Birmingham Jazz presents a band that pushes the genre to its limits at the Red Lion this week.
Fred Thomas’ Polyphonic Jazz Band explores improvised counterpoint in an uncompromising way through the medium of jazz standards. Eschewing the traditional chordal roles of harmonic instruments such as the piano and guitar, this ensemble instead seeks inspiration and transplants structural ideas from one of the richest resources in all Western music history, baroque polyphony.
Borrowing these surprisingly under-explored contrapuntal schemes and applying them to jazz music’s most cherished and often hackneyed songs has enabled Fred Thomas to research a very new way of interpreting this repertoire without written arrangements.
The results are completely improvised, firmly embedded in jazz tradition and startlingly unusual. This distinctive soundworld – cool, complex and beguiling, yet stylistically very open – results from the cumulative effect of diverse musical personalities weaving together simultaneous independent melodies and celebrating the liquid intricacy of a texture that derives from music two hundred years older than the birth of jazz.
Friday 30th June at the Red Lion, 95 Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter. Admission £12.50, members £10, students £5.