[Ahmed] – the quartet of Pat Thomas, Antonin Gerbal, Joel Grip and Seymour Wright – make music of heavy rhythm, repetition and syncopation set deep into an understanding of jazz and the obscure depths of its history. The group work and rework the music of the late musician Ahmed Abdul-Malik to create a stamping, swinging, relentlessly propulsive music where profundity and physicality root right back to ecstatic feeling.
Ahmed Photo by Guy Bolongaro
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
Seymour Wright’s work is about the creative, situated friction of learning, ideas, people and the saxophone – music, history and technique – actual and potential. His solo work is documented on three widely-acclaimed collections – Seymour Wright of Derby (2008), Seymour Writes Back (2015) and Is This Right? (2017).
Current projects also include: abaria with Ute Kanngiesser; @xcrswx with Crystabel Riley; GUO with Daniel Blumberg; The Experimental Library with Evie Ward; XT with Paul Abbott; a trans-atlantic duet with Anne Guthrie, and, with Jean-luc Guionnet a project addressing an imaginary lacunae in Aby Warburg’s Atlas Mnemosyne.
His writing has been published in C//A, Sound American and The Wire.
For a number of years now, energetic double bassist, filmmaker and producer Grip has played an important role for the new scenes of improvised music in Europe. As founder of Umlaut Records, he opened up for creative forms of organizing collectives of musicians and promoting their music internationally. Since 2003 he has been one of the main organizers of Hagenfesten in Dala-Floda, Sweden, a stand-alone festival, and quite frankly possibly the most pleasant venue for free improvised music not only in Sweden but in the whole of Europe. Few other places offer quite the same endearing combination of sophisticated musical risk-taking, and up-beat, social get-together. Grip’s musicianship is informed by a similar knack for welding musical sophistication with social communication, often with an analog film camera at hand. With a handful of short films Joel Grip met mexican filmmaker Mauricio Hernández and shortly the film production company Umlicht was established. They are right now working on their second feature film together.
www.joelgrip.com / www.umlicht.com
Antonin Gerbal is a percussion player, improviser and composer, active in the field of contemporary musics – from jazz to non-idiomatic languages. He has studied music at Paris Conservatory and philosophy at EHESS. In 2009 he co-founded Umlaut France, an organization which runs the eponymous label and organizes concerts and festivals in Paris and Berlin. Antonin Gerbal is mainly using percussion elements to develop multiple accesses to musical languages in jazz, improvised or written music. He has collaborated with many international artists and played in United States, Japan, Russia and Europe.