19–20 November 2014
Black Top is back with the 12th event in the series for two nights as part of the 2014 London Jazz Festival. Performing with them across both nights will be very special guest, Jamaaladeen Tacuma on electric bass. In the 1970's, Tacuma became a member of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time band and subsequently toured with and performed on some of Coleman's historic recordings, as well as performing with artists as diverse as Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Marc Ribot, Derek Bailey, Pharoah Sanders, Grover Washington Jr., Peter Murphy, and The Roots among others.
The ad hoc 'Black Top' series is dedicated to exploring the intersection of live instruments and technology such as the looping and sampling used in dub, reggae and other worldly noises - using improvisation to explore these black influences but not necessarily from an African American perspective.
Also on the bill are Xomaltesc Tbobhni, the relentlessly exacting duo of drummer Paul Abbott and saxophonist Seymour Wright, forming part of their own four night residency at OTO across the week of the London Jazz Festival.
Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill.
"Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that’s immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude." - The Jazzmann
Orphy Robinson is one of the major figures of the jazz scene - he has released records on Blue Note and played with Don Cherry, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Courtney Pine, Jazz Warriors and Andy Shepherd.
He has composed for Film and TV- including “In answer to your question” for the Balanescu String Quartet and “ 42 Shades of Black” for Phoenix Dance Theatre,which was performed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Currently leads the groups CODEFIVE- NUBIAN VIBES - he also plays in the groups BRUISE and CLEAR FRAME
"As the saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter once famously remarked in a 1992 interview with Mel Martin, “The word ‘jazz’ means to me no category”. You would similarly search in vain for a pigeon hole in which to place Black Top #5. An evening of surpassing invention and ambition, there might be a more creative, more engaging and more inspiring gig at this year’s London Jazz Festival. But I somehow doubt it." - The Arts Desk
Jamaaladeen has always stretched the mold of what and how a bassist is supposed to play. He has re-defined his instrument's artistic potential. In the 1970's, his creatively free approach to the bass caught the eye of saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Tacuma became a member of Coleman's Prime Time. He toured with and performed on some of Coleman's historic recordings : "Dancing In Your Head", "Body Meta", and "Of Human Feelings". Tacuma continued to press the musical envelope with his debut album in 1983 entitled "Showstopper" and latest historical recordings “FOR THE LOVE OF ORNETTE” features Ornette Coleman and Bon Vivant with Free Form Funky Freqs is a trio with Vernon Reid and G.Calvin Weston He has worked with diverse artists: Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Marc Ribot, Derek Bailey, Pharoah Sanders, Grover Washington Jr., Peter Murphy, The Roots among others. He has worked with orchestras led by Anthony Davis at Carnegie Hall. And in the past few years he is recognized for his artistic excellence worldwide with the "PARALLEL CULTURE" AWARD 2009, Marcus Garvey Foundation 50th Anniversary Award 2011 and The Pew Fellowship in the Arts 2011, The MacDowell and Headlands Center for the Arts residency fellowships. Jamaaladeen continues to tour worldwide, performing at the best jazz festivals and clubs in Europe and Asia.
Xomaltesc Tbobhni is drummer Paul Abbott and saxophonist Seymour Wright.