Pat Thomas

“I think it’s a love of good music, and also I was very lucky like I said growing up in a house where you could hear Charlie Pride, Handel, Beethoven, Lee Perry and Little Richard all at the same time. You go into one part of the room and you can hear all of this…Caribbean culture is more eclectic. When I’m in Antigua I can hear Art Tatum, Sonny Rollins, along with Soca; it’s much more varied than so-called British radio, which is very static.” – Pat Thomas

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

There is a book written by Russell Conwell entitled ‘Acres of Diamonds’ which relays the story of a farmer who, frustrated with his lot decided to sell his farm and set off in search of his fortune mining for diamonds along with hundreds of other diamond speculators. He died penniless, never having struck lucky. The ironic twist to the story is that soon after the new owner had purchased the farm, a worker discovered an object in the field, which transpired to be a diamond in the rough. On further excavation ‘acres of diamonds’ were unearthed. Astonishingly, the farmer who initially sold the farm, had in fact owned ‘free and clear’ the largest diamond mine in the entire continent!

The reason for this paraphrased story is because for the past thirty years the UK jazz and classical world have had within their midst, hidden in plain sight, the most brilliant, burnished and flawless musical diamond these shores have ever produced. Pat Thomas is his name, a virtuoso pianist and electronics guru par excellence. Although strangely STILL a relatively unknown entity in his homeland Pat is massively revered and highly respected throughout Europe, especially in Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, Hungary and Scandinavia. Michael J Edwards managed to grab some quality time with Mr Thomas at The House of St. Barnabas, prior to him taking to the stage alongside a few of his peers, performing under the moniker, London Arts Collective at Sun Ra 100, as the Sun God would have celebrated his one hundredth Earth-year this year.

Michael J Edwards: Mr Pat Thomas, it’s a pleasure to link up with you at long last! What are you first memories of music?

Pat Thomas: There was always music in the house. There’s no sort of first memories, I suppose the first sort of music would have been if you went to a certain place in our room, you’d hear Country and Western, Beethoven and Lee Perry all at the same time.

Michael J Edwards: So this was when you were growing up as a young boy?

Pat Thomas: Yes in Oxford. Music was always in the household; my parents were very much into music.

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Michael J Edwards: When did you know piano would become your preferred instrument to play?

Pat Thomas: I got interested in the piano when I saw Liberace, which is a bit corny but that’s why I became interested in the piano because I saw this big white thing, this white piano, and I thought, “Oooh! That looks nice!” My mum noticed I was interested and she said, “Would you like to play the piano?” And I said, “Yes!” But I thought all pianos looked like the one Liberace had.

Michael J Edwards: How old were you at this time?

Pat Thomas: I would have been about seven, coming up to eight, because I started about eight on the piano.

Michael J Edwards: Oscar Peterson was a big inspiration for you during your pre-teenage years. How did that come about?

Pat Thomas: It was just a simple thing of seeing him on TV, seeing a black piano player on the TV playing like that. I was classically trained, but I didn’t know anything about jazz. So it was just a shock to see a black piano player on the TV playing with that versatility, but not playing classical music; so I had to find out what that was. When I was supposed to be practising my Bach, I’d be trying to play Oscar Peterson piano transcriptions and my music teacher found out. But she was alright, she was great! She gave me my first gig; she was very enthusiastic and very supportive.

Michael J Edwards: What was her name?

Pat Thomas: Mrs Mary Pryce her name was; she was brilliant!

Michael J Edwards: Did she have a ruler to discipline you?

Pat Thomas: Oh! My first teacher was called Mrs Smith, who lived around the corner. She was rough! She was old school and would rap you over the knuckles.

Michael J Edwards: As you mentioned, you studied Classical music growing up, what grounding did that give you?

Pat Thomas: It gives you a good grounding in reading. I mean later on you realise that music is not really on the page; but it’s a good way of developing a technique. Whether you’re playing Jazz or Classical, what’s called the Hanon and Czerny manuals, that’s still the best practice manuals, it’s great for anybody learning the piano.

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Michael J Edwards: What part did your parents play in your musical development?

Pat Thomas: Oh a big part, they’re from Antigua. It was quite familiar for us watch British steel bands, which they found quite amusing and I didn’t know that much about steel bands. Then they played me some steel bands from Antigua, playing Handel on the steel pan, and it was unbelievable.

Michael J Edwards: Really!

Pat Thomas: Antigua steel pan groups are unbelievable – outstanding!

