Polyphonic Jazz Band

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 from one of the richest resources in all of Western music history: Baroque Polyphony. Borrowing these surprisingly under-explored contrapuntal schemes and applying them to jazz’s most cherished and often hackneyed songs has enabled research into a new way of interpreting this repertoire. 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. Along side band-leader Fred Thomas, Martin Speake (Paul Motian, Bobo Stenson, ECM), Mick Foster (Cleo Laine, LPO), Phil Stevenson (Fofoulah, Iness Mezel) and Phelan Burgoyne (Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland) all bring their own voices to a genuinely singular way of playing the old songs that nourish our jazz culture – through spontaneous polyphony.












photo by Dan Poole

photo by Dan Poole

photo by Dan Poole