Wednesday 29 May 2024, 7.30pm

BLACK TOP: PAT THOMAS & ORPHY ROBINSON WITH SPECIAL GUEST CLEVELAND WATKISS

No Longer Available

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.

Orphy Robinson

Orphy Robinson is an award-winning multi- Instrumentalist, One of the few UK musicians to have been signed to the legendary USA Jazz label “Blue Note”.
Robinson has performed on over 100 recordings with numerous internationally acclaimed artists across many genres of music.

These include artists as diverse as Lawrence Butch Morris, Hugh Masekela, Don Cherry, Robert Plant, Thurston Moore, Robert Wyatt, The Jazz Warriors, Cleveland Watkiss, Wadada Leo Smith, Lionel Loueke, Henry Grimes, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Jean Luc Ponty, Marshall Allen, Sun Ra Arkestra to name a few.

Throughout his 40-year career, he has constantly been nominated or won numerous prestigious industry awards. These include 2022 Paul Hamlyn Award, 2 Jazz Fm awards 2017 Live Experience of the Year” & 2020 Gold Award. Nominated for the 2022 ‘Best Jazz Ensemble’ at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
2017 – 2019 Orphy held the position of Artist in residence at the Gibraltar World music Festival.
2018 Artistic director at the Gibraltar World music Festival.
Orphy sits on various industry Boards Such as the Ivor’s Academy where he is both Deputy Chair and the Chair of the Jazz + Genre Committee.
ECSA (European Composers & Songwriters Alliance) Trustee & Chair of the ECF - Art & Contemporary music Committee.
Vice Chair for the UK Promoters organization “Jazz Promotion Network”.
Orphy has also written articles for various industry music magazines such as Wire Magazine, Jazzwise & Online platform JAZZED.
Orphy has also presented Guest radio programmes on:
BBC Radio 3, Jazz Fm, Resonance Fm, Worldwide FM, Solar Radio.
Since 2016 Robinson has presented a weekly show on internet Radio station - Delite Radio. www.deliteradio.com

Pat Thomas

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 

Cleveland Watkiss

Jazz Vocalist of the Year & Mobo Nominated: Cleveland Watkiss 2017

Internationally renowned vocalist won the London Jazz Award for Best Vocalist in 2010, and was voted Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards best vocalist for three consecutive years.

Watkiss was born in Hackney, East London, to Jamaican parents. Watkiss was one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band. His vocals can be heard on their debut album, Out of Many People.

Watkiss has performed with a diverse range of artists from around the world, including: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carlinos Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Thurston Moore, Art Blakey, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Bheki Mseleku, Fabio & Grooverider, William Parker, the James Taylor Quartet, Sly & Robbie, Nigel Kennedy, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, The Who, George Martin, Julian Joseph, Black Top, the London Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Orchestra, Cassandra Wilson, Louis Moholo, and the London Community Gospel Choir, Hamid Drake, & Project 23, Goldie. More recently, demonstrating great versatility, Cleveland was cast as the starring role in Julian Joseph’s, two groundbreaking jazz operas, Bridgetower and Shadowball, to considerable acclaim.

In June last year he performed with vibraphonist Orphy Robinson at Freedom: The Art of Improvisation Festival at The Vortex, performing their project Duke Joint. Also with a project London-Chicago Vibration in Nov’ at the London Jazz Festival, a 50th anniversary tribute to the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) led by multi-percussionist Orphy Robinson and an all-star band of UK-based improvisers including legendary drummer Louis Moholo vibist Corey Mwamba and saxophonist Jason Yarde.

www.clevelandwatkiss.net