A controversial claim: complex counterpoint – the combination of multiple independent melodies into a single harmonic texture in which each retains its linear character – has been noticeably under-explored in jazz. Fred Thomas’ Polyphonic Jazz Band explores improvised, spontaneous counterpoint, seeking inspiration from one of the richest resources in all of Western music history: Baroque polyphony.
Transplanting polyphonic schemes (derived from J.S. Bach) to the most classic jazz standards illuminates an un-trodden path to this fundamental songbook repertoire, one in which the culture of consecutive solos is wholly renounced. Immersed in a liquid texture two hundred years older than the birth of jazz, these astonishingly malleable songs are heard afresh as intertwining melodies coalescing into a harmonious whole. This quintet of team players synthesise polyphony and improvisation in a creative, conceptual yet respectful approach to the jazz tradition.
Fred Thomas (Brian Eno, Jordi Savall) – double bass
Martin Speake (ECM, Paul Motian) – alto saxophone
Mick Foster (Cleo Lain, LPO) – baritone saxophone
Phil Stevenson (Fofoulah, Iness Mezel) – electric guitar
Phelan Burgoyne (Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler) – drums