Nick Butcher completes Free Jazz Bitmaps Vol. 1 | Bleader

Nick Butcher completes Free Jazz Bitmaps Vol. 1


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Last November I wrote about Free Jazz Bitmaps, an intriguing project of musician and designer Nick Butcher. At the time he was celebrating the release of the last of six lathe-cut seven-inch singles of sample-based music he'd created using old Chicago jazz and house records. They were handmade in ridiculously limited quantities (ten each), but Butcher wasn't really making the seven-inches to sell records: the music's most important function was to inspire improvisations (Butcher prefers the term "reinterpretations") by six of the city's best jazz players. This week the project reaches its conclusion with the release of an album collecting those improvisations along with the six tracks that inspired them. On Friday night Saki Records hosts a reception for the release of the album, called Free Jazz Bitmaps Vol. 1—produced by the superb Hometapes label—and an exhibition of related prints.

Each of the six participating musicians—saxophonist Keefe Jackson, vibist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke, percussionist Tim Daisy, bass clarinetist Jason Stein, and drummer Mike Reed—created "musical notations or scores" of their improvisations, which Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi (his girlfriend and partner in the design company Sonnenzimmer) transformed into large-scale prints, contributing some visuals of their own in the process. These prints will be part of the exhibition at Saki—it will be on view throughout May, and also includes various other posters Sonnenzimmer has produced—and also function as a sort of score for a trio set at the reception, led by bassoonist Katherine Young and also featuring Joann Cho on piano and Jenna Lyle on voice and electronics. Butcher will kick off the event with a brief spoken introduction and musical performance. Below you can check out one of Butcher's original pieces from the new album, which will be for sale on Friday. The reception runs from 6 till 9 PM.

Nick Butcher, "Implements"

Today's playlist:

Ohayo, The State We Are In (Häpna)
Bad Brains, Rock for Light (Caroline)
Stefano Bollani, Småt Småt (Label Bleu)
Michael Pisaro, Hearing Metal 2 (Gravity Wave)
Moby Grape, Moby Grape (Columbia)

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