CHRIS BISCOE: Reeds
ROGER TURNER: Drums
JOHN POPE: Double Bass
Cartoon is an inter-generational trio working in the fractious margins of free improvisation and modern 'cool' jazz. Quicksilver free-bop, broken abstract melody and lyrical balladry are just a few of the components this ensemble weave through our music, always with the restless sense of exploration and subversion of tradition born of the first generation of UK free improv.
Veteran improviser Roger Turner and UK jazz stalwart Chris Biscoe had been playing on-and-off as a duo since the 1960s, but had never expanded that lineup. I had long been an admirer of Roger's uncompromising improvisational style and imaginative approach to the drums, having seen him play in several combinations over the years. I was lucky enough to share a bill with him when the trio Konk Pack played at legendary Newcastle underground spot Morden Tower in 2012. Roger was very complimentary, and two years later approached Paul Bream of Jazz North East about putting together a gig where I would round out his duo with Chris. Cartoon played our first gig at Newcastle University's Kings Hall, then another gig that evening at The Sage. That day was a real roast, but the music we made had something in it.
"an extraordinary three-way conversation"
- Roger Farbey (All About Jazz)
Since then the trio has come together for further shows in the UK and undertaken a tour of Italy, as well as releasing a CD, 'Change of Meaning' on Mark Wastell's amazing Confront Recordings label in 2019 (which was something of a dream come true for me). That Italian tour also included a visit to the recording studio with a long established trio of Italian avant-garde veterans, Sergio Armaroli, Walter Prati and Giancarlo Schiaffini. Somehow we managed to drive from Trevisio to Milan, set up, go and eat an enormous dinner and then record a whole album in a single day. The resulting record, 'TrioPlusTrio' was released in October 2019 on the Dodicilune label.
Who knows what else Cartoon may get up to in the future? It's always a pleasure and an education to play with these two master musicians, even if this group doesn't get together anywhere near often enough. But whenever we do the results are always explosive!