Charlotte Keeffe

Right Here, Right Now.

You are a precious collaboration.

Pieces, journeys, stories... 

Right Here, Right Now. 

You are full of improvisations. 

A mantra. A practise. 

Exploring. Feeling. Listening. 

Expressing. 

Feeling. 

Listening

Breathe, Right Here, Right Now. 

You are a way of being.

Making music. 

Right Here, Right Now. 

You are full of connections and connecting... 

Right Here, Right Now. 

You have captured my past; 

melodies and compositions I wrote as a teenager, 

my 1st freely improvised trumpet solo, 

my 1st conduction. Breathe. 

You are full of my intentions and un-intentions.

You are raw and fragile. 

Right Here, Right Now.

You are when my trumpet seems to play itself. 

You are as it is. 

Let it be. 

Be, be. 

Right Here, Right Now. 

Breathe.

Creative Freedom For All.  

 

Charlotte Keeffe 

Charlotte Keeffe: Right Here, Right Now, interview by Bill Shoemaker for

Point of Departure - CLICK HERE

Visual Artist Gina Southgate interviews trumpeters/bandleaders

Sheila Maurice-Grey and Charlotte Keeffe - CLICK HERE

Right Here, Right Now - Solo, Duo, Quartet and Large Ensemble Music

by Charlotte Keeffe, out now on Discus Music - CLICK HERE

British trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe expands her work in more ways than one. Moving from solo to duo to quartets to large ensemble she retains a strong identity. Her full-bodied broad tone and stealthy phrasing are effective regardless of the changes in instrumentation and stimulus provided by her wide range of accompanists, and first and foremost Keeffe shows notable strength of character as she runs the sonic and emotional gamut. Her harmonising with the steely vibrations of guitar and discreet yet penetrating drums and bass on "1200 Photographs" makes for a very impressive overture from which Keeffe builds steadily, becoming intensely lyrical on several intimate laments, and uncompromisingly adventurous on "NoizeMaschin!" where her amalgamations of agitated breath and scrambling tone make for an enticing timbral landscape. Yet as much as Keeffe and all her accompanists thrive on compositions in which the onus is on a kind of detailed finger-painting-voice-printing of sounds, they also handle well situations which call for fewer notes are more largo lines, as is the case on the mysterioso atmosphere of the title track which sees the distinctively ashen and atomising vocals of Phil Minton and Maggie Nicols come forcefully into play. - Kevin Le Gendre, JAZZWISE

Improvising trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe is an extremely versatile and active player; she leads her own quartet, is one of the main organisers of the Mopomoso sessions of improvised music that take place at The Vortex and more recently online. A key figure in the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO), she is much in demand a soloist with various improvising groups, for example Andrew Woodhead’s group of improvisers and bellringers that has recently recorded the Pendulums album. This album is in essence a showcase for her various projects; we have three tracks with her quartet recorded live at a Jazz at The Cockpit session, three tracks with the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO) and three smaller scale tracks that feature Charlotte solo or in a duo setting with guitarist Diego Sampieri.  The quartet sessions are particularly impressive with their movement between composed sections and freely improvised passages.  Each member of the quartet, Moss Freed on guitar, Ashley John Long on double bass, and Ben Handysides on drums has the ability to move between structure and freedom thereby creating constantly evolving pieces.  This is definitely one of the ways forward for jazz and improvised music.  Charlotte Keeffe is a player of great imagination and sensitivity.  The solo and duo pieces show both these aspects of her playing.  OM, the duo with Diego Sampieri, is particularly poignant, and The Melody’s In The Post, a solo trumpet and flugelhorn piece inspired by a melody of Alicia Gardener-Trejo’s, makes effective use of electronics. Charlotte’s imagination is also to the fore in the three improvisations with the LIO.  These tracks are built around the unique and wonderful textures that a large group of improvisers create when improvising together.  Mysterious Breath is a track for 36 improvisers which features her improvising, largely with her trumpet mouthpiece, To Steve Beresford for a smaller group of 18 improvisers is a conduction led by Charlotte as is Right Here, Right Now, for 29 improvisers,  This album with its huge variety has captured very effectively the impressive range of Charlotte Keeffe’s activities.

