The History

jitr black top

Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas are two of the most in demand improvising musicians on the international open music scene.  Both have  performed over the years with many key instrumentalists on the international music scene, mostly notably Don Cherry, Leo Waddada Smith, Sonny Fortune, David Murray, Butch Morris, Peter Brotzman, Tony Levin, John Zorn, Evan Parker, About Band, The Necks, Lol Coxhill, Roy Campbell, Harry Beckett, Louis Moholo Moholo and Han Benning.

Orphy and Pat first began working together in 1997 during the Butch Morris “London Skyscraper’ conduction tour of Britain.  This legendary tour left the participants feeling exuberant with the experience of improvising in a large Ensemble, paving the way to explore further many other musical possibilities in this field. A group, formed originally by Steve Beresford, Evan Parker and Ian Smith, and later joined by Caroline Kraabel and Pat Thomas, decided to keep the orchestra together to see what could be achieved by organising the band as an ongoing vehicle for improvisation.  Under the direction of some of the participating musicians, this orchestra evolved into the London Improvisers Orchestra and subsequently became the main focal point for improvisation in the UK of which Pat and Orphy have remained members.

In 2002, Orphy and Pat worked together on the large scale  “Nubian Vibes Ensemble” incorporating strings, woodwind and voices to full effect receiving very favourable reviews during its inaugural UK tour that year.

In xxx, Orphy decided to create a new group, “CODE 5″ consisting of Pat Thomas on Piano, ex Art Blakey saxophonist Jean Toussaint, Dudley Phillips on Double Bass and Kenrick Rowe on drums.  The idea was to form a fresh sounding, freewheeling band equally at home with Improv music or extended composition form.  An album of the band’s music will see a release in the New Year.

In 2012 Orphy and Pat formed a new groundbreaking ‘genre busting’ group called Black Top which has, in a very short time, achieved cult status on the European scene with its sold out dates and fresh innovative approach to the creation of new music and extended composition.  Black Top, through a series of concerts with specially invited world class musicians, has attracted a new audience to the Improv scene.

Future collaboration projects with Orphy and Pat include a DVD recording and album in the pipeline of “The Spontaneous Cosmic Rawkxtra” due for a release date in the coming year; a reformation and tour of the Nubian Vibes Ensemble; and a new project called “The Freeform Dub Collective”, a new exciting collective of musicians to be unleashed in 2013.