132

Pat Thomas: Nur. Solo piano 1999

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
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.

On this album, Thomas plays unadorned solo acoustic piano, and the music was improvised from start to finish. The recording dates from a concert given in the chapel at Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education, which had both a Steinway grand piano and great acoustics. The concert took place in December 1999. Significantly, given that Thomas follows Islam, this was during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and reflection. The combination of all these factors—the instrument, the setting, the timing—contributes to a reflective and spiritual mood. Anyone familiar with Thomas's electronic playing is likely to be surprised by his music here. There is little of his knockabout humour. (I particularly recall a version of "Uptown Top Ranking" that he and Coxhill belted out live at Spitz some years ago.) Instead, these are pieces that do not play to the gallery, but have an overarching logic and structure to them. Thomas pays tribute to Monk in "The Analogy" and, throughout, there is something of Monk in Thomas's playing. It is not possible to pin it down precisely—beyond "feel"—but it is there.

Aficionados of Thomas will relish this broadening and deepening of his work. Newcomers can just enjoy some fine original piano playing.

Track Listing: Nur; Mubarak; Variation on two themes; The Analogy

Personnel: Pat Thomas, piano

Title: Nur. Solo piano 1999 | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Emanem


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Trio Miami" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Miami
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "The Eastcote Studios Session" CD/LP/Track Review The Eastcote Studios Session
by John Eyles
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "Find the Way" CD/LP/Track Review Find the Way
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Setembro" CD/LP/Track Review Setembro
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Snowmelt" CD/LP/Track Review Snowmelt
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.