Pat Thomas

Biography

Artist Interview

Festival Programme

Biog

Born 27 July 1960; Piano, electronics.

Pat Thomas started playing at the age of 8 and studied classical music and played reggae. He began playing jazz at sixteen after seeing Oscar Peterson on television then listened to snatches of jazz on the radio before, in 1979, playing his first serious improvised gigs. From 1986 he played with Ghosts which was Pete McPhail and Matt Lewis.

In addition to programming his keyboards, Pat Thomas also utilises prerecorded tapes. He told Chris Blackford (1991), ‘As far as the tapes are concerned I’ll probably just sit in front of the TV and tape whatever’s going on and so some editing afterward to decide what might be useful. …But I don’t actually put a label on each tape saying what’s on there, so when I come to use them I don’t know what I’m going to be playing. That obviously prevents me from setting things up. I pick them at random and see what happens. So I’m just as surprised as anybody else at what comes out’.

In 1988 he was awarded an Arts Council Jazz Bursary to write three new electroacoustic compositions for his ten-piece ensemble, Monads: Roger Turner and Matt Lewis, percussion; Pete McPhail, WX7 wind synthesizer; Neil Palmer, turntables; Phil Minton, voice; Phil Durrant, violin; Marcio Mattos, bass; Jon Corbett, trumpet; Geoff Searle, drum machines. The intention was to feature different aspects of electronics using improvisation so, for example, one piece – Dialogue – featured Pete McPhail and Neil Palmer, another concentrated on the interaction of percussionists and drum machines, and a third piece had Phil Minton and Jon Corbett improvising with a computer. The pieces were performed at the Crawley Outside-In Festival of new music in 1989.

Pat Thomas was invited by Derek Bailey to play in Company Week in 1990 and 1991 and he also took part in the Ist International Symposium for Free Improvisation in Bremen with the guitarist. He has been a member of the Tony Oxley Quartet (documented on Incus CD 15) and played in Oxley’s Angular Apron along with Larry Stabbins, Manfred Schoof and Sirone at the 8th Ruhr Jazz Meeting and in the percussionist’s Celebration Orchestra. He plays with Lol Coxhill in a range of combinations from duo to being a member of ‘Before my time’, is a member of Mike Cooper’s Continental Drift, and he has a well established duo with percussionist Mark Sanders and a trio with Steve Beresford and Francine Luce. In 1992 Pat Thomas formed the quartet Scatter with Phil Minton, Roger Turner and Dave Tucker; funded by the Arts Council they toured the UK in 1993 and again at the beginning of 1997.

On the ‘Festival circuit’, Pat Thomas has appeared at: the Young Improvisors Festival at the Korzo Theatre, Den Haag (with Jim O’Rourke, Mats Gustafsson and Alexander Frangenheim); Angelica 95 in Bologna, Italy; the Stuttgart 5th Festival of Improvised Music 96 (with Fred Frith, Shelly Hirsch, Carlos Zingaro and others); and the 3rd International Festival 96 in Budapest (with Evan Parker, Phil Minton, John Russell and Roger Turner).

 

Interview

What was the first piece for left hand only – that you performed?

howard skempton piece  senza licenza

Why did you choose such a piece? (or why was it chosen for you?)

i like it

How often do you perform music for one hand? Could it be more often?

very rarely could be done more often

Do you have a preference of instrument for the performance of this music?

no

What kind of feedback have you had in performing lh ony piano music?

good

How do you prepare for this type of performance?

same as both hands music

What is your opinion on this approach ? Has great music come out of these circumstances?

good music

What effect has it had on your relationship to the piano, your creativity as an improvisor/composer/commissioner?

made me more focused

What do you think about the Leftitude festival?

great idea

Do you see this Festival and the surrounding promotion and visibility as something that will be inspirational to artists and individuals facing other challenges?

yes

Are there any other ideas you would suggest to make it even more meaningful and productive in that light?

no

Who would you choose as an outstanding artist/composer in this special field?

john tilbury

Who would you like to see perform at the Leftitude festival?

craig taborn

Is there an equivalent approach to other instruments? Performers using this approach?

no

Anything else on this topic/festival you would like to say?

looking forward to  hearing some great piano players