Friday 28 July 2017, 7.30pm
We're delighted to present a four-day residency with one of the greatest living UK-based improvisers - Pat Thomas. Criminally unheralded, Pat is a fearless and uncompromising player who – despite coming from a background of free improvisation and new music – can feel as close to the worlds of noise and experimental music. His performances range in approach and texture from fearsome cacophony that can sound like a piano having its guts ripped out, with Pat thumping discordant clusters of keys with his fists or rattling the exterior wooden frame; to delicately soothing passages where his fingers glide over the keys, creating microscopic tones and resonant melodies that can hold an entire sonic landscape.
The residency coincides with the release of Pat's new LP - The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari - on our own in-house OTOROKU label, which comprises four typically genre-defying and sonically dexterous pieces from one of the UK's most extraordinary pianists.
"I can't quite think of anyone else who sounds quite like this: it is in a class of its own." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
"Thomas runs the gamut of techniques, splashing clusters, weaving contrapuntal lines and building elaborate structures from the inside out. Despite their variety, they share a fundamental quality – they truly sound like spur of the moment creations, not the final draft of ideas mulled over for weeks, if not months on end." - Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure
Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill.
"Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that’s immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude." - The Jazzmann
Jazz Vocalist of the Year & Mobo Nominated: Cleveland Watkiss 2017
Internationally renowned vocalist won the London Jazz Award for Best Vocalist in 2010, and was voted Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards best vocalist for three consecutive years.
Watkiss was born in Hackney, East London, to Jamaican parents. Watkiss was one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band. His vocals can be heard on their debut album, Out of Many People.
Watkiss has performed with a diverse range of artists from around the world, including: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carlinos Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Thurston Moore, Art Blakey, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Bheki Mseleku, Fabio & Grooverider, William Parker, the James Taylor Quartet, Sly & Robbie, Nigel Kennedy, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, The Who, George Martin, Julian Joseph, Black Top, the London Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Orchestra, Cassandra Wilson, Louis Moholo, and the London Community Gospel Choir, Hamid Drake, & Project 23, Goldie. More recently, demonstrating great versatility, Cleveland was cast as the starring role in Julian Joseph’s, two groundbreaking jazz operas, Bridgetower and Shadowball, to considerable acclaim.
In June last year he performed with vibraphonist Orphy Robinson at Freedom: The Art of Improvisation Festival at The Vortex, performing their project Duke Joint. Also with a project London-Chicago Vibration in Nov’ at the London Jazz Festival, a 50th anniversary tribute to the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) led by multi-percussionist Orphy Robinson and an all-star band of UK-based improvisers including legendary drummer Louis Moholo vibist Corey Mwamba and saxophonist Jason Yarde.
Mark has worked with a host of renowned musicians including Derek Bailey, Henry Grimes, Mathew Shipp, Evan Parker, Roswell Rudd, in duo and quartets with Wadada Leo Smith and trios with Charles Gayle with Sirone and William Parker.
In situations using composition Mark works in a number of projects including Christian Marclay’s Everyday for film and live music and John Butcher’s Tarab Cuts - both projects have performed major festivals throughout Europe and Brazil. He has performed works by guitarist John Coxon in Glasgow and Sydney playing with the Scottish and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. With New York’s ICE Ensemble he has performed John Zorn’s The Tempest in London and at Huddersfield New Music Festival.
Mark also works in the groups of Paul Dunmall including Deep Whole Trio with Paul Rogers, and the ensembles of Sarah Gail Brand, including a long-standing duo. He has a lengthy discography including a solo album, has performed internationally and played at major festivals including, Nickelsdorf, Ulrichsburg, Womad and notably at Glastonbury with legendary saxophonist John Tchicai.
"ubiquitous, diverse and constantly creative, drummer Mark Sanders always outdoes himself, whether playing with restraint or erupting like a dynamo." Bruce L Gallenter, Downtown Music Gallery. NY
Steve has been a central figure in the British improvising scene for over thirty years, working with the likes of Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, Christian Marclay and, of course, Alterations.
His work with Marclay has included mixed media pieces like ‘Screen Play’, ‘Ephemera’, ‘Graffiti Composition’, ‘Shuffle’, ‘Pianorama’ and ‘Everyday’. He has also written songs, scored feature films, TV shows and commercials.
Steve has worked with hundreds of people, including The Slits, Stewart Lee, Ivor Cutler, Prince Far-I, Alan Hacker, Ray Davies, Ilan Volkov, The Flying Lizards, Otomo Yoshihide, The Portsmouth Sinfonia and John Zorn.
He has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, composer and producer, and was was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012.