Top awards for two London jazz improvisors

Shabaka Hutchings and Pat Thomas

Reed man Shabaka Hutchings and free jazz pianist Pat Thomas have won this year’s Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards.

Two British jazz musicians have won a top prize. Clarinettist and saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and free jazz pianist Pat Thomas have won this year’s Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards. 

The Foundation is a leading British grant-awarding organization focussing on innovators in arts, education, and social inclusion. The awards, now in their 20th year, seek to recognise artists at “a timely moment in their careers” providing support to allow freedom to further develop their ideas and innovations. A monetary prize of £50,000 is paid over a period of three years.

English born and raised up in Barbados, the tall and imposing stature of Shabaka Hutchings has been in the British jazz limelight for several years having been involved in numerous high profile projects. These include his MOBO award winning band Sons Of Kemet and invited sit-in member of Marshall Allen’s legendary Sun Ra Arkestra, to name just two.

Pat Thomas is a leading improvisational musician, notable for his deep and complex use of technologies and free jazz performances. A multi-instrumentalist, Thomas was classically trained on piano as a child but switched to jazz. He is also uncannily similar to one of his heroes, Thelonius Monk, who he has played in a stage show produced by Filomena Campus. Today Pat Thomas is a member of genre bending improvisational band Black Top with Orphy Robinson.

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