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Some Collaborations

Claudia Ulla Binder | Fred Frith | Bill Hsu | Kimmig-Studer-Zimmerlin | Christof Kurzmann | Okkyung Lee
Matthew Shipp | Ståle Liavik Solberg | John Tilbury / Thomas Lehn | Otomo Yoshihide

Claudia Ulla Binder

claudia binder, john butcher
Back in 1984 Claudia Binder and violinist Ma Lou Bangerter toured the UK with the Russell/Durrant/Butcher trio.
Various playing encounters have continued through the years, including the 80's quintet Kwatz.
Recent duo concerts included Berlin's Exploratorium, Unerhört Festival in Zürich and Ulrichsberg's Kaleidophon.

Butcher stands as still as a statue, analysing a single sound to find the smallest nothingness, listening coolly like a doctor who hears a heartbeat with a stethoscope. This is especially appealing in combination with Binder, who cultivates a floating lyricism at the grand piano and, even when producing cascades of sounds, never appears violent.
Christoph Merki, Tagesanzeige.

Under the Roof

Studio DRS2, Zürich, Switzerland. August 2008.

Claudia Ulla Binder - piano
John Butcher - soprano and tenor saxophone

Free Jazz | Point of Departure | all about jazz

Fred Frith

fred frith, john butcher
Fred and John first met and played together in 1996 at the ICA, London. In duo and with drummer Charles Hayward.

Since then they have played duos in Berkeley, Kongsberg, and London and trios with the cellists Hannah Marshall and Theresa Wong.

Butcher, in his duet with Frith, added melodic turns with authoritative grace, dodging in and out of jazz phrasing then twisting to explore the percussive potential of the tenor sax body, amplifying key taps and inducing feedback. Vigorous synchronic chases, raw bellows and punches blended with breathy hyphenations.
Geoff Winston - London Jazz News.

The Natural Order

Guerrilla Recordings, Oakland. October 2009.

Fred Frith - guitar
John Butcher - soprano and tenor saxophone

tiny mix tapes | Blurt | louder than war | dusted | Downbeat
el intruso (Spanish) | soundofmusic (Swedish)
Quintillions Green

Cafe Oto, London. May 2015.

Fred Frith - guitar, voice
Theresa Wong - cello, voice
John Butcher - saxophones, feedback

Bill Hsu

John Butcher, Bill Hsu at CNMAT
CNMAT, Berkley, California.
Bill Hsu is a musician who builds software and works with electronics in performance.

He and Butcher have collaborated at Steim, Kraakgeluiden and ZKM on developing software for timbre recognition within Butcher's playing styles. This has now evolved into a performance duo.
In 2008 they collaborated with David Wessel at CNMAT in Berkley and more recently have formed Phospheme (Butcher/Hsu/Robair) to explore sound/video interactions.

Phospheme: Flayed Flock (and duo version) | Shimmer
"Using timbre in a computer-based improvisation system" pdf.

Kimmig - Studer - Zimmerlin

Kimmig / Studer / Zimmerlin, john butcher
Butcher has joined this well established string trio for a Swiss/German tour, the Nickelsdorf Konfrontationen and HCMF.

"The group delivered a wild - at times threatening - performance. The strings were bowed, pulled, struck and scratched - the entire instrument, from neck to tailpiece, was used as a resonating body.
John Butcher complemented the trio perfectly. As a master of circular breathing and overblowing techniques, he managed to elicit tones that sometimes had listeners asking themselves which instrument was responsible for a particular sound."  Holger Pauler, Neue Musikzeitung.


Live at Offene Ohren, Munich. January 2015.

Harald Kimmig - violin / Daniel Studer - double bass / Alfred Zimmerlin - violincello
John Butcher - tenor and soprano saxophones

music zoom

Christof Kurzmann

christof kurzmann
© uli templin - nickelsdorf, austria. 2005

John Butcher first worked in duo with lloopp player Christof Kurzmann in 2002, when he was invited to Berlin during Kurzmann's artist-in-residency at Podewil. Two years earlier, they both took part in a performance of Burkhard Stangl's opera Venusmond, in Chicago.

Recent duo concerts include the Nickeldorf Konfrontationen in Austria, Ausland in Berlin, and in trio with Leonel Kaplan in Ulrichberg and Vienna.

