval vaults of Southampton (WIRE review), Dunston Staiths, and Newhaven's 19th century Fort.
Check out some recordings .


Live in Japan 2013.

Tenor solo: Shimanouchi Church, Osaka.
Soprano solos: Hall Egg Farm, Fukay.

Wire | The Quietus | soundofmusic (Swedish)

Winter Gardens

winter gardens
Vinyl LP, live in London and Milwaukee 2011.

saxophones (acoustic and feedback)

all about jazz | still single | Boston Hassle | le son du grisli
The Watchful Ear | Musicworks | Free Jazz

Bell Trove Spools

Tenor solos: Dan Flavin Gallery, Houston - 2010
Soprano solos: Issue Project Room, Brooklyn - 2011

tiny mix tapes | burning ambulance | all about jazz (1) / (2) | London Jazz
freq | The Watchful Ear | Point of Departure

Resonant Spaces

Live location recordings from Scotland and the Orkney Islands - 2006

Acoustic and amplified/feedback saxophone

Sleeve notes: Biba Kopf

WIRE | Dusted | Neue Zeitschrift für Musik | Point of Departure | all about jazz

Everything about this release is beautiful and intriguing:
the music, the packaging, the photographs, the notes and the story they tell.

The Geometry of Sentiment

john butcher solo cd
order CD via Emanem
Live in Japan (2004) and Europe (2006)

Acoustic and amplified/feedback saxophone

Sleeve notes: Stuart Broomer

all about jazz 1 | all about jazz 2 | Dusted | exclaim


horn_bill cover
order CD via Matchless
One of 5 solos from this all reed ONGAKU concert.

John Butcher
Nathaniel Catchpole
Kai Fagaschinski
Lou Gare
Evan Parker
Seymour Wright

KFJC | bagatellen | jazz word

Cavern with Nightlife

Live in Japan - 2002

Solo inside the Oya Stone mountain
+ Duo with Toshimaru Nakimura.

WIRE | Dusted | One Final Note | Sandszine

Invisible Ear

Reissue of 2003 fringes edition.

Saxophones: acoustic, close-miked, amplified, feedbacking, solo, multitracked.

Sleeve notes: David Toop

Musicworks | Dusted | Squid's Ear | Paris Transatlantic | all about jazz
Cyclic Defrost | the Jazz Mann

Fixations (14)

Live in USA and Europe (1997-2000)

allmusic | Jazz Times | CODA

London & Cologne

Live solos (1994-1996) - plus one studio multitrack.


13 Friendly Numbers

13 friendly numbers cover Saxophone solos and multitracks (1991 reissue 2004).

Paris Transatlantic | Dusted | MOJO | Penguin guide to Jazz | BBC


john butcher cassette cover
Trace (cassette).

Side A: Solo saxophone concert: Paris, 2009
Side B: Studio recording for feedback-sax and piano: London, 2010.
Limited Edition of 250.


SOLD OUT: Now streaming for free at the WIRE.