Tony Dudley-Evans, LONDON JAZZ NEWS

'So many different atmospheres and structures to mindfully explore: Right Here, Right Now is just beautiful and captivating!'

BEST OF JAZZ

This summer prolific English improvising trumpeter and composer Charlotte Keeffe released her latest album Right Here, Right Now. Lavishly showcasing her accomplishment and versatility, there are nine tracks in all: three have her soloing or in duo; three in her eponymous quartet; and three have Keeffe demonstrating what a great team-player she is in the highly respected London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO). Thus, all in all, this is somewhat of a patchwork quilt of an album. Over the years Keeffe has been active in numerous quality projects and bands, as leader or collaborator, some of the highlights (for this writer) being Andrew Woodhead’s recent Pendulums, Calum Gourlays’ Big Band and last but not least her role as the Musician in Goblin Theatre’s children’s production, The Legend of the Jazz Penguin. A mover and shaker in improvisation circles such as LIO, Lonely Impulse Collective and Mopomoso, Keefe also finds time to serve as Improvised Music Trumpet Professor at London Performing Academy of Music.  Of the solo/ duo tracks on Right Here, Right Now, second track OM stands out. A duo with guitarist Diego Sampiri, it begins almost like a relaxation track, but when, with barely summoned energy the trumpet enters, followed by snatches of voice and glimpses of other instrumentation, it becomes almost a sonic depiction of heart-break.  The Melody’s in the Post (solo trumpet and flugelhorn) packs a lot of interest into its two and a half minutes, while Noizemaschin’s sputtering trumpet fed through echo chamber is a creative delight. Keeffe’s quartet likewise has a confident and evolved sound, the band members seeming secure with each other. In opening track 1200 Photographs Keeffe’s trumpet is lyrical and strong, while Frisellian electric guitar segues gorgeously with double bass scrags and perfectly placed drum kit interpolations. Sweet, Corn’s chutzpah, pleasing unison trumpet and guitar and bluesy feel leave one wanting more, while in penultimate track, A Horse Named Galaxy, Keefe’s burnished tones truly glow. But perhaps most interesting of all are the LIO tracks.  While sometimes gently dominating the proceedings, Keeffe also demonstrates an exquisite sensitivity to the whole Orchestra: no mean feat when there are between 18 and 36 players on these three tracks. In Mysterious Breath/ This One’s For The Bees… the orchestra creates a mildly unsettling ambience with multiple textures within which Keeffe wrings not just bee-noise but multiple timbres, such is her expertise in extended technique. Some heavy electronics add interest, as does the sound of someone, overwrought, slumping across their car horn. (OK I know, but that’s what it evoked in this listener). Meanwhile To Steve Beresford has some hugely fun, Sun Ra-style galumphing and demonstrates that Keeffe is just as happy to contribute judicious chirps and parps as to command the spotlight. The final, title track confirms this, and stands out with its didgeridoo-like sounds at opening and “right here, right now!” exhortations, an emphatic declaration of Keeffe’s passion for improvisation. Right Here, Right Now showcases a highly authoritative voice which can also show tremendous delicacy. A colourful patchwork quilt of an album, this is music that will help keep the circulation moving over the winter, especially for those of us who are energized by improvisation.

Fiona Mactaggart, Jazz in Europe.

I looked forward to the compilation of Charlotte Keeffe’s own music with a quartet including guitar, double bass and drums recorded live at the Cockpit Theatre Jazz in the Round in 2019, a large ensemble, the mighty London Improvisers’ Orchestra on three tracks- quite magnificent- bees are suggested as the title implies on the tremulous first piece; the second, ‘To Steve Beresford’ a ‘conduction’ i.e. spontaneously created structures and textures, the sudden silence on 3:30 is stunning, as ‘bass’ sounds such as tuba make way for rippling piano, almost breaking into honky-tonk (!), and woodwinds, an intriguing, teasing piece with growling brass having the final say; the flutes and trumpet doing a marvellous dance, on the third, in Stravinsky territory perhaps, with a spoken mantra at the end; and one duo free improvisation with guitar (‘OM’) - ethereal harmonics and sensitive playing by Keeffe that marks her out as a top contemporary jazz musician- and a 5 minute live free improvisation. ‘Right Here, Right Now’ is the title of the Discus 107 CD. The quartet recordings are snappy, well-structured and played, four minute pieces with dreamy, lingering trumpet notes with repeated motif followed by mazy runs, mercurial guitars and flailing, swishing drums, rocking out on the second. The influence of John McLaughlin seems obvious on guitarist Moss Freed- a whole album of this please!

