103CD - Pat Thomas / The Locals - Play The Music Of Anthony Braxton - CD plus downloadTweet
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An exciting live performance recorded at the Konfrontation Festival, Ulrichsberg in 2006, featuring six early compositions by Anthony Braxton arranged for the band by Pat Thomas.
When Discus Music asked Pat what recording he had in his personal archive that he would most like to see released, this one was Pat’s choice. Pat’s arrangements of these angular melodies allow Alex Ward’s stratospheric clarinet to fly over the band’s churning grooves, and much excitement was generated in the process – as can be heard from the wild audience response!
Pat Thomas - piano, melodica
Alex Ward - clarinet
Evan Thomas - electric guitar
Dominic Lash - electric bass
Darren Hasson-Davis - drums
Sometimes the best “covers” are reinterpretations of original works that don’t resemble said originals at first blush. But on further listens, a resemblance emerges in structures if not melodies. Pat Thomas’ newly-released archival recording of Anthony Braxton pieces fits nicely into that category. Thomas is a prolific and well-versed, pianist, composer and improviser based in the UK. On this effort, which was recorded live at the Konfrontation Festival, Ulrichsberg in 2006, he is joined by Alex Ward on clarinet, Ewan Thomas on electric guitar, Dominic Lash on bass, and Darren Hasson-Davis on drums.
There is no shortage of Braxton reinterpretations, including notable 2020 releases from Thumbscrew and Tropos. But where the source material was apparent in these more recent recordings, this 15-year-old offering does not scream “Braxton”. Instead, Thomas arranged a number of early Braxton pieces (Compositions 40b, 6c, 115, 23b, 6i, and 23g) into 6-9 minute bursts of guided improv. The signature Braxton angularity is present, notably so on Composition 115 as one example. But the group also adds elements of groove and a pseudo-funkiness that one does not often associate with the composer. Indeed, the duels between piano, guitar, and clarinet are worth of attention alone. Thomas, of course, throws in his percussive keyboard pounding here and there, which is always welcome.
If anything, Thomas and company take a loose approach to Braxton that is refreshing and unexpected. Highly recommended whether or not you are an established friendly experiencer. https://avantmusicnews.com/2021/01/31/amn-reviews-pat-thomas-the-locals-play-the-music-of-anthony-braxton-2006-discus-music/
Piano and melodica player Pat Thomas’s personal choice of archive material led him to choose a concert at the Kronfontation Festival, Ulrichsberg in 2006 for this 2021 Discus release. I don’t know a lot about Anthony Braxton’s music except that it is very often at a precipitous level of avant-garde that only the most devoted of free jazzers would get into. Having said that I also know from what I have heard that Braxton has been known to play ‘standards’ and his music shows a highly advanced level of musicianship and invention so it was a daunting task that The Locals took on and I didn’t really know what to expect. There are six early Braxton compositions tackled here, all with the name ‘Compositions’, most with a number and letter beside them. What surprised me is how accessible the music turned out to be with the rhythm section of Dominic Lash and Darren Hasson-Davis doing an excellent job in providing a strong undertow of funky grooves, perfect for Alex Ward’s virtuosic clarinet flourishes of sound and Pat Thomas’s keyboards. I smiled to myself on listening to one composition (Don’t ask me which!) to find that I had written down, “a playful swamp stomp with laughing clarinet building to a fantastically anarchic climax.” The line-up is completed by Evan Thomas on electric guitar and I’m not entirely sure how I would define the music except to say it sure makes you feel good and gets the speakers bouncing. Judging the by the audience response I think they agree! - Phil Jackson, ACID DRAGON