AMM (Eddie Prévost, Keith Rowe & John Tilbury)

International House

1414 East 59th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637

First Chicago concert since 1996 by the legendary trio of British improvisers.

Prévost also joins reedist Ken Vandermark and percussionist Michael Zerang for a set on Friday, April 13, and Rowe performs solo on Saturday, April 14. These two performances are at Odum.

Eddie Prévost (b.1942, Hitchin, England) is a drummer and percussionist. An important figure in the history of free improvisation, Prévost began as a jazz drummer before branching out into entirely improvised music. He is a co-founder of the group AMM.

In 1965, along with tenor saxophonist Lou Gare, bassist Lawrence Sheaff and guitarist Keith Rowe, Prévost made a radical break with jazz, a music that had inspired these English musicians but couldn’t accommodate their rapidly expanding aesthetic concerns. Their dedicated inquiry into the terms of spontaneous creativity led them to reinvent music as a dialogue with the world beyond the limits of conventional musical discourse. They formed AMM, soon to be joined by distinguished composer Cornelius Cardew, an improvisation ensemble that has exerted influence internationally across a wide range of kinds of music, from contemporary composition to psychedelic rock, ambient soundscapes and industrial noise. In 1968 American composer Christian Wolff spent his year in London as a member of AMM.

In the course of AMM’s rigorous scrutiny of music’s internal and external relations and of sound itself, Prévost revised his understanding of the nature and potential of percussion. He bowed cymbals, used drums as resonant amplifying “sound boxes,” incorporated found objects into a growing battery of percussive elements. In addition to making music Prévost lectures, writes, edits and publishes. His writings about the aesthetic priority of improvisation have appeared in numerous arts and music magazines. He runs the imprint Matchless Recordings and its print offshoot Copula, which has published Prévost’s own book of essays, No Sound Is Innocent.

Keith Rowe (b.1940, Plymouth, England) is a free improvisation tabletop guitarist and painter. In the mid-1960s, after years of playing jazz, he began to develop his own idiosyncratic techniques, setting the instrument flat on a table and preparing it with various tools: transistor radio, contact microphones, pedals, bows, springs, electronic fans and various metal scraps. Deeply affected by artists Rothko and Pollock and the music of John Cage, he is co-founder AMM. His legendary work has influenced a rising generation of electroacoustic improvisers. He lives in Nantes, France.

John Tilbury (b.1936, England) is a British pianist. He studied piano at the Royal College of Music with Arthur Alexander and James Gibb and also with Zbigniew Drzewiecki in Warsaw. In 1968, he was the winner of the Gaudeamus competition in the Netherlands. He is considered one of the foremost interpreters of Morton Feldman’s music, and since 1980 has been a member of AMM. During the 1960s, Tilbury was closely associated with the composer Cornelius Cardew, whose music he has interpreted and recorded and a member of the Scratch Orchestra.