The Necks

Chris Abrahams, piano
Tony Buck, drums, percussion
Lloyd Swanton, double bass

The Australian trio The Necks is among the most advanced improvised music formations to encounter. Especially in Berlin, the exceedingly fertile turf of real-time music, which was established in the 1990s. What pianist Chris Abrahams, drummer Tony Buck and bassist Lloyd Swanton conjure on stage can hardly be described in words. Their music is hypnotizing; the audience perceives the hour-long works as a labyrinth-like, never-ending dream. The seeming simplicity of their music is based on a process in which a complex sound carpet gradually unfolds from a single musical entity both continuously and sometimes barely noticeably until it peaks at the highest intensity. They captivate the listeners every moment they play with the charming groove that accompanies it. Neither entirely avant-garde nor minimal, neither ambient nor solely experimental jazz: The Necks’ music is an exception, a jewel in contemporary music.

Chris Abrahams, piano, was born in Oamaru, New Zealand but grew up in Sydney, Australia. He became very active in the Sydney jazz scene in the early eighties playing with modern jazz groups including Mark Simmonds’ Freeboppers and The Keys Music Orchestra. With Lloyd Swanton he formed the 60’s modern jazz-influenced The Benders in 1982. During its day, the band released three albums - E, False Laughter and Distance. In 1984 Chris recorded and released his first solo piano album, “Piano”, followed in 1986 by “Walk”. In 1985 Chris became a founding member of the Sydney indie rock band The Sparklers. As a result of this, Chris began working regularly with the singer and songwriter Melanie Oxley. Chris collaborated with Melanie, writing songs and producing albums, throughout the nineties. There are five releases with her: “Resisting Calm” (1990), “Welcome to Violet” (1992), “Coal” (1994), “Jerusalem Bay” (1998) and “Blood Oranges” (2003). Chris released a third solo piano album, “Glow”, in 2001. This was followed in 2003 by “Streaming”, and then “Thrown” (2004), “Play Scar” (2010) and “Memory Night” (2013). Chris has collaborated, in both recording and performance, with many contemporary improvising musicians including Burkhard Beins, Mike Cooper and Anthony Pateras. He performs regularly in the improvising music scenes both in Australia and Europe.

Tony Buck, drums and percussion, born in Sydney in 1962, is regarded as one of Australia's most creative and adventurous exports, with vast experience across the globe. He has been involved in a highly diverse array of projects. Apart from The Necks, he is probably best known as leader of hardcore/impro band PERIL. Early in his musical life, after having graduated from the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, he became very involved in the jazz scene in Australia, often touring with visiting international artists such as Vincent Herring, Clifford Jordan, Mickey Tucker, Branford Marsalis and Ernie Watts, as well as Australians Mark Simmonds, Paul Grabowsky, The catholics, Sandy Evans and Dale Barlow. Following time spent in Japan, where he formed PERIL with Otomo Yoshihide and Kato Hideki, Tony moved to Europe, and has involved himself in many projects there, including the development of new "virtual" MIDI controllers at STEIM in Amsterdam. Tony has played, toured or recorded with, among others, Jon Rose, Nicolas Collins, Tenko, John Zorn, Tom Cora, Phil Minton, Haino, Switchbox, The Machine for Making Sense, Ne Zhdall, The EX, Peter Brötzmann, Hans Reichel, The Little Red Spiders, Subrito Roy Chowdury, Clifford Jordan, Kletka Red, Han Bennink, Shelley Hirsch, Wayne Horvitz, Palinckx, and Ground Zero.

Lloyd Swanton, described by Billboard Magazine as "an outstanding and imaginative Australian bassist and composer", was born into a large and musical family in Sydney in 1960. His long-running group, The catholics, has released eight albums, all produced and predominantly composed by him, with three receiving ARIA Award nominations. Their album Simple was nominated for the German Deutsche Schallplattenkritik Award. His 12-part suite “Ambon”, drawing from his Uncle Stuart's secret diary kept whilst a prisoner of war in World War II, had its premiere in 2015, and is now released as a double CD. Overseas exposure in nearly 40 countries with numerous groups includes countless performances throughout Europe, Canada, the USA, Mexico, India, Cuba, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan. For fourteen years, Lloyd Swanton hosted “Mixed Marriage”, a very popular radio program which examined crossings of jazz with other musical styles, on Eastside Radio in Sydney. In his spare time, Lloyd is an avid follower of Australian Football, and a keen collector of Australian Aboriginal art, ice crushers, modernist ceramics, and books on Fellini. He is also gathering historical information on his distant ancestor Theodore Deck, a leading name in 19th Century French ceramics.

As of February 2018

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