Black Top meets Animal Image (UK/FI)

Exploring the interplay of two of Britain’s finest musicians (Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas) with a duo of trumpet and drums from Finland (Verneri Pohjola and Mika Kallio)

Black Top meets Animal Image (UK/FI)


Founded by Pat Thomas (piano/electronics) and Orphy Robinson (vibes), the ad hoc Black Top series is dedicated to exploring the intersection of live improv and the technology of dub, reggae and other worldly noises – using improvisation to explore these black influences but not necessarily from an African American perspective.

Their second release on Babel is a recording made at the Vortex with Evan Parker, so it’s a great pleasure to have them back to create new music together.


Vibes & electronics

Orphy Robinson is one of the major figures of the jazz scene – he has released records on Blue Note and played with Don Cherry, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Courtney Pine, Jazz Warriors and Andy Shepherd.

He has composed for Film and TV- including “In answer to your question” for the Balanescu String Quartet and “ 42 Shades of Black” for Phoenix Dance Theatre,which was performed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Currently leads the groups CODEFIVE- NUBIAN VIBES – he also plays in the groups BRUISE and CLEAR FRAME.


Piano & electronics

Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style – embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill.

“Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that’s immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude.” The Jazzmann


Verneri Pohjola, trumpet, electronics

Mika Kallio, drums and gongs

Mysterious and captivating play can be expected when trumpeter Verneri Pohjola and drummer Mika Kallio join forces. Animal Image, released in 2018, is a soundtrack album to a poetic documentary about the infinite relationship between man and animal by Finnish visual artist Perttu Saksa. Animal Image is a combination of six meditative and extremely intense songs that naturally breathe together in Pohjola’s and Kallio’s play. The musicians have a long common history and a deep musical bond; they have been performing as a duo since 2007.

Photo gallery