– Phil Jackson, ACID DRAGON

Right Here, Right Now collects together pieces by trumpet / flugelhorn player Charlotte Keeffe in various different formations – solo with electronics; in a duo with Diego Sampieri (guitar); in the Charlotte Keeffe quartet with Moss Freed (guitar), Ben Handysides (drums) and Ashley John Long (double bass). We also hear Keeffe’s work composing for the London Improvisers Orchestra on three adventurous and frequently unpredictable, playful pieces. The result is a collection that draws out an immediacy of playing and an adaptable, varied tone. The pieces she conducted for the London Improvisers Orchestra veer from intricate, scratchy electronics, howling bells and ominous voices (‘Mysterious Breath / This One’s For The Bees…’) to the joyfully chaotic, cataclysmically euphoric nod to Orchestra stalwart and Flying Lizard par excellence Steve Beresford (‘To Steve Beresford’). Quartet pieces like ‘Sweet, Corn’ are full of enticing energy, the interplay of the rhythm section and Keeffe’s wild, urgent playing reaching several crescendos before pivoting toward hook-y melodies and finally into squalling, beautiful noise. A more contemplative tone can be heard on the pretty ‘A Horse Named Galaxy’, even as Handysides’ drumming seems hellbent on upending the piece toward messier territory. Whether in her quartet or in a duo with Sampieri, you can hear a perfect unity between Keeffe and guitarists, leading to some genuinely breathtaking, intertwined melodic runs on the gentle, captivating ‘OM’ in particular. Another dimension to Keeffe’s all-encompassing approach can be heard on the two solo pieces. Here we find Keeffe subjecting her trumpet and flugelhorn to a series of electronic processes, showcasing yet another side to her playing completely. ‘The Melody’s In The Post’ (inspired by a melody by Alicia Gardener-Trejo) finds her horns fading in and out over a bed of restless, itchy static that sounds like an after-hours Radiophonic Workshop for an astral jazz documentary that sadly never was. Something similar occurs on ‘Noizemaschin!!’, taken from Keeffe’s first live improvised solo set in 2017. Somewhat more restrained in its processing than ‘The Melody’s In The Post’, ‘Noizemaschin!!’ instead relies on washes of reverb and stuttering, chattering, inchoate passages interspersed with rapid note clusters, leading to a ghostly, atmospheric otherworldliness.

- Mat Smith, FURTHER

Over the past couple of years we’ve been listing dozens of discs from the UK-based Discus label, which is run by Martin Archer. The label has recently passed the 100 mark of releases and what amazes me is the consistency and diversity of all of the discs that myself and Darren B have reviewed. The other thing that amazes me is how well everything is recorded and how many little known British musicians that they’ve introduced us to. Which brings us to Ms. Charlotte Keeffe, trumpeter, flugelhornist and composer. I hadn’t heard of Ms. Keeffe before the past year when she appeared on two Martin Archer CD’s as well as a quartet led by Alex Ward (rel on Relative Pitch). This disc ranges from solos to duo to a quartet and the London Improvers Orchestra. It turns out that this disc is Charlotte Keeffe’s first release as a leader and it includes her first freely improvised trumpet solo and her first conduction. Several pieces feature Ms. Keeffe’s quartet with Moss Freed on guitar, Ashley John Long (Dunmall collaborator) on double bass and Ben Handysides on drums. The quartet kicks things off with “1200 Photographs”, a tightly played, impressive piece with organically written (skeletal) and free sections well integrated. The second piece is an improvised duo for trumpet and electric guitar (Diego Sampieri), it is spacious, eerie and carefully played. Plus it sounds like a continuation (vibe-wise) from the first piece. “Mysterious Breath” is the first of three pieces featuring the massive London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO), who play regular gigs in London and have many discs out on the Emanem label. The LIO members can range anywhere from 15 to 40 musicians. Ms. Keeffe is a member of the 40+ piece orchestra on “Mysterious Breath”, which sounds like someone is directing the massive ensemble. “Sweet Corn” features the quartet live and it is an impressive, tight, quick, flash of exciting ensemble playing. The second piece for LIO, “To Steve Beresford’ is intense, focused improv at its best. Mr. Beresford takes a wonderful, humorous, in between categories piano solo midway which is another highlight. “Noizemaschin!!” is for solo, improvised trumpet with some effects. It is nice to hear some strong close-mic’d trumpet weirdness from an under-recognized talent. “A Horse Named Galaxy” is played by Ms. Keeffe’s quartet and it has a melody which one could hum or whistle yet there is nothing cheesy about it, showing a much different side to Ms. Keeffe’s writing. The final piece, the title track, is a longer excursion for the LIO with Ms. Keeffe conducting. This piece buzzes, floats, creating a dream-like vibe which organically shifts through different connected sections. Like everything we’ve heard on Discus, this is a winner which sounds great on many levels.