Michael J Edwards: I was in Trinidad last year and saw some quality steel pan bands.

Pat Thomas: Well, you know what it’s like with the rivalry, but Antigua has got some unbelievable steel bands.

Michael J Edwards: You played your first improvised gig around 1979, were you part of any group at that time?

Pat Thomas: Around 1980 I started playing in a group called Ghosts, with Pete McPhail and Matt Lewis.

Michael J Edwards: So how did that connection come about?

Pat Thomas: We were all in Oxford, and you know the English style of coming to a gig and nobody is speaking. So we’d be going to gigs for about six months and sometimes we’ll be the only people in the room. One day I thought I should ask this guy what do you do, and found out he was a drummer, so we started playing. And then we met Pete McPhail, a very good saxophone player, so we started playing in his house. And he put this group together called ‘Ghosts’

Michael J Edwards: Where did the name come from?

Pat Thomas: Well, it’s because there is a record by Albert Ayler; the great saxophone player Albert Ayler had a track called ‘Ghosts,’ and we all loved that track so we thought we’d call it that. And it was also to sort of emphasise that area, because he was one of the major players in Free Jazz. So it was like that connection with that sort of music.

Michael J Edwards: When did electronics enter your sphere of influence?

Pat Thomas: When I could afford them! (Laughs) I was always interested in electronics, but I managed to afford them in about seventy-eight/seventy-nine, in and round the early eighties.

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Michael J Edwards: How old were you at that time?

Pat Thomas: About twenty. I mean I always wanted to get into it, it just looked great, all of these massive things. I used to envy guitarists and the fact that they were able to slide, because on the piano you’re just stuck with this note goes here and so on. However, a guitarist could slide between notes and all this. And with a synthesiser I noticed that you could slide, so I wanted to able do that, so that’s why I was interested in it in the beginning.

Michael J Edwards: Can you expand more on the three electro-acoustic compositions you wrote having been awarded an Arts Council jazz bursary in 1988, which you performed at the ‘Crawley Outside-In’ Festival’ of new music in 1989?

Pat Thomas: It’s really funny; I just decided that I wanted to do some pieces, because there was this whole big Jazz boom, with all these Big Bands doing Jazz hits. So I just thought I’d like to do something slightly different. So we didn’t have any saxophone in it, no bass; I had two drummers.

Michael J Edwards: That was a conscious decision?

Pat Thomas: Yes that was a conscious decision to try something different. We were probably the first electronic Big Band to have a turntablist in it.

Michael J Edwards: What was his name?

Pat Thomas: Neil Palmer. I met him as I used to play in a band called the ‘Mayhem Quartet’ with a guy called Tim Hill and Mike Cooper, the great Mike Cooper, who was a great blues guitarist as well a free improviser, and Neil Palmer and myself. So when I was putting this band together i was trying to find people from different electronic backgrounds. So Phil Durrant, an excellent violinist and electronics specialist; Marcia Matthaus, a great cellist and who also used electronics. I was working stuff with the computer, and it was back in the day, not like now when you don’t have to do programming, back then I had to do programming. I used to ‘Fourth’ and ‘BBC Basic’. So I programmed everything with ‘BBC Basic’ myself.

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Michael J Edwards: That’s time-consuming!

Pat Thomas: It’s a lot of work! (Laughs) So I had to programme everything myself and I decided to use Phil Minton, who is a fantastic vocalist. I did a piece for him and also for great trumpet player called Jon Corbett. I wanted to expand to see if I could push them, so I had all this stuff on the computer, a lot of electronics sounds…I’ve used it to create a sort of background which the musicians can use to develop. So I had the idea, and the other idea was to do a piece with two drummers and a drum machine – a drum machine program. So I had all the stuff written out on a drum machine and then performed by Jeff Sewell, who is excellent on drum machines and stuff and then two percussionists, Roger Turner and Matt Lewis… I wanted to have that interaction between natural drums and electronic drums. So I was always looking for fresh ideas, because about that time it was the Big Band eighties jazz revival, so i thought I’d thought we need to something different.

Michael J Edwards: How and why did the formation of the ‘Scatter Quartet’ you formed with Phil Minton, Roger Turner and Dave Tucker in 1990 to come about?

