Sunday 26 July 2015, 8pm
Black Top, the duo of multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson and pianist Pat Thomas, is a shape-shifting unit dedicated to exploring the intersection between live instruments and lo-fi technology. Their virtuoso, freely improvised performances combine twisted loops, samples and dub-effects, which draw on their Afro-Caribbean roots, with a spontaneity and daring rooted in experimental free-jazz.
Each in the series is moulded by the contributions of a unique guest collaborator. This performance, the thirteenth in the series, sees the pair joined by German born Klaus Bru on saxophones and electronics and virtuoso percussionist Beibei Wang.
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
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
“The Young Chinese virtuoso Wang Beibei is nothing if not flamboyant.” – The Times
Genre-defying percussionist Beibei Wang is an acclaimed international virtuoso percussionist with both Chinese and British musical education background. Beibei has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the classical music world, receiving international praise for her performances. She received double Master Degrees from the Central Conservatory of Music (China) and the Royal Academy of Music (UK). In 2014, she was listed in the top 50 Chinese musicians in the “Sound of East” project by the Chinese Ministry of Culture. In 2015, she was endorsed by the Arts Council ,England receiving an Exceptional Talent visa from British Government. Following a successful recital at SOAS ,University of London, Beibei now leads a traditional Chinese percussion workshops to promote and preserve traditional Chinese percussion at SOAS. Most recently, she was featured on the front cover of China Music Life magazine and in iD China Magzinge in 2017.
Since 2008, as a soloist, Beibei has embarked upon a number of hugely successful international tours at many international music festivals including the Edinburgh International Festival, the Lucerne Festival, the Bach Academy Musikfest Stuttgart, Colour Scape Music Festival. She has collaborated with numerous leading Orchestras worldwide, including: the BBC Symphony Orchestra (UK),the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (Germany),Orchestra dell’ Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Italy) the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Canada), as well as conductors, including: Kent Nagano, Tan Dun, Kristjan Järvi, Muhai Tang, etc.
By exploring new possibilities and challenging assumptions from all fields, she and her collaborators have developed genre-defying projects, pushing boundaries and delighting audiences the world over.
German born Klaus Bru (卡 = pronounced Kaa) is one of only a few saxophonists performing exclusively on the rare C-Melody and C-Soprano saxes -- instruments which were extremely popular in the 1920’s. These antiquities sound utterly contemporary in Bru’s hands, particularly when he furnishes them with electronic treatment.
His artistic output is characterized by its variety: He brings in the folk music of the world (typically from Eastern Europe and Turkey), Avant-garde ridden improvisation concepts, air sounds and electronic noises, strange meters and odd tempos, plus -- last but not least -- singable melodies over the moving chords of jazz standards or his own compositions.