- Bruce Lee Gallanter, NEW YORK'S DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY

Wandering trumpeter and member of the extended London Improvisers Orchestra, Charlotte Keeffe‘s first solo album finds here drawing together various facets of her abilities, ranging from her solo trumpet improvisation via her jazz quartet recordings through to the sprawling conduction of the pieces she has arranged for the LIO. What holds all these disparate pieces together is Charlotte’s shining love of the trumpet and the mysterious roads down which she finds herself winding.  The album opens with the quartet: Moss Freed on guitar, Ben Handysides on drums and Ashley John Long on double bass. Their fizzing blend of melancholy with sharp stabs of staccato guitar finds the trumpet looking back at old memories. The pieces sound live, with scraps of percussion and bass sketching in the corners, filling in the blanks. They are as much about thought as sound and you can feel the projection between them as the rimshots scatter.  It is subtle in places, nuanced; but when the circular rhythm of “Sweet Corn” hits, it just carries you away, with the trumpet second guessing where next to go. At times, the guitar reflects Django Reinhardt back on a bed of hurried rhythm and smooth supple trumpet, the sweet and sunny disposition warmed by the burr of bass. The pieces with the LIO are far more random. “Mysterious Breath / This One’s For The Bees” is like a storm in a forest, all those little sounds unseen and hidden away. There are the best part of forty players beavering away here, but the overall sensation is that of generous space and patience. Moonlight hovers above with electronics a distant drone, groups of birds cackle in branches as the players take it in turns to colour in the monochrome surroundings. A tuba plums the depths on “To Steve Beresford” as a gang of miscreants make their laughing way home, uproar in the streets, hiding behind dustbins and hedges.  Elsewhere, Charlotte goes it alone on the brief improv “The Melody’s In The Post”, which sounds as though it were recorded in a lead-lined bunker, the trumpet dripping with perspiration, while “Noizemaschin” has many languid voices, a low rasp or a distant groan rising to the sound of Miles Davis suffocating Herb Alpert. You feel she is reminding herself of things in the past but dragging them barrelling into the future.  Her capabilities with trumpet and flugelhorn are widespread and evoke all sorts of jazzy odysseys, but with the assistance of guitarist Diego Sampieri, we find ourselves lying back against sand dunes, wind just stirring the long grass with the last rays of evening sun casting a golden glow. It is that warm fuzzy feeling that only a trumpet can conjure; part heartache, part joy. This album has it all and leaves no doubts at all.

