The Band

Canada’s pioneering free-improvisation band, with roots in the 1970s, world-travelled in its various formations, CCMC today consists of founding member Michael Snow (piano and synthesizer), John Oswald (alto sax), Paul Dutton (soundsinging and harmonica), and John Kamevaar (percussion and electronics). Committed to exploration and innovation, the quartet draws on a broad range of musical styles but conforms to none. Process takes precedence and form evolves organically in a shifting tapestry of textures and timbres, with dense layerings set off by moments of meditative calm, with idiom-tinted strains transmuting into passages of raucous cacophony.

The initials CCMC have no fixed meaning, fittingly enough for a Continually Concocting Musical Crew.”                                                                                                                            —Carl Wilson, Globe & Mail

“. . . a particular treat . . . a refreshing sense of denseness and vigor . . .  Mad stride, growl-howled vocals, and cascading sax lines add to the sense of boldness.”                              —Michael Rosenstein, Cadence

“CCMC’s improvising . . . is vivid and alive and powerful.”                             — Richard Cook, The Wire

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Michael Snow, John Oswald, John Kamevaar, Paul Dutton                     [Photo: Mani Mazinani] [click on photo for hi-res]

The Players

MICHAEL SNOW (piano, synthesizer). A founding member of CCMC, Snow is a world-renowned visual artist with a distinguished parallel career in music. He played in the ’50s with jazz greats like Jimmy Rushing and Cootie Williams, led his own extended improv groups in the’50s and ’60s, still performs solo piano in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and has issued many recordings.

JOHN OSWALD (alto sax). World-famous composer and plunderphonic maestro, Oswald has also maintained a career-long improvisatory focus for over thirty years, both as a saxophonist and a contact dancer. He has performed on four continents and can be heard on dozens of recordings as soloist, featured guest, and band member.

JOHN KAMEVAAR (percussion, electronics). Sound artist, visual artist, and musician, Kamevaar first played in CCMC in the ’80s and early ’90s, touring internationally and recording with the band. Between 1987 and 1991, he gave concerts and made six recordings with the industrial-ambient-noise trio Kaiser Nietzsche and produced soundtracks for feature-length art films.

PAUL DUTTON (soundsinging, harmonica). Ranked among the world’s leading exponents of oral sound art, Dutton has toured extensively across the Americas and Europe, and has released five solo sound recordings. One of The Four Horsemen poetry and voice-improv group (1970–88), he has collaborated with Phil Minton, Lee Ranaldo, Jaap Blonk, R. Murray Schafer, and many others.

Available Recordings


Decisive Moments (1994) – click to purchase CD

The early-’90s edition of CCMC in a selection of their favourites from the regular concerts they gave at the Music Gallery when they were Dutton, Kamevaar, Al Mattes, Snow, Jack Vorvis, and frequent guest (here, on one track) John Oswald.


  m-1Accomplices (1998) – click to purchase CD

The trio phase of CCMC (Snow, Oswald, and Dutton), with choice performances at their Music Gallery house-band home base and at three international festivals: Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Toronto’s Downtown duMaurier Jazz Festival, and Festival de la Création in Jonquière. Five musical transgressions conjoined by seamless Oswald-engineered break-and-enter segues.

m-2CCMC & Christian Marclay (2002) – click to purchase CD

Two hours of rivetting free-improvisation by four world-renowned sound artists—Snow, Oswald, and Dutton in perfect-fit company with pioneering turntablist and visual-arts icon Christian Marclay. A CD apiece for each of two concerts performed in Toronto and New York in 2000 and 2001, respectively.



CCMC Play at Double Double (2011) – click to purchase audiocassette

Snow switched from piano to analogue synth for this CCMC concert with Dutton and Oswald at Toronto’s Double Double Land, in an all-untempered outpouring of the band’s patented high=grade free improvisation. Available in audiocassette only.