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Union Division (City University, 11 September)

This is a new live ‘venture’, set up by Moss Freed. He is developing a means of creating group improvisation for a larger-scale line-up. Of course, large improvising ensembles exist, ranging from Improvisers Orchestras in Glasgow and London through to groups associated with one person in particular at any time, such as Butch Morris’s conduction or Barry Guy’s.

Moss has developed a means of signalling within his line-up that means that different members can take the lead in moving the direction of the music. And it certainly gave a great momentum to what was achieved. There were few longueurs, as can sometimes happen in improvisations, perhaps because of the self-awareness within the formation. Somehow there seemed natural endings which meant that we had 4 sections. (I almost wrote ‘pieces’ but this is a mistake since that would, in my view, imply a beginning, a middle and and end, decided by a particular individual).

By having a group of sympathetic musicians, they avoided an anarchy or false takeover by one or other musician. Moss deserves great credit for acting as the facilitator and it will certainly continue.

While it was interesting to sometimes try and work out what was going on, I think that the best times were when one just joined in on the journey by these guys.

The line-up included many whom we know well at the Vortex.

Union Division comprised: Moss Freed (g), Elliot Galvin (p), Otto Willberg (b), Rachel Musson (ts), Chris Williams (as), Sam Eastmond, Laura Jurd (t), Rosanna Ter-Berg (f), PA Tremblay (elec), Tullis Rennie (tb), Brice Catherin (clo), James Maddren, Will Glaser (d)

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