Shortening Distance

John Butcher - acoustic and feedback saxophones
Leonel Kaplan - trumpet
Christof Kurzmann - lloppp

improv sphere | just outside | jazz word

john butcher and christof kurzmann cover
order CD from Potlach

The Big Misunderstanding between Hertz and MegaHertz

John Butcher - acoustic and feedback saxophones
Christof Kurzmann - lloppp and pick up

Cover painting by Esther Stocker

allmusic | All About Jazz

Okkyung Lee

John Butcher, Okkyung Lee in Bratidlava
Since meeting at London's Freedom of the City in 2010, Lee and Butcher have played in duo, in 4-tet with Steve Beresford and Christian Marclay, in trios with John Edwards, Chris Corsano, Max Eastley & Mark Sanders (BrumNotes), and in Lee's piece Cheol-Kkot-Sae

"For all the praise they receive for their musicianship and challenging approaches to sound and technique, the music they make hits you on a real base level, creating atmosphere and feeling. You're never in doubt that this is music which produces an emotional response and is there to be enjoyed and not just appreciated.
Lee and Butcher are able to create a performance with real pace and flow which explores music and sound both interesting and touching.
And you can't ask for a better combination that that."

Silent Radio

Matthew Shipp

mathew shipp, john butcher
© cafe oto
Butcher and Shipp first met, to play a duo, in 2010. This Cafe Oto evening was curated by Trevor Brent and broadcast on BBC Jazz on 3.

2014 saw them back at Oto, this time with synthist Thomas Lehn - a trio that then played the 2016 Nickelsdorf Konfrontationen.

Shipp & Butcher in conversation at The Attic.


Cafe Oto, London, 2014.

Matthew Shipp - piano
Thomas Lehn - analogue synthesiser
John Butcher - soprano and tenor saxophones

improv sphere (FR) | AMN | dusted | dalston sound | Point of Departure | free jazz
Salt Peanuts

at oto cover
order CD from Fataka
At Oto

Cafe Oto, London, 2010.

Matthew Shipp - piano
John Butcher - soprano and tenor saxophones

burning ambulance | The Watchful Ear | improv sphere (FR) | all about jazz | Dalston Sound
Point of Departure | Ni Kantu

Ståle Liavik Solberg

Ståle Liavik Solberg, john butcher
village underground, london.
In 2015 Butcher joined the trio of Solberg, Nils Henrik Asheim and Per Zanussi for a brief tour in Norway.
Since then they have played mostly in duo - in the UK, Norway and Denmark.

So Beatiful, It Start To Rain

Recorded at Cafe Oto, London - August 2015.

Ståle Liavik Solberg - drums and percussion
John Butcher - soprano and tenor saxophone

Dalston Sound | Salt Peanuts (Norwegian) | Gapplegate | jazz i norge (Norwegian)
free jazz | free jazz (IT)

John Tilbury & Thomas Lehn

Whilst Butcher has played with both Tilbury and Lehn in many combinations, their first trio encounter was specially for this recording session suggested by Trevor Brent of Fataka Records.

order CD from Fataka

Studio recording: London, 2012.

John Tilbury: piano
Thomas Lehn: synthesisers
John Butcher: saxophones

Dalston Sound | Wire | sound of music | free jazz | apex

Otomo Yoshihide

© elena márquez - barcelona feb 2010

Butcher and Otomo have met to play in duo a number of times - in Tokyo, London, Madrid and Barcelona.

Larger group encounters include with Sachiko M, Evan Parker, Tony Marsh and John Edwards (released by Otoroku) and a 5-tet with Mats Gustaffson, Guillaume Viltard, Mark Sanders - ears for eyes.

Quintet / Sextet / Duos

Live at Cafe Oto, London 2009.

Otomo Yoshihide: guitar / Sachiko M: sampler
Evan Parker: saxophones / John Edwards: bass / Tony Marsh: Drums
John Butcher: saxophones

tiny mix tapes | free jazz | dalston sound | Henry Kuntz | The Quietus

Following a subtle switch by both men to tenor, Butcher steps out and up into the post-Blue Note jazz world.
Parker takes up the challenge and, for a moment, you might think you are listening to Joe Henderson and Pharoah Sanders from something out of Alice Coltrane's Ptah the El Daoud.