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«WAZIFAH volume 3»

Maua (flowers in Swahili) 4th album of the اسم  [ism] free improvising trio – British master pianist Pat Thomas, Swedish double bass player Joel Grip and French drummer Antonin Gerbal (who are ¾ of another of Thomas’ bands, أحمد [Ahmed], with British sax player Seymour Wright, named after legendary double bass and oud player Ahmed Abdul-Malik). The album was recorded at Au Topsi Pohl club in Berlin in May 2022, on the last performance of اسم [ism] played 4-night series at the club.

A Bösendorfer grand piano was brought into the small Au Topsi Pohl club for the trio’s performances, so the three musicians barely fit on stage. The club’s close acoustic space may contribute to the intimate and emphatic trio’s dynamics. اسم [ism] is still a risk-taking trio that keeps revitalizing the jazz piano trio format, and is well-versed in the legacy of jazz and enjoys an energetic and driving rhythm section.

The trio plays-improvises in a totally free manner, never attaching itself to any familiar pattern or convention but just flirting with all. It flows naturally and playfully in its own, commanding rhythmic power, profound interplay and elegance, never repeating itself. The two improvisations evoke engaging notions of loose forms, lively and touching dreams (the second improvisation, the ballad «Niloo’s Dream») and healing vibrations. A great, uplifting performance that guarantees to solidify your belief in the great powers of music.

Wazifa, after the Arabic word wazifah (وَظِيفَة) refers to a series of spiritual exercises that a Sufi believer practics every day to realize his ethical and spiritual ideals, and it is a solo cycle of electronics-based compositions of Thomas, recorded at his home studio, Urban Sufi Studios, in Rosehill in Oxford from November 2023 to January 2024.WAZIFAH volume 3 is dedicated to the late, legendary, free improvising drummer-percussionist Tony Oxley who passed away in December 2023. Thomas played in the Tony Oxley/Derek Bailey Quartet, Oxley Quartet and in Oxley Celebration Orchestra since the early nineties. The eight «Wazifah» pieces play with fractured, restless and unpredictable pulses that often flirt with cartoonish noises. All pieces have their own twisted yet joyful, melodic and percussive inner logic and sound like a small orchestra of cheerful and friendly aliens.

Eyal Hareuveni

Pat Thomas (piano, electronics), Joel Grip (double bass), Antonin Gerbal (drums)