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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 - Tokafi
Resonant Spaces - WIRE - (photos)
Solo Flights - Jazz Times
Site Specific performances.

I first played solo in concert, I think, in 1982 at the Workers' Music Association, Notting Hill.
To quote from a 1998 Rubberneck.

"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".

Whilst still close to my feelings about solo concerts - another side has been to develop compositional ideas for CD: from the 1992 multitracks on Thirteen Friendly Numbers to the microphone-based work on Invisible Ear.
Live multitracking was explored with Stephen Moore's 15 speaker system at Issue Project Room.
Since the mid 1980s I have also utilised saxophone controlled feedback.

Site-Specific Solos

john butcher utsunimiya stone museum photo
Oya Stone Museum, Japan  - © osamu enomoto
Over the last 15 years I have made many pieces for unusual acoustics and locations - such as inside the giant Oya Stone Mountain in Utsonimiya.
The 2006 Resonant Spaces tour visited northern UK sites chosen for their extraordinary atmospheres.

Other highlights include Oberhausen's 200m high gazometer, James McGee's The Hill in the West Texas desert (review), Southampton's medieval vaults (review), and Newhaven's 19th century Fort.


Live in Japan 2013.

Shimanouchi Church, Osaka & Hall Egg Farm, Fukay.

Wire | The Quietus | freejazzblog | Dusted | skug
Hatena (JP) | soundofmusic (SE)

"John Butcher is unique and incomparable. He's is the sculptor of sound on saxophone, whether on tenor or on soprano." freejazzblog.

Winter Gardens

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

freejazzblog | all about jazz | still single | Boston Hassle | le son du grisli | Musicworks

Bell Trove Spools

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

tiny mix tapes | WIRE | burning ambulance | all about jazz 1 / 2 | London Jazz
freq | Point of Departure

"The brazenly untreated melodic contours his fingers find in Third Dart are oddly reminiscent of Elizabethan melancholia, or viol consort music." WIRE.

Resonant Spaces

Live location recordings from Scotland and the Orkney Islands - 2006.

included is a 16 page PDF with photos from the Arika tour of Scotland and the Orkneys, Barry Esson's introduction, Biba Kopf's liner notes and an essay by Stuart Broomer.

Originally released on CD (2008) by Confront and on LP (2017) by Blume.

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

Sleeve notes: Biba Kopf

john butcher solo LP
LP: ATTN:magazine | Radio Free Midwich
john butcher solo cd

CD: WIRE | Dusted | Point of Departure | all about jazz
Jazz Word | soundofmusic (SE) | Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (D)

The Geometry of Sentiment

Live in Japan (2004) and Europe (2006)

Acoustic and amplified/feedback saxophone

Sleeve notes: Stuart Broomer

All About Jazz 1 / 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 (1) | Dusted | One Final Note | Sandszine | WIRE (2) pdf

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
Cadence | Cyclic Defrost | the Jazz Mann | point culture (FR)

"The pieces produced with amplification/feedback take on reverberant mystic characteristics."

Fixations (14)

Live in USA and Europe (1997-2000)

allmusic | Jazz Times | CODA | Opprobrium

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
DL at Bandcamp
Trace (cassette).

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

Limited Edition cassette of 250 Sold Out.