Pat Thomas: Improvisers are great optimists! To show you how optimistic I was, the conception that this was a Rock band, of course we didn’t play any tunes, there was no bass, and there was no sort of set rhythm. The idea was that this was a rock band, because Dave played on the four. What I liked about Dave Tucker is that he’s a great guitarist but he could get all this intensity without having to be super loud; and that’s pretty hard. And with Phil Minton and Roger (Turner) who’s also got this great dynamism. So I wanted to real kind of intensity, but also at low-level, so it was a bit contradictory, because it was supposed to be a Rock band, but sometimes we played very quietly. (Laughs)

Michael J Edwards: Power and subtlety.

Pat Thomas: Yeah, power and strategy.

Michael J Edwards: You’ve played with a plethora of fellow musicians and composers throughout the years from all genres of music, be it Classical, Reggae, Jazz, Avant-garde or Electro. Does it all boil down to the love of good music, stretching your parameters, or the music you are hearing in your head at any given time?

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Pat Thomas: I think it’s a love of good music, and also I was very lucky like I said growing up in a house where you could hear Charlie Pride, Handel, Beethoven, Lee Perry and Little Richard all at the same time. You go into one part of the room and you can hear all of this…Caribbean culture is more eclectic. When I’m in Antigua I can hear Art Tatum, Sonny Rollins, along with Soca; it’s much more varied than so-called British radio, which is very static. Also somebody may just ask you. Like I play in this group/band and I really enjoy it, with Alexis Taylor, John Coxon and originally Charles Hayward. I like to play in all sorts of different things, but I think what encouraged me to do that is that eclecticism, that sort of Catholicism in Caribbean families at that time.

Michael J Edwards: Throughout your career the word improvisation, improvised or improviser crop up. Are you conscious of wanting to stay ahead of any quote, “trend,” of not being pigeonholed or formatted i.e. always keeping people guessing?

Pat Thomas: I was probably trying to keep myself guessing! I like to keep it interesting for myself as well; I like to work in as many different contexts as possible, I like that I like the idea… And that’s the beauty of improvisation; because whoever you play with they come with their cultural background, their different concepts. Sometimes they may have a completely different way of thinking about music from you, and I think it’s great they can be those elements together. I like this idea of working in different contexts.

Michael J Edwards: You’ve played numerous festivals, the majority of which have been in and around Europe i.e. Germany, Italy, Hungary; your popularity seems to be much more heightened there than in the UK. Why do you think that is?

Pat Thomas: I think because there’s just more money the (Laughs raucously) There’s just more flexibility. I think it’s to do with radio. In the UK you’ve only really got one Jazz radio programme – Jazz on three is about 11pm to 1.00am, so you’ve really got to be a diehard straightaway. I mean when I was growing up listening to Jazz I’d had to listen to Radio Two, which I never thought that I’d have to listen to. Growing up as a teenager you don’t think you’re going to go and listen to Radio Two when you’re about eighteen! But I had to listen to Radio Two in order to get just a snippet of Jazz; all the jazz programs where after 10 o’clock and you didn’t get mainstream TV.

So in Europe there’s more access to it, you’ve got maybe four or five programs a day of Jazz on French Radio and this is just an it covers all the areas. Germany again is very well covered, so even if you’re working in a so-called minority area, there’s more space for it. Jazz on Three do a great job, but they’ve got to try and cover all contemporary music in an hour and a half. We’re playing in Austria in a couple of weeks in a little town called Nicklesdorf; this is the biggest event in the country every year, and it’s packed! And just down the road in Vienna you’ve got Porgy and Bess, you got all these major Jazz clubs. It’s just that they’re more open to it here. We’ve got the baggage of being the centre of Pop music. The way the radio is in England, it’s much more divisive – Radio One only plays music for twelve to sixteen year olds, so once you get over a certain age there doesn’t seem to be this crossing over.

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Michael J Edwards: Tell us about your first introduction to fellow musician and long-term friend Steve Williamson?

Pat Thomas: Funnily enough me and Steve where in a group in 1985, a long time ago now I suppose, run by Joe Gallivan, the great Joe Gallivan. He worked with the Gil Evans Orchestra. But as for Steve I only saw him a couple of times and said hello and stuff, and then I didn’t seem for years. His career took off about that time in ’85/’86, I think he started doing all these things and the next time I saw him was probably in Smith’s on the front cover of Vogue or something!(Chuckles) Even in that short time you can tell he was one to watch. And Joe Gallivan he was very perceptive. I used to ask him “What did he see in this young player?” And he said, “This guy’s the future!” So he has heard enough of Steve to realise he was going to go and do something. And of course he did, he did go on to make it.

