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Tin Men and the Telephone
Interactive 21st Century Multimedia Piano Trioclick to share
Tin Men and the Telephone is an Amsterdam based band that employs live electronics, projected visuals, and audience participation in combination with jazz and improvised music to create a one of a kind multimedia experience. Searching beyond their primary sources of inspiration such as the rich harmonies of classical music and modern jazz, or the visceral rhythms of hip hop and Balkan traditions, Tin Men look for the music in the sounds of everyday life, finding melodies in the cries of animals, rhythms in the patterns of human speech or structures in the bustle of traffic.
More recently, pianist Tony Roe (NL), bassist Pat Cleaver (UK/FR) and drummer Bobby Petrov (BGR) have developed a highly interactive show using their very own revolutionary smartphone app “Tinmendo” that allows audience members to actively take part in the performances in real time. Voting on what direction the music should take next, sending short audio or video messages that serve as the basis for instant compositions, creating beats for the band to play around with, controlling the stage lighting, even frantically shaking one’s device to take part in a musical camel race: these are just of few of the things an audience member will find themselves doing at a Tin Men show. All of these elements come together in a performance that is always surprising and flexible, unique to both the venue and moment in which it takes place, and tailored on the spot to the sensibilities of each type of audience, from the seasoned connoisseurs to the curious new comers.
Tin Men and the Telephone have performed at major festivals and venues across Europe and the world at large, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Jazzahead, BMW Welt Jazz Awards Finals, Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Ottowa Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, Moods, Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria, Dokkhuset, Amman Jazz Festival, Jazz au Chellah, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Mladiladi Jazz, Jazz sous les Pommiers, Duc de Lombards, Tremplin Jazz d’Avignon, Unterfahrt, Jazztage Dortmund Domicil, Alte Feuerwache Mannheim, Konstanzer Jazzherbst, Jazzmeile Thüringen, Jarasum International Jazz Festival, Bimhuis, Muziekgebouw aan t IJ, Vortex and many many more.
They have been nominated for the Jazz FM Awards 2016 – Digital Initiative of the Year.
Review Downbeat Injazz showcase 2017: Tin Men and the Telephone, however, brought the most ingenious performance from the Dutch contingency. Led by pianist and conceptualist Tony Roe, the trio incorporates many of the strategies that Jason Moran’s Bandwagon applied when using pre-recorded sound material, matching tonalities and rhythmic speech patterns then building bewitching improvisations upon them.
Tin Men and the Telephone took that lofty concept to greater, more political heights. Focusing on music from their new disc, World Domination, Part 1, Tin Men and the Telephone encouraged attendees to download a smartphone app with which they could guide some of the set list, which included provocative agit-pop swipes at controversial political figures like U.S. President Donald Trump, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, France’s Marine Le Pen and North Korea’s Chairman of the Worker’s Party, Kim Jong-un. The band conceived an elaborate sci-fi game in which space invaders asked earthlings to vote—via smartphones—on which redundant populist leader should be eradicated to restore “intergalactic equilibrium.”
Even if you weren’t politically savvy, their concerts still had much fun to offer as the app also encouraged the crowd to craft their own rhythms, harmonies and melodies, the best of which Tin Men and the Telephone uploaded the on a screen into riveting modern jazz excursions, enlivened by Roe’s percussive yet slyly lyrical pianism, Bobby Petrov’s snapping drum rhythms and Pat Cleaver’s stout bass lines.