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Al-Khwarizmi was a Muslim mathematician and astronomer, his memory interpreted in a series of variations by Pat Thomas playing inside and outside of the piano, an impressive display of 21st century keyboard technique and conceptual playing.

Thomas, Pat
Al-Khwarizmi Variations

Thomas, Pat: Al-Khwarizmi Variations (Fataka)
Label: Fataka    
Released in: Great Britain    

"A major solo statement, Al-Khwarizmi Variations traverses the history and the physicality of the piano.

Working both inside and outside the instrument's body, at times playing with recognisable musical material, at others going deep into sonic abstraction, Pat Thomas presents a compelling vision of what the piano can do in the 21st century.

Extremes entwine in his playing: solidity and flow; seriousness and laughter; uproar and imperturbability."-Fataka

"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)."-EFI

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Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Piano & Keyboards
Solo Artist Recordings

Get additional information at European Free Improv Pages

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Product Information:

Label: Fataka
Catalog ID: 4
Squidco Product Code: 17370

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2012
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock gatefold foldover
Recorded by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios on June 19th, 2011.


Pat Thomas-piano

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Track Listing:

1. Varitation 1 4:18

2. Varitation 2 4:57

3. Varitation 3 7:36

4. Varitation 4 8:08

5. Varitation 5 5:05

6. Varitation 6 1:30

7. Varitation 7 6:15

8. Varitation 8 4:57

9. Varitation 9 5:49

10. Varitation 10 1:57

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