They released their first full-length album at the end of last year, courtesy of Belgian label El Negocito. The band are Felicity Provan (trumpet, vocals), Seb El Zin (vocals, electronics), Mika Szafirowski (guitar), Yedo Gibson (reeds), Gerri Jäger (drums) and Luc Ex (acoustic bass guitar). The band has been receiving very positive reviews for their live performances. Such was the case with their appearance at Cerkno Jazz Festival in Slovenia, where they distinguished themselves from other rebellious free jazz groups with their multi-layered sound and unpredictable stylistic twists and turns.We’ll get a chance to hear them on 15 November.
Every member of the ensemble has a formidable musical past of their own. The Dutch-born Luc Ex started out as a taxi driver in Amsterdam. Soon he joined The Ex. He’s also a filmmaker and one of the founders of the label Konkurrent BV. Felicity Provan, haling from Melbourne,Australia, graduated university in classical, jazz an improvised music. After moving to Amsterdam in the 90s, she began performing with Sean Bergin, Han Bennink, Curtis Clark, Anne La Berge, Rajesh Mehta, Ab Baars, Michiel Braams, Corrie van Binsbergen, Ig Henneman and The Ex. She also performs with the trio KPV (with pianist Achim Kaufmann and drummer Michael Watcher), and The Royal Improvisers Orchestra.
Vocalist and guitarist Seb El Zin is the founder of ITHAK, but he gained wider recognition by working with Arto Lindsay’s ephemeral Anarchist Republic of Bzzz, together with Mark Ribot. He’s also a member of director’s Jonas Mekas’ band, Now We Are Here. Yedo Gibson, a longtime resident of São Paulo, has great experience in Brazilian music. Inspired by the noise and chaos of his home town, he began working on his own version of forró, making it less melodic, more raw and improvised.Gerri Jäger, born in Innsbruck, started playing the drums at the age of nine. After moving to Amsterdam to study, he started playing music of many genres: free jazz, alt rock and experimental electronic. Finnish guitarist Mikael Szafirowski, after years spent playing jazz, is now looking for new means of expression through improvisation, contemporary classical music and world music. He’s worked with Han Bennink, Phil Minton, Abaetetuba, Michael Moore, Veryan Weston, Ab Baars and Michael Watcher.