Shock Exchange

John Edwards · Caroline Kraabel

Saturday, June 28 · On The Boards Studio Theater · 100 W Roy · 8 PM · $10

Shock Exchange is Caroline Kraabel (saxophones, voice) and John Edwards (bass, voice), two London-based improvisers whose expansive version of improvised music takes in performance art and humor.

John Edwards

John Edwards first came to prominence as bass player for the eclectic B Shops for the Poor, a quintet for four saxophones, guitar, and drum beats, in reaction to which Edwards improvised on bass, at times joined by Peter Brötzmann on sax. Edwards then became a fixture on the European free-jazz and free-improv scene, playing with the group God, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Eddie Prévost, and many others. Renowned for his "anarchic virtuosity," as Clive Bell put it in Resonance magazine, Edwards has provided powerful and innovative bass playing to a great variety of projects, including musical collaboration with the Cholmondeleys dance company, and The Great Explorers, a duo in which he and cellist David Fitzgerald perform ambitious musical-visual presentations. A vaunted figure in English improv, he has collaborated with many of its leading players, including Lol Coxhill, Evan Parker, Alan Tomlinson, Roger Turner, and Jon Lloyd, in whose quartet he plays with Mark Sanders (see Lunge). Well worth seeking out is Operet, his recording collaboration between Eastern Mediterranean singer Viv Corringham and experimental guitarist Peter Cusack, joining songwriting and traditional and avant-garde music. Edwards also is a member of the giant all-star band the London Improvisers Orchestra, a who's who of the English scene whose repertoire includes pieces by Caroline Kraabel.

"he succeeds in joining refinement and extreme technical agility with a very physical and energetic way of playing ... which gives his sound an unmistakable character"—Fabrizio Spera

Caroline Kraabel

Caroline Kraabel and John Edwards have been playing together for many years, starting in their 1987 "agit-jazz" group The Honkies and also in groups with veteran percussionist Charles Hayward and one of the founding fathers of British improv and post-jazz, Ken Hyder. Kraabel, who was raised in Seattle and has lived in London for 23 years, composes and plays alto and baritone saxophones in performances always rich with elements of performance art. As one French reviewer put it, "Between playing alto and baritone saxes she finds a way to sing, dance, and realize an incredible mise-en-scčne." In England her collaborators have included Jad Fair, God is my Co-Pilot, and in recent years the Mass Producers, a 20-woman saxophone ensemble for which she has been writing pieces for performance that surrounds listeners. She has also collaborated with Maggie Nicols, Evan Parker, and Veryan Weston. Among her work for theater has been, since 1994, the solo performance piece "Now We Are One Two," featuring songs, improvisation, dance, stage blood, and a giant sheet of newspaper, and which she has toured widely. Like Shock Exchange, her long-standing Xrayeyes features elements of physical theater, and she has written and played in various theater productions.

"At last, a performance artist who can really play"—Chris Kelsey, Jazz Now

17th Seattle Improvised Music Festival