Fathom Parts 1, 2, and 3: A Dive into Experimental Improvised Music

experimental music jazz improvisation

The Birth of 577 Records

577 Records is a Brooklyn-based label established by Italian drummer Federico Ughi. When he moved to New York, he quickly connected with veteran improviser Daniel Carter. Together, they set up a series of concerts at Ughi’s base at 577 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn. This collaboration led to the creation of a highly active record label, made possible with the support of a generous sponsor.

The label primarily focuses on the experimental side of jazz and improvised music. It has a particular interest in the UK improv scene and has released several albums from artists such as Paul Dunmall, Rachel Musson, and Pat Thomas.

John Butcher’s Debut Album: Fathom

Fathom is saxophonist John Butcher’s debut album for 577 Records. He is accompanied by pianist Pat Thomas, bass player Dominic Lash, and drummer Steve Noble. The recording took place in October 2021 at Cafe Oto in London, with Shaun Crook as the engineer. The album was mixed and mastered at Sear Sounds in NYC.

Exploring the Soundscape

Fathom Parts 1, 2, and 3 is an impressive collection of entirely improvised music. It is a continuous set that has been divided into three parts of varying lengths for release purposes. The music leans more towards improvised music rather than free jazz, with no elements of jazz language or influences from artists like Coltrane or Coleman.

The album focuses on the exploration of sounds, including the breathy tones, squeaks, and growls of the tenor and soprano saxophones that Butcher plays. The scraping of the drums and the double bass adds to the unique sonic landscape. The music evolves through a series of episodes, frequently changing direction as the musicians pick up ideas from one another.

A Fluid and Absorbing Journey

Despite its experimental nature, the music in Fathom flows exceptionally well. It often features a pulse and breaks down into solo or duo passages. Pat Thomas acts as a kind of benevolent disruptor throughout the album, sometimes guiding the music in a new direction or supporting the saxophone lines. His interaction with the bass and drums is captivating, making the entire musical experience utterly absorbing.

Fathom Parts 1, 2, and 3 was released on September 15 and is available on CD, vinyl, or digital from 577 Records Bandcamp.

About Me

I’m Dr. Miles Beaumont from the charming town of York in the UK. I’ve spent over three decades as a medical doctor, helping people and contributing to important research. I graduated from Oxford University, and ever since, I’ve devoted myself to improving the health and lives of others.

When I’m not practicing medicine, you’ll find me soaking up the world of jazz music. It’s been a passion of mine since I turned 30, and I’ve been an active part of York’s jazz scene ever since. Whether it’s going to local gigs, listening to records at home, or just enjoying the rhythmic and improvisational magic of jazz, it’s a big part of who I am.