This was requested and because the artist is one of my all-time favourite composers in the progressive sphere I got onto it right away.
From discogs, briefly:
French jazz drummer born October 9, 1946 at Vaucresson, France. He died on October 2, 2014 at Mainneville, France.
Despite being a drummer, he composed most of his albums and played keyboards on Cinq Hops, clearly his masterpiece-- which was reissued to CD btw. The early albums feature a great deal of the experimental noise and free improvisation that was so popular in those days, not too much drum solos or rather purely percussion tracks, but later when the music is more composed, it's absolutely sublime, well worthy of replacing the old tired works of Bartok, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg (which are so similar, minus the jazz/rock element) that are over-played in concert halls at the expense of brilliant new material from artists such as Thollot. For those who follow the blog, the brilliant Jean-Luc Chevalier I featured numerous times before is very similar, but Thollot stays closer to his classical education roots.
This is my favourite song by him, which so perfectly mixes the classical chamber tradition with the aforementioned jazz/rock (magma style):
(On the Mountain, for Michele, from Cinq Hops.) I'm always stunned at how these brilliant composers can take something as simple as the three first notes of the A major scale as in this song and transform them into something so brilliantly original by not just playing them, but playing with them. Of course later in the song he shows his skills in adept chord changes.
And note that he played with Tony Hymas, whom we've seen before of course a few times here, in the 1990s. From this period we have A Winter's Tale from his quartet, and Tenga Nina.
In the later albums the ambitious composition featuring mixed half-tones and whole tones or tritones is still present, but dare I say it, watered down a little by the generic jazz genre it's being promulgated with, and lacking that intense insanity that is typical of a young musician's creativity (like they say of mathematicians, whose best work is always before 30...) Nonetheless, the old spark of crazy is still present in the closer of 1996's Tenga Nina, called L'au Dela (i.e. the afterlife):
I should also mention this stunning library album sure to make everyone salivate who haven't heard of it, and even those who have, called Hypnose, from 1974, featuring one track by Thollot (sheerly brilliant again), plus Jannick Top, Teddy Lasry, and others. Obviously highly recommended to everyone.