I didn’t see him again until Orphy (Robinson) put this festival together in 2007. It was this thing in Hackney, but unfortunately it was on or about the same time as 7/07, so it was quite a heavy day, but everybody turned up. He (Orphy) had invited everybody down to the town hall, and we did a duo me and Steve and we talked about doing some more. So yeah, Steve comes and goes.

Michael J Edwards: Putting bias to one side, where would place him in the pantheon of Jazz saxophonist?

Pat Thomas: He’s very high obviously! I mean when he was in that band, he must have been about twenty-one or twenty-two – In that Big Band, there was Evan Parker, there was Paul Donald, there was Elton Dean; already pretty much heavyweights, and then Steve, who must have been in his early twenties. So when he was playing in that band there was a heavy line-up of saxophone players.

Michael J Edwards: Staying with fellow musicians and long-term friends, how and when was the musical relationship between yourself and marimba/vibes player extraordinaire Orphy Robinson forged?

Pat Thomas: In 1997 when we both got asked to do this Butch Morris Orchestra. It was the London version, London skyscrapers. Steve Beresford was the MD any he put together this band. I mean Steve’s great, he’s been a great supporter of what I do. I remember when he gave us the line-up of the people in it, and I was looking through it and ticking the boxes. Phil Durrant I knew, Evan Parker, Rowland Sutherland and then I saw Orphy Robinson and I thought isn’t that guy a Jazz vibes player.

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

So I rang up Steve and I said, “Are you sure this Orphy Robinson guy is doing a gig?” And he said, “Oh yeah is really open for it!” He didn’t get a chance to play much mind to be honest with you because Butch was quite strict on his ideas on what to do. So every time Orphy wanted to get going, he stopped him. So we were hanging out and stuff and then he had a group called “Nubian Vibes” and he asked me to do that. And then we’ve worked together in all these other groups should, so as I said we’ve been working together since ’97.

Michael J Edwards: More recently you have both come together in a musical capacity in the guise of ‘Black Top’. Again that word improvisation crops up, as well as innovation. Can you confirm that the name is actually derived from the miss-hearing of the word laptop?

Pat Thomas: I had an old blacktop right, it’s really funny! So I had an old blacktop, and I always like the rhyming slang “blacktop-laptop.” So I sort of thought that would be a nice name, ‘Black Top;’ It was sort of a bit jokey. Ironically at the time – not that we’re not conscious of our race – me and Orphy weren’t really thinking we’re going to call this Black Top as in “Blacks On Top!” We just didn’t want a name that would say that we’re Jazz band or we’re a Free improvising band or we’re a Funk band.

That name gave us the opportunity to be able to do whatever we like, to cover all the bases without anybody judging us. We’re always making jokes that if all we had to do was put the name blacking in it, we would’ve done it ages ago – I would have called a band ‘Black Soil,’ ‘Black Pyjamas’. (Laughs deeply) The idea was that we wanted it to be a completely open ended group, totally free, but we wanted to cover all these bases at the same time.

Michael J Edwards: As I understand it the nucleus of the band is yourself and Orphy Robinson, with guest musicians contributing to each album, such as Steve Williamson and HKB FiNN. Do you see it as a long-term project, all something that once you exhaust all the possibilities that you will move on from?

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Pat Thomas: It’s a long-term project; it’s always going to be fresh because you can say that every version is a new edition. For example the way we play with Evan (Parker) is completely different from the way we play with Steve (Williamson). He’s got another world and it’s great to play with different people and play in these different sound worlds. For us it’s nice because it can always be fresh, because it’s not just me and Orphy playing all the time. Different people give it different character every time, that’s what we’ve noticed. So we’ve got lots of stuff in the can and slowly slowly we’ll release stuff.

Michael J Edwards: Moving on to your unique piano style, was your technique honed over time or inspired by anyone in particular?

Pat Thomas: A big influence on me would have been Cecil Taylor; Muhal Richard Abrams, another great piano player I was very interested in. He was one of the founders of the AACM; he was the guardian, the main man, who sort of helped put the whole thing together. And then obviously you’ve got Bud Powell. I have a very formal training, and very good teachers who taught you about velocity. It was a combination of things over time and trying to find ways… You see with the piano, unlike the saxophone, you’re stuck with this diatonic scale; you have to try and find ways of making it sound like it’s not like a diatonic instrument.

