Living Standards - Zac Gvi & Fred Thomas
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“Living Standards” is the first album by the duo of Fred Thomas and Zac Gvi and represents a landmark in the development of their collaborative work. Inspired by Paul Motian's Seminal recordings "On Broadway Vols. 1-5", “Living Standards” reinterprets the Songbook repertoire with free-ranging creativity, tender moments and a sense of humour. Thomas and Gvi have been playing together since 2006 and are both members of the F-ire Collective. The album refines and concentrates a uniquely imaginative approach to interpreting well-played repertoire from the jazz songbook, breathing new life into songs whose essential beauty rings true through the passage of time. Featuring luminaries of the burgeoning London Jazz scene:


Fred Thomas drums / bass / piano
Zac Gvi piano
Ben Davis cello
Johnny Brierley bass
Louisa Jones vocals


1 Willow Weep for Me 7.46
2 A Handful of Stars 5.08
3 All of Me 3.54
4 Smile 5.05
5 Nice Work if you can Get it 4.02
6 Someone to Watch over Me 5.50
7 I'll see you in my Dreams 4.24
8 Good morning Heartache 6.01
9 Just you, Just me 3.05
10 Solitude 4.07


Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Alex Bonney.


Drawing on their experience of having played together in various contexts (Fly Agaric, the Magic Lantern, The Irreverents), Thomas and Gvi turn their attention to the music that brought them together in the first place – the Jazz Standard – bringing to the feast a wealth of new ideas and abilities gleaned from wide-ranging listening, playing and composing. Focussing on tunes that have been recorded by jazz musicians the world over, the duos and trios that feature on this record endeavour to make their own mark on them, playfully re-inventing them while always maintaining a deep sense of respect for the songs, their characters and their stories.

This record owes a particular debt to Paul Motian, especially his recordings of standards with the Paul Motian Trio and “On Broadway Vols. 1-5”, whose supremely melodic sensibility is a trailblazing vision into both the deepest past and the brightest future of Jazz. The whole approach to dynamic group improvisation on the present recording takes its cue from that Motian's impeccable aesthetic, while in Louisa Jones' harrowingly sincere and unabashed voice there is a strong echo of the spirit of Billie Holiday. In their polyphonic, many-voiced interplay, Thomas and Gvi celebrate the influence of one more shared hero of theirs, Lennie Tristano, whose contrapuntal jazz inventions never cease to sound fresh and intricate.

The recording was engineered and produced by long-time collaborator and friend Alex Bonney (Bill Frisell, Evan Parker) at the exquisite Hawksmoor church St. Georges-in-the-East in Shadwell. What you will hear on “Living Standards” is a group of musicians who know their craft in depth candidly expressing their feelings on the music they love, which is for them at once a fertile playground for creativity, a vehicle of dynamic exploration and an intimate form of poetry. This album is dedicated to the memory of Fergus Read (1965-2006) whose teaching lives on.