Dick-Wag: A Tribute to Richard Wagner is a new jazz band dedicated to a notorious 19th century Bavarian composer some idolise and many more despise. Comprised of the most unlikely collaborators, this ensemble attempts – in dubious tribute – to reconcile deep love with utter contempt for opera’s most depraved and ego-maniacal little man. Having waded through hours and hours of bloated and interminable operas, composer and multi-instrumentalist Fred Thomas has crystallised his favourite moments into discreet miniatures, profanely re-interpreting a music in turn sublime, bombastic, time-stopping, sexually suggestive, mockingly ironic and earth-shatteringly beautiful. Featuring the motley talents of Liam Noble (piano), Ewan Bleach (reeds) and a mystery drummer alongside band-leader Fred Thomas (double bass), Dick-Wag serves up mercilessly blooded chunks hacked off masterpieces such as Tristan and Isolde, transforming them into grotesque parodies of Teutonic pomp, luscious jazz ballads, jingoistic marches and Ellingtonian jungle grooves. And if you listen closely, just audible between the cracks of these respectful caricatures, is the unmistakable sound of Richard Wagner turning in his grave.
Liam Noble – piano
Ewan Bleach – reeds
Fred Thomas – double bass, arranger