There are various different ways like playing inside the piano, playing very fast intervalically i.e. on a piano if I played middle C and then in F sharp, right at the top of the piano that represents an interval of two and a half octaves. I used to listen to someone like Eric Dolphy, he played with Coltrane, and when he started doing this style they used to say it was anti-Jazz, because he was playing so fast. (Pat laughs incredulously) This is quite funny, because now they all say to me, “Why can’t you play like Eric Dolphy?”, or “Why don’t you play like John Coltrane?” They hated what Coltrane was doing some of these critics, they said it was anti-Jazz!

Michael J Edwards: Maintaining the link with all three, last year you appeared at Nexus – One World Music presented by the Jazz Warriors International at St Georges Church, London. How it was for you? (i.e. another chance to improvise) and what do you think of the concept Orphy and Cleveland Watkiss have initiated?

Pat Thomas: It’s a great concept! It’s really great the way they get all these people, so it’s always fresh, and you’ll obviously know more because you seen more of the concerts than me. Every concert is different. Sometimes when I don’t see it I think, “Oh! It would have been great to have seen that!” I saw some of your clips with Django Bates and Nicky Yeoh and Cleveland (Watkiss) and stuff like that. Then you’ve got Tori Handsley and Shabaka (Hutchings), there’s some great stuff going on! I think It’s a good time for music, because back in the eighties and nineties, it was very much more fractional.

What were called the ‘Jazzers’ were in that section, the ‘Improvisers’ were in this section, the ‘Rockers’ where on this side; everybody is much more mixed now. Recently I did a gig with Jason Pierce from ‘Spiritualised’ and American drummer called Kid Millions. Now back in the eighties the whole idea of working with the Rock band in improvised context was strange – people would mention Thurston Moore. There’s a lot more mixing between different groups nowadays, more than back in the eighties, when it was much more factionalised.

Michael J Edwards: What advice would you give for young aspiring pianists or musicians in general?

Pat Thomas: They’ve got to practice – practice, practice, practice. I would say it’s better to see maybe thirty or forty gigs a year and maybe do two gigs a year. I know people are trying to make a living and that, but I think it’s better to check out gigs first, check out what people are doing; and then that helps you to venture on and form an idea of what’s going on. I think what happened for a lot of young players now is that their sort of forced into playing and playing, so they don’t get to see anything. When I first started playing I used to see loads of gigs; the actual gigs I played myself I could count on my hand. When I first started playing I saw Sun Ra, I saw everybody in the eighties.

Practice as much as possible, and listen to as many things as possible. Even though I want people to think the Internet is a great thing, I think it is a disadvantage because sometimes you don’t have that effort of going to see someone. You know when you used to go into record shops and ask the person to order you a record, or you’d go all over London just order one track! Now they just ‘Google it’. And also they miss out, because a lot of things aren’t documented, a lot of special music is not documented, so I think it’s harder for them.

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Michael J Edwards: Tonight you play a tribute to the one and only Sun Ra at the Church of St Barnabas, London, alongside your peers Orphy Robinson, Rowland Sutherland and Neil Charles, curated by your good friend Paul Bradshaw. Apart from these three, have you worked with any of the band members before?

Pat Thomas: Yes Maurizio. We were involved in a project by the composer Steve Blake, The Cholmondeleys. The Cholmondeleys was a great dance group featuring Lea Anderson; she was a fantastic choreographer. But me and Maurizio (Ravalico, Percussion) were in this project and yeah it was great! I’ve worked with him before so it’s fantastic to see him again.

Michael J Edwards: Neil Charles (Double Bass)?

Pat Thomas: Neil’s definitely happening! He’s a good young player. He did a ‘Black Top’ gig alongside Cleveland (Watkiss) with us. Rowland (Sutherland) I’ve known long time. The first time I played with Rowland was in a group called ‘R2 Jazz’n’Beats,’ with Ray Carless and Rowland… It was the usual London thing for an outsider, because I was ‘depping’ (deputising), so the keyboard player was supposed to give me the parts, and of course he didn’t give me the parts. So Mr Sutherland had to run through all the parts in the car that was quite amusing! (Chuckles) And of course, Orphy and Rowland go way back to the Blue Note, and Nubian Vibes would have been the first time I met Rowland.

He really is an outstanding musician. He’s one of the most underrated musicians in Europe I would say. He’s one of the top in Europe and probably the world. He’s acknowledged as a top musician, but I think he’ still underrated I would say, because he’s really flexible, he’s an excellent Classical player. Very few musicians are excellent Classical musicians and excellent improvisers. And he’s a fantastic arranger and great composer in his own right. He should be doing more of his own products, so it’s good that he’s doing these things now; I’m glad to see it. We like to wind him up because he’s Rowland, but he’s a great musician. I think he’s definitely one of the most underrated musicians in the world.

