FIP#4 – Shelley Hirsch

FIP#4 – features an exclusive interview with singer, composer, improviser, writer and actor Shelley Hirsch. This interview was conducted in London in November 2015 on the eve of a duo performance at Cafe Oto by Shelley Hirsch and turntable artist, Joke Lanz.

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For many coming to her music through her work with John Zorn, Christian Marclay or Fred Frith, Hirsch is the very embodiment of the astonishing wave of creative invention and energy that emerged in New York in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Hirsch is a unique virtuoso possessing a voice of incredible range and diversity of timbre. Her performances, compositions and improvisations are often physically intense and hallmarked by an immense array of vocal sounds, musical references and cross-references, and short narrative sequences producing a collage of fleeting presences – half-familiar characterisations, knowing asides, deep insights and ironies cut with startling wit, revelations and memories real and imagined.

Where to begin? Well in the podcast the answer is right at the very beginning with Hirsch in the imaginations and inventions of her childhood.

This podcast features excerpts from two CDs –
Berlin and Brooklyn (Rossbin RS031 released 2012) – duets by Shelley Hirsch and Joke Lanz recorded in Berlin and Brooklyn in November 2011. The CD has two tracks, excerpts from both are featured on the podcast.
Duets – 10 years After (Innocent Records ICR – 016 released 2011) – duets by Shelley Hirsch and Uchihashi Kazuhisa recorded in London and New York in 2008 and 2009. this podcast features two short excerpts from track 3 ‘Where are you from?’
Video excerpts from the duet performance of Shelley Hirsch and Joke Lanz at Café Oto:


FIP#3 – Oliver Lake

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FIP #3 features an interview with saxophonist, composer, arranger, poet and painter, Oliver Lake. A leading figure in jazz since the late 1960s, having emerged in St Louis alongside such key players as Lester and Joe Bowie, Oliver Lake was a founder of the highly influential Black Artists Group in the late 60s / early 70s, and has since, with a highly individual style, been a member of the World Saxophone Quartet, and sustained highly productive partnerships with musicians such as Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille and Geri Allen.
His work with his own groups, featuring organ, string and steel ensembles, as well as his big band, is highly acclaimed, and he is in demand as a composer and arranger with a wide variety of musiciains, including Bjork.
At the age of 73, Lake is established as one of the most original and engaging jazz musicians in the contemporary scene.
Much of his recorded output is on his own record label, available here – Passing Thru
Tracks featured in this podcast:
Plan – Plan by Oliver Lake Organ Quartet (Passin’ Thru Records, 2010)
Africa – NTU: The Point From Which Creation Begins by Oliver Lake (Passin’ Thru Records, 1976)
Zip – NTU: The Point From Which Creation Begins by Oliver Lake (Passin’ Thru Records, 1976)
Hasan – Holding Together by Oliver Lake (Black Saint, 1976)
Tfon – Life Dance of Is by Oliver Lake (Arista, 1978)
‘s’ – Oliver Lake & Julius Hemphill (Sackville SKCD2-3018, 1978)


Black Artist Group circa 1969′, St Louis


Joe Bowie, Floyd Le Flore, Baikida Carroll & Oliver Lake – BAG 1973


Oliver Lake at his home in New Jersey with one of his recent paintings Oliver Lake at his home in New Jersey with one of his recent paintings

FIP #2 – Kenny Wheeler

Episode 2 of The Free Improv Pod features an interview with trumpeter, flugelhorn player, cornettist, composer and improviser, Kenny Wheeler.

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The music featured in this episode is as follows:
Gnu High (ECM 1069)

Windmill Tilter (BGO)

Karyobin (Chronoscope Records)

Song For Someone (psi 04.01 / emanemdisc)

Foxes Fox (psi 12.01 / emamemdisc)

Each of theseoriginal recordings offers high quality reproduction, not available in very compressed podcast formats. If you like this music, please buy these CDs!

My thanks to ECM and psi for specific permission to include excerpts of their recordings in this podcast.

The podcast home is here:

iTunes here

FIP #1 – John Russell

Episode 1 features an interview conducted in January 2015 with guitarist, organiser and teacher, John Russell. The interview spans materials from the very beginnings of John’s involvement in free improvisation through to the current day and his practice as a player and teacher – via some unlikely episodes, such as being the conductor to a rousing if not too slow version of The International in front of 4000 trades unionist in London’s Alexandra Palace.

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For information about John Russell and his activities:

For details of John Russell’s CD ‘Hyste’ (PSI 10.6) featured in this podcast: