tHE SPonTANeoUS CoSMic RAwXtra

Chicago-London Vibration – A Celebration of the AACM at 50 – workshop.

35-47 Bethnal Green Road
E1 6LA

£20 + Booking fee  BUY TICKETS.

An opportunity for adult vocalists, wind and brass players to workshop material with Orphy Robinson, renowned vibraphonist and multi-instrumentalist, composer and music educator – then join the mighty SPonTANeoUS CosMic RAwkXtRA to perform their new work in the afternoon’s concert. If you’re interested in learning more about free jazz, improvisation,  and conduction techniques, this is for you.

For adults (18+) who can play to ABRSM Grade 5 standard; wind, brass and vocals only. Please advise Box Office of your instrument when booking. Tickets include entry to the workshop and 2pm gig

This is the second of  three distinct events to celebrate this legacy taking place on Saturday 14 November at the EFG London Jazz Festival.

11.00am  – Workshop

2:00pm – Concert

4.30pm – Free Panel Discussion

Tags: Chicago-London vibration, AACM, workshop, Orphy Robinson, SPonTANeoUS CosMic RAwkXtRA…



Major Successful debut Concert of The Spontaneous Cosmic Rawkxtra…Kings Place..

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And then… And then I saw the wonderful maelstrom that is tHE SponTANeoUS CosMic RawXtra [sic!] at Kings Place, a pretty smart new venue. The low point: the number of people who turned out not enough, and this music deserved a lot more attention. The high point: ninety minutes of captivating orchestrated improvisation. This was brilliant and exciting music, several steps up from LJO (which doesn’t detract from the LJO at all!). The Cosmic Rawxtra were heavenly.
Taking his lead from the extraterrestrial meanderings of Sun Ra (the only jazz musician from Saturn. Apparently), Orphy Robinson curated the Rawxtra incorporating bits of Ellingtonia (a slowed-down version of the riff from Blue Pepper played on flute and bass clarinet set again furious double- or triple-time drums and percussion) and segments of modern jazz (another piece seemed to be based around the ubiquitous bass theme from A Love Supreme).
I recognised two Sun Ra numbers – Love In Outer Space and Space Is The Place, but these were arranged to fit the Rawxtra’s unique sound. Cleveland Watkiss scat singing was excellent (happy birthday, Cleveland! – I don’t like jazz singing, generally, but Cleveland was part of the band, not in front of it and HKB FiNN’s spoken words, poetry? rap? Whatever worked really well. The flutes of Rowland Sutherland and Clarinets of Shabaka Hutchins were suitably ethereal, and Brian Edwards’ tenor and Ntshuks Bonga’s alto saxes were powerful. I loved the energetic, sometimes manic but subtle vibes playing of Corey Mwamba – there was a great duet between Mwamba and Orphy Robinson on marimba. (Robinson played pocket trumpet on one number, which surprised me, it was that kind of evening!)Behind it all, Camille Hands on bass and Steve Noble on drums and random percussion (with the occasional whistle thrown in) carried the music along; there was a really funky dub number, and a lot of free-ish jazz for Noble to get behind.
This was just great music: a celebration. Wonderful!

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The SPonTANeoUS CosMic RAwXtRA is a collective of musicians who combine a rich cultural mix of sonic explorations inspired by the world of Free Jazz and Improvisation – music originally brought to the attention of the music world through the free wheeling Radical African American experience of artists such as Sun Ra, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, AACM, Eric Dolphy, Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Henry Threadgill, Charles Mingus, Lee Scratch Perry, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and Mad Professor.

A new world of no restriction to form, where the abstract and fluency of thought combined with control and variation of texture and dynamics have helped to shape the free Jazz Improvisation Diaspora.

Their concerts will feature some of the most interesting, original and influential musicians on the scene who will be infusing the proceedings with music and sounds from an Afro-Caribbean prospective and heritage as well as African and Western Classical traditions.

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To Kings Place, the apostrophe-light home of the left-leaning Guardian, the liberal-minded London Sinfonietta, and for tonight, a new free-thinking jazz ensemble. This was to be the first public
sighting of a constellation of 12 stars drawn from across the UK jazz galaxy under the curatorship of Orphy Robinson. Expectations of musical supernovae were high by virtue of their none-more-luminous name: The Spontaneous Cosmic RawXtra. Vibraphonist Robinson and vocalist Cleveland Watkiss are probably the best known names in this group, but there are some other huge talents         in there from saxophonists Ntshuks Bonga and Shabaka Hutchings (who was playing clarinet tonight) to Spring Heel Jack collaborator Pat Thomas and fiery drummer Steve Noble. Clearly they are being set up as some sort of contemporary Arkestra, but where that band merrily mines the Ellington/Henderson songbooks for its inspiration, TSCR have their roots grounded in UK club culture.
Hence Watkiss can spit drum and bass rhythms into the mic while Andrew Ward (aka HKB Finn) adds spoken word tales about late night London chasing dreams across dance floors. These roots
stretched downwards, back in time, picking up traces of In A Silent Way era-Miles and motifs from A Love Supreme, even referencing Steve Reich via some phased clapping music of their own.
The first half of the performance which Robinson conducted when Robinson switched to vibes, it seemed to free the ensemble up for some exciting extended passages of free playing. One of these ended with Bonga, Hutchings and Brian Edwards locking together in raucous reed riffage, with Watkiss almost bent double on the stage, howling his contribution.
If ever it looked like getting a little straight, Noble and Thomas were quick to hammer it back out of shape,the excellent Thomas (who I’d previously only seen on electronics) pounding out misshapen
chords while Noble assaulted an array of metal objects, gamelan, pan lids, whatever. It ended as I’m starting to think all gigs do with a gleeful performance of Sun Ra’s “Space Is The Place”, with a seemingly-reluctant horn section being pressed into vocal duties before Watkiss and Ward carried it to its home among the stars.but when the Spontaneous Cosmic RawXtra live up to the promise of their name, they can be quite stellar.


    tHE SPonTANeoUS CosMic RAwXtRA:

Orphy Robinson – Conductor/marimba/Trumpet

Cleveland Watkiss – Voc, Brian Edwards – Sax, Ntchuks Bonga – Sax,

Pat Thomas – Piano/Electronics,   Rowland Sutherland – Flutes, Shabaka Hutchins – Reeds,

Andrew Ward (HKB Finn) – Spoken Word,Percussion, Corey Mwamba – Vibes,  Camelle Hinds Bass, Steve Noble-Drums,


Extracts from the ‘Beyond the call of Duty’ suite are influenced by the following elements:

Dub = Deep Undercover Bass

Ras = Random Abstract Sonic Sounds.

Ramp = Rythmns Always Move People

Dread = Delivering Realism Energy and Drive

Bass = Bringing Ambient Symbiotic Soundscapes

One Drop = Outer National Enigmatic       Digital Random Organic Placements

P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E = Placing Oscilating Systems Including Time Intuitive Vibes EVERYWHERE

You can also visit us on the net at the following:


conducting the tscr


Cleveland Watkiss

Cleveland Watkiss was voted best vocalist in the Wire/Guardian awards three years running and there is no doubt he arrived on the scene with a bang- Hackney Gazette
Best male jazz singer in Britain – Evening Standard
The Sonny Rollins Of The Human Voice – Time Out
Wasn’t he awesome? What it takes us 6 to do he does it all by himself – Take 6
Watkiss larger than life stage presence and highly original scatting brought the band into the desired higher gear,bringing out great solos – Jazzwise
Every phrase oozes distinctive musicianship – The Stage

Pat Thomas

Pat Thomas started playing piano at the age of 8, studying classical music but with a keen interest in playing reggae. He began playing jazz at sixteen after seeing Oscar Peterson.  In 1988, he was awarded an Arts Council Jazz Bursary to write three new electro acoustic
compositions for his ten-piece ensemble.  On the festival circuit Pat Thomas has appeared at the Young Improvisors Festival
at the Korzo Theatre, Den Haag with Jim O’Rourke, Mats Gustafsson and Alexander Frangenheim, Angelica 95 in Bologna, Italy;
the Stuttgart 5th Festival of Improvised Music 96 (with Fred Frith, Shelly Hirsch,Carlos Zingaro and others), and the 3rd
International Festival 96 in Budapest (with Evan Parker, Phil Minton, John Russell and Roger Turner).  An album with Wadada Leo Smith was released in 2009.

Steve Noble

Steve Noble studied with Nigerian master drummer Elkan Ogunde and in the early 1980’s was a member of Rip Rig and Panic,
touring extensively throughout Europe and England.  Since then he has worked in a variety of musical contexts but has been
extensively involved in improvised music through work with a wide range of musicians.  Steve Noble has regularly collaborated
with The Bow Gamelan Ensemble (performance artist/musician Paul Burwell), with David Lester’s Kino Club, and with a                                range of dancers and dance groups including Katie Duck and Group O, Steve Paxton, Alessandro Certini, Julian Hamilton, Kirsty Simpson, and Mal Pelo.  He has composed original music for Alessandro Certini’s Verso Madre del Yurco (1988), Monserrat Llabres’ L’hombre del’ocelot (1991), and Mal Pelo’s Cancion Por Las Pajaros (1993), Cancion Per BernabÈ (1997), and Orache (1998).

Corey Mwamba

Corey Mwamba creates music using vibraphone, dulcimer, electronics and small instruments.  His music contains elements of
jazz, folk from different countries, and electronica.  Born in Derby, a former chemist and librarian, Corey is primarily
known as a highly creative improviser with a wide stylistic range in his own solo performances and with his collective the Symbiosis Ensemble. He has also worked as a percussionist with Derby Concert Orchestra. In 2005, his solo improvisation, ‘Three Two One’, was selected for the Freeness album set up by CDR, Chris Offili, and the Observer Music Monthly.  Corey Mwamba was selected for the Jerwood/PRS Foundation’s 2007 Take Five Initiative, a significant artist development scheme for emerging jazz musicians.  He was also nominated for the 2008 BBC Jazz Award for Innovation.

Camelle Hinds

Camelle has been one of the leading Bassist on the International scene.From the 70s Weaned on US Soul,British popular music
of the sixties, Funk, Classical and later Jazz, Camelle’s musical encounters really began playing bass with East London outfit TFB.  In 1979, Camelle founded the band Central Line, in which he was lead vocalist and bassist. The band won Cash Box’s ‘best group’ award. Central Line, acclaimed forerunners to the Brit Funk scene, successfully exported the British movement across the Atlantic with their debut album Breaking Point (Mercury Records) selling over 100,000 copies US.  After Central Line disbanded in August 84, Camelle entered a period of freelance studio and live performance as an in demand Bassist contributing to many international best selling artists including The Soul Mining, The Style Council (2 world tours 4 albums – MD Japan 88), Zeke Manyika (Call and Response), David Sylvian (vocal arrangements on Brilliant trees), Heaven 17, Jimmy Ruffin, Beggar & Co, The Kane Gang, Dee C. Lee, Junior Giscombe, Bad Boys Inc (Top 20). Through the turn of the century, Camelle took time away from a very changed music industry to consolidate his creative Industry knowledge with a Masters in Music business management and to teach on a variety of urban youth music programmes.

Brian Edwards

I started playing Saxophone 22nd September 1980, and the rest is history.

Rowland Sutherland

Flautist, composer, arranger, bandleader and educator, Rowland is well known for his work in ensembles, bands, orchestras
and as a soloist  in the worlds of classical, jazz, contemporary, non-Western and popular music.
“Flautist Rowland Sutherland has a superb sound and technique, and is undoubtedly one of the very best flautists on the
British scene.” TIME OUT.   Rowland performs in various chamber groups and adventurous ensembles including Icebreaker,
Uroboros, New Music Players, Ixion, Lontano and London Musici.

Ntshuks Bonga

Born in Johannesburg, Bonga has rapidly established a niche on the UK scene for his distinctive sound and lyrical
depth of his playing. His past and present groups: Ntshuks Bonga’s Tshisa, Ntshuks Bonga’s Tokolosho, FJQ. Collaborations:
Louis Moholo, Claude Deppa, Lucky Ranku, Robyn Hitchcock, Lydia Lunch, Maggie Nicols, Veryan Weston.

HKB fINN (Andrew Ward)

HKB FiNN aka Andrew Ward is a spoken word artist from the UK, who embodies worldly influences that are present in a
cosmopolitan city such as London.  Active is the Spoken Word and Jazz world, he’s an accomplished performer, song writer
and producer.  HKB FiNN specialises in a unique brand of alternative Hip Hop which is part Reggae, part West African,
part Jazz and has a verve rare in Hip Hop. FiNN was the former front man of UK band Katch 22 and has recorded and performed
across several genres with various groups and organisations such as The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Tunde Jegede
Ensemble, Ntoumos, Roots Manuva, Viva Sinfonia, No Jazz, Gunshot, Def Tex,, Electro Deluxe and many more. He became a soloist in 1999 and has released five critically acclaimed solo albums.

Shabaka Hutchins

Shabaka grew up in Barbados.  He studied on the Undergraduate classical course at Guildhall School of Music on clarinet.
He now performs extensively on the jazz scene with his own trio Zed-U who have released an album on Babel Records and
with the celebrated new group “The Mighty Jeddo”.  He is also a member of the London Improvisers Orchestra and has performed with
Jack Dejohnette, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra, Louis Moholo Moholo, Polar Bear,  and the Heliocentrics.