- Mr Olivetti, FREQ

Trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe is a passionate musician operating in the contexts of improvisation, experimental music and jazz in the UK. So far you can know her from her collaboration with the Mopomoso Workshop Group, the London Improvisers Orchestra and Martin Archer’s  Anthropology Ensemble.    Recently she made noteworthy contributions to another project of Martin Archer, the ‘Hi-Res Heart’ album. This performance makes her debut album a logical and hoped-for next step. The nine works on ‘Right here, right now’ give a nice overview of her activity. The CD counts two solo improvisations and one duo improvisation with Diego Sampieri on guitar. Three live recordings of her quartet with Moss Freed (guitar), Ben Handysides (drums) and Ashley John Long (double bass) is presented. Also, the CD offers two improvisations with the London Improvisers Orchestra. In both solo improvisations ‘The Melody’s In The Post’, ‘Noizemaschin!!’ practises live electronic treatment. In ‘Noizemaschin’ she plays with reverb, and ‘The Melody’s In The Post’ embed her playing in a surreal environment. The duo improvisation ‘Om’ with Sampieri is an impressive melodic and ethereal improvisation demonstration fine interplay between the two. Very captivating. The three improvisations by her quartet give an impression of what her quartet is about. Melody-based improvisations that sound very fresh and engaging, with fine playing by Freed on electric guitar.  The London Improvisers Orchestra is a large ensemble focused on free and conducted improvisation. On ‘To Steve Beresford’ and the title track, Keeffe is listed for ‘conduction’, meaning directing and conducting the ensemble. In the case of the title track, this results in a spaced-out improvisation going through different sections. ‘Mysterious Breath/This One’s For The Beas’ has muted trumpet playing by Keeffe in a sound exploration with the involvement of many musicians, plus an important role for electronics, more than in the other two improvisations from this impressive collective. The album offers a varied collection of adventurous improvisations in different constellations. Underlining that Keeffe is a multi-sided, very inventive and inspired musician.

- Dolf Mulder, VITAL WEEKLY

The explicit and declared position about the ephemeral situativity – here and now – of improvisational practice is the title of this project by trumpeter (and fluglist) Charlotte Keeffe that reaps the fruits of several live and studio musical performances between 2016 and 2019.  Between modern jazz, avant-garde and free improvisation, the album offers different sound atmospheres, whose variety, held together consistently by the protagonist of the album, is also functioning by the different type of formations with which the trumpeter engages, who shows to be at ease in the most different situations: dialoguing with the guitar of Diego Sampieri (OM),interacting with electronics (The Melody's In The Post and Noizemaschin!!, engaging in interplay with the quartet formed together with Moss Freed on guitar, Ben Handysides on drums and Ashley John Long on double bass (200 Photographs, A Horse Named Galaxy and Sweet, Corn)and, finally, "conducting" the improvisation of the London Improvisers Orchestra (Breath / This One's For The Bees... , To Steve Beresford, Right Here, Right Now).  The pieces of the quartet, built around the idea of the theme and then developed through a skilful recourse to improvisational interplay, are the ones I prefer; but also the collective improvisation with the London orchestra offers interesting moments, although they are inevitably more bound to the (past) improvisational situation and less suitable for fixing in a recording. Overall, it is an interesting compilation, which has the merit of presenting the different facets of a quality musician.

- A G Bertinetto, KATHODIK

A comparatively new figure on the London music scene, trumpeter and flugelhorn player Charlotte Keeffe first came to the attention of many London musicians when, not long after achieving her M.Mus. degree, she was an early attendee at the weekly Mopomoso workshop that was set up by the late great guitarist John Russell, in the summer of 2016. Although she was soon a lynchpin of the workshop, Keeffe was often absent as she was involved in an impressively eclectic range of other musical activities. Despite her ability to turn her hand to many styles, it was soon apparent that jazz, improv and experimental music were her favourites and fortes. It was not long until Keeffe was a member of the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO), not just featured as a player but also as a leader of conductions. In addition to solo performances, she was soon recruited by none other than clarinettist and guitarist Alex Ward to be a key member of his groupings Item 4 and Item 10, impressive given Ward's eye for talented bandmates. She also formed her own foursome, the Charlotte Keeffe Quartet (CKQ) which gave a sell-out performance at the 2019 Lancaster Jazz Festival. With so much musical activity in her life, it is not surprising that this album, Right Here, Right Now — her second appearance on Martin Archer's Discus label — should be a compilation of nine tracks from 2016 to 2019 which include two solo pieces, one trumpet/guitar duo improvisation, three CKQ Keeffe-composed pieces and three LIO conductions; along the way, those tracks include milestones such as melodies and compositions Keeffe wrote as a teenager, her first freely improvised trumpet solo and her first LIO conduction. In the wrong hands, such diversity could easily have become an incoherent pot pourri of contrasting, or even conflicting, styles. To the credit of Keeffe and the other musicians here, that does not happen. At root, the reason is clear and simple; Keeffe's own playing runs through the entire album like a golden thread, providing a clear reference point and a coherent vision. The message is plain and simple: Keeffe has arrived and she is going to be around for a very long time; yes, she is one to watch out for...

- John Eyles, SQUID'S EAR