Review : Black Top

Orphy Robinson, Steve Williamson
Photo credit: Roger Thomas
Orphy Robinson, Steve Williamson
(Cafe Oto, September 22nd 2011. Review by Roger Thomas)
There was both disappointment and excitement at Café Oto as Thursday's billing of  Pat Thomas, Orphy Robinson, and Steve Williamson - Black-Top - appeared as a duo. They were  minus Pat Thomas, his gadgets and lap-top (from which the trio derived its name). Pat Thomas had had to rush abroad at short notice to visit his ailing mother. Black-Top are, apparently, already booked for a future trio performance at Café Oto.

As it was, however, Orphy and Steve wooed and mesmerised an audience. In the dimly lit but cozy surroundings of Café Oto it was still easy to notice the coterie of musicians in the house. For each improvisation Steve would do most of his work on tenor sax with short forays on soprano. Over a bed of chords and patterns laid out by Orphy's marimba he feeds ideas that are quickly snatched by Williamson who then explores, digests and regurgitates new interpretations.

I was transfixed, found I simply didn't want to miss anything. I was also told that this was the first occasion in a very long time that Steve had taken his tenor sax from its case and played it. Amazing.

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