Thursday, April 12, 2012

R.I.P. Tony Marsh

Words + Photos: Gian Paolo Galasi

Tony Marsh at the Vortex Jazz Club, Oct. 21, 2011
I heard of Tony Marsh departure a couple of days ago, via social networking. When in London, I saw him play three times, since last September through the end of October. Despite  of being actively involved in the local scene - from Visionlogic, one of his most recent projects with guitarist Tim Crowther and keyboardist Steve Franklin, to his constant presence with the London Improvisers Orchestra - it is hard to find an extended review and analysis of his music through the Internet. 

Tony Marsh started to play in the Seventies with Major Surgery, and since the Eigthies he collaborated with the likes of John Surman, Paul Rutherford, Barry Guy, Elton Dean, Harry Beckett and the Mike Westbrook Orchestra, developing through those experiences both improvisational and compositional tools, and exploring music with acoustic and electronic line ups - see the acclaimed Spring Heel Jack series on Thirsty Ear. 

Tony Marsh, Evan Parker, John Tchicai (hidden: Louis Moholo-Moholo)
I still remember a couple of performances at the Vortex Jazz Club, in duo with altoist John Tchicai and then in a second set featuring saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo (see my review here), then with one of his regular trios with Evan Parker and bassist John Edwards, with a Sonny Rollins feeling - circa East Broadway Run Down, that is to say American tenorist's Impulse! era - emanating directly from the texture of the matter, more than from the amount of notes or the sound itself. Another obliged quote are his regular performances at the club Arch 1, with saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and double bassist Guillaume Viltard. Last October 16th wasn't the first performance with the Danish altoist, while more recently Marsh played with American multi-instrumentalist and composer Roscoe Mitchell, and was developing further collaborations, as with lutist Joseph Van Wissem (it was planned for May 2, 2012 at Cafe Oto).

For a biography and discography see: 

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