Michael J Edwards: I second that emotion. Are you a fan of Sun Ra’s music and when were you contacted to add your particular musical flavour to this event?

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Pat Thomas: Of course! In ’97 Rowland put this London Arts Collective together, it was a great band. It was for La Scala and it was sold out. It was a similar sort of project and it was Rhodri Davis, a fantastic harpist, who put it together with John Edwards and a great saxophone player called Geoff Hawkins, who was one of my mentors, Orphy and myself. And we did all this stuff and it was sold out. Sun Ra has been a major influence on me from the first time I heard his records, and of course again a phenomenal musician. The electronics and the things he was doing, I spent like years trying to work out what he was doing – I mean literally years! You didn’t have You Tube, so you had to listen and listen to the record and try and work out what he was doing. And I had worked out what he was doing, so when I did see him I was glad that I got it right. I’d worked out that the only way that he could be doing some of the things he was doing was by playing with the back of his hands.

Because it was not possible he could be playing just normal, the sounds he was making I thought that he has to be playing with the back of his hands. Then when I saw him I noticed that’s what he was doing, but: time to write this stuff out. That’s what I’m saying about kids now; they don’t get the benefit… I was very lucky to see him a number of times, one time I’ll never forget because it was on my birthday and the pain is synthesised solo. I’m still yet to hear anybody top this solo Sun Rd on that night. He was definitely a major influence on me. And also just the idea of covering all bases; he could play Swing with Fletcher Henderson to Be-bop – everything! And the musicians he got were all excellent musicians. He had this view that everything’s there, everything’s to be played – very disciplined. And Francesco Maurao, who did the first gig and played with Sun Ra, also said he was very disciplined. He left because he wasn’t making any money. At that time they were not making any money.

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

One day Sun Ra made stew; called a ‘Moon Stew’ – a bunch of vegetables put in a pot, which fed them for a week because they were starving. That was a heavy commune thing, these guys dedicated their lives to playing this guys music. This guy saw himself as having a mission, a very spiritual mission to make his music…Also to have that dedication and no funding. When you think about what the classical musicians and classical composers would get, this guy had to try and make a living as a black creative artist with no real funding, I mean it was amazing the things he achieved! And he kept his Big Band together for over thirty years – Incredible! People don’t understand, he kept a Big Band playing what’s called avant-garde music for over thirty years! He passed away in the nineties. And there’s a legacy, Marshall Allen who’s now eighty-five still keeping the band going, with a lot of the original members. That’s amazing! So yeah, he is a major figure.

Michael J Edwards: What’s next on the horizon for Pat Thomas, future plans etc?

Pat Thomas: Sleep! My immediate plans after this gig are getting some sleep. Then ‘Black Top’ is doing a little launch at Cafe Oto this thursday; then next week I’m doing a gig at Cafe Oto again with ‘Founder Effect’ which is John Coxon, Alan Wilkinson and Steve Noble, and then we go and play the Nicklesdorf Festival in Austria – It’s called ‘A Confrontation’. Then I’m in Europe is again in August, I’m playing in Norway and playing in Germany; so it’s quite a busy week and summer.

Michael J Edwards: I understand there are more ‘Black Top’ releases to come?

Pat Thomas: There will be. We’ll talk to the label (Babel) as to when the next one is going to be. It’s going to be very different from the first one; VERY different from the first one! It will be a live recording. We’re doing the London Jazz Festival on the 19th and 20th of November at Cafe Oto where we have a residency. We’ve got lots of guests yet to be announced, so that should be fun.

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Photo: Courtesy of Siobhan Bradshaw

Michael J Edwards: Thank you for your time and have a great show. I’m looking forward to it within this beautiful space!

Pat Thomas: Cheers, it is, it is, it’s very posh!

Michael J Edwards

Essential Album:
Black Top #1 (2014) Pat Thomas & Orphy Robinson feat Steve Williamson

Essential Audio: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Pat_Thomas/Solo_Piano_Live_at_Cafe_OTO_24_June_2013/

Essential Discography:
http://www.discogs.com/artist/99207-Pat-Thomas?page=1

Interview & Improvised Performance – 12th Oct 2009:
http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2009/10/pat-thomas-piano/

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