Wolf Scarers are Simon Prince and Keith Jafrate, both playing tenor saxophones, with Simon also playing flutes and Keith also playing alto saxophone. They’ve known each other for years but had never played together until, after appearing on the same bill at Huddersfield’s Inclusive Improv in 2010, it occured to Simon to suggest some duets. So they got together at Oldham Music Centre and disturbed the neighbourhood for a few Fridays, and Wolf Scarers emerged. Both Simon and Keith have played all sorts of music in the past, and you can hear this in their improvisations, that swerve from gentle meditations that almost become chamber music across to full-blown shout-ups in the true tenor tradition, via, possibly, messed-up marching band funk and deconstructed jazz strut.
The Noise Upstairs released their first CD in 2011. Recorded in perfomance in Manchester and Sheffield, Throat consists of four improvisations that travel seamlessly through different moods and atmospheres, but always passionately. The gorgeous cover art is by Angela Guyton.
“Full-bodied free jazz saxophone honk-a-ma-thon from Wolf Scarers, who are the duo of Keith Jafrate and Simon Prince. On Throat they both wield tenors like two Scots kings fighting with claymores, although Jafrate has an alto sax sellotaped to his midriff and Prince has a couple of flutes secreted in his enormous boots. Both these English hooters are long-established as musicians, but they never played together until relatively recently when they shared a bill at a Huddersfield music festival. I’m surprised to learn that, as they seem very comfortable with one another, their brass members locking together as perfectly as the antlers of two rutting stags, each one knowing instinctively when to offer support and proppage to his partner’s wilder flights of pufferment and zany toots. They don’t rely heavily on attention-getting over-blowing effects, and both have a facility with playing clear melodic passages and well-controlled quieter segments that contrast nicely with the more raucous and growly interludes. Listeners are especially advised to note the 27-minute marathon ‘Flagstone’, a highly sustained and accomplished piece of improvisation that flows and seesaws in flawless acrobatic fashion. As you can see the cover art promises plenty blood, broken glass and maybe even bare teeth, and while Wolf Scarers are not quite as all-out violent as that, this is a hot little baked potato.”
Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector
Downloads of Throat can also be purchased at our bandcamp site (though you can listen online for free).