You cannot judge a book by its cover. Maybe, but music fans somehow know that expression doesn't lend itself to album covers (in this case, CD covers). Look at the Blue Note Records covers from the 1960 sixties, Miles Davis' On The Corner (Columbia, 1972), or The Clash's London Calling (Columbia, 1979), and tell me you don't have a very good idea what you'll hear on those records. Covers matter, and more importantly they reveal essential information about the music found inside. Since 2004, the Treader label has produced 18 discs, all with distinctive embossed covers that give ...read more
Al-Khwarizmi Variations is the most recent addition to a select group of albums--the solo recordings of pianist Pat Thomas. It is Thomas's fourth solo outing in twenty years, and follows Nur (Emanem, 2001) and Plays the Music of Derek Bailey & Thelonious Monk (FMR, 2008). Both of those are hard to follow, but Al-Khwarizmi Variations is a worthy successor to them.Thomas is known to be an adherent of Islam, which may be why the album title name-checks Al-Khwarizmi, the Baghdad-born eighth-century Islamic mathematician credited with inventing algebra. (Continuing the Islamic theme, the cover features artwork from a fifteenth ...read more
Multi-piano recordings tend to be dicey affairs at best. The usual problem is that players don't respect open space enough with all those keys at their disposal. This effect is usually exacerbated in a free improv setting, where no rules exist to keep everyone at bay. Fortunately, 3 Pianos manages to avoid these problems, which is a tribute to the aesthetic awareness of the three pianists involved. Since the piano is at some level always a percussion instrument, the possibilities for interwoven rhythmic figures are nearly limitless. At the same time, the piano has the distinction of chordal expression, and ...read more
Pat Thomas is one of the UK's most versatile and unpredictable improvisers. His piano, electronic keyboards and (often eccentric) taped samples have featured in many memorable contexts including Company, Relay, in duos with Derek Bailey and with Lol Coxhill (their One Night in Glasgow is well worth seeking out), with Tony Oxley, and in the trio Powerfield. Nur is Thomas's second solo CD. It is in complete contrast to his first, New Jazz Jungle: Remembering, which featured a typically radical amalgam of jazz and jungle, using electronics and beats. Although both albums feature Thomas alone, similarities end there.read more
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