The Rolling Calf

The Rolling Calf is a black power trio featuring vocalist Elaine Mitchener, saxophonist Jason Yarde and bassist Neil Charles. The Rolling Calf performances combine texts by revolutionary African-Disaporic thinkers with collective electroacoustic improvisation to strike a new bridgehead for the black British avant garde.

Neil Charles is a classically trained double bassist, electronic music producer and composer (BenMarc Music). He performs, records and tours with numerous jazz, classical and contemporary music groups and ensembles including Sun Ra Arkestra, Alexander Hawkins, Mingus Big Band, Pulled By Magnets (with Seb Roachford and Pete Wareham), Charles-Mitchener duo (with Elaine Mitchener), The Rolling Calf (with Mitchener and Jason Yarde), and has played with Terence Blanchard, Black Top, Shabaka Hutchings, Anthony Braxton and China Moses.

Jason Yarde is a saxophonist who has been a member of Louis Moholo-Moholo’s groups for three decades. He is one of the most sought-after musicians of his generation, and has been a member of groups led by Andrew Hill and Jack DeJohnette and has worked with Hugh Masekela, among many others. He is also a renowned arranger, producer and composer, having been widely commissioned, including by the London Symphony Orchestra. His Windrush Suite was premiered at the 2018 London Jazz Festival.

‘Ten days after their triumphant Vocal Classics performance, Mitchener, Charles and Yarde convene as The Rolling Calf trio to perform a 45 minute set at a Bleep X The Wire night in online retailer Bleep’s popup shop just around the corner from Cafe Oto. The name references a chain-rattling half man half goat creature of Jamaican folklore, and their continuous song-free improvisation underscores the musical freedom principles guiding the full ensemble’s Vocal Classics set, with each of the three breaking loose from rigid instrumental conventions, Mitchener’s ululating throatcalls as likely to provide any passage’s core riff, while Yarde variously pedals and cajoles his saxophones to speak in different voices and Charles saws, plucks and beats roaring acts of melancholy defiance from his bass. Combined with the new routes opened out of the past by their Vocal Classics colleagues ten days earlier, there’s really no holding them. Digging deep into their own history is exactly the long run-up Mitchener and her ensemble need to make their great musical leaps into the future.” Bibakopf, The Wire

Buy Digital Album
The Rolling Calf – Live at TUSK 2019