Pavel Fajt

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Since the mid-'80s, Pavel Fajt (pronounced "fight") has been one of the most prominent musicians on the Czech alternative rock scene. As a drummer, a composer, and a bandleader, he has been instrumental…
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Since the mid-'80s, Pavel Fajt (pronounced "fight") has been one of the most prominent musicians on the Czech alternative rock scene. As a drummer, a composer, and a bandleader, he has been instrumental in the shaping of a distinctive Czech rock identity. Back home, he first got noticed among the seminal group Dunaj. Internationally, he is best-known for his duo with Iva Bittová and for his appearance in the film and on the soundtrack Step Across the Border about avant-garde guitar hero Fred Frith.

Born the day after Christmas in 1957 in Brno (also Bittová's hometown), Fajt got seriously involved with music rather late. He began to work as a composer of music for dance and theater in the early '80s and started as a professional musician in 1983 in groups that left little or no trace (Nucleus, Manana, Jeste Jsme Se Nedohodli). 1983 was also the year he co-founded Dunaj, promising to quickly become the mother of a new rock scene in Czechoslovakia, its siblings populating the catalog of the record label Indies.

In 1985, Fajt began to collaborate with singer/violinist Iva Bittová. This project yielded a couple of critically acclaimed albums in the late '80s; took the duo around Europe, America, and Japan; and attracted the attention of Fred Frith, who performed with both of them at the 1988 MIMI Festival (France) (ex-Etron Fou Leloublan guitarist Ferdinand Richard would do the same a year later). The first half of the 1990s saw a number of projects filling Fajt's schedule: the Joseph Boys with ex-Dunaj guitarist Vladimír Václavek, the Vogel Europas, Macaronic Sines with Anna Homler and Geert Waegeman, and duos with Extempore leader Mikolás Chadima and drummer Jim Meneses (the Stickmen, Zero Pop, Palinckx).

Fajt founded his own group, Pluto, in 1995, recruiting singer Václav Bartos, guitarist Petr Zavadil, and bassist Tomás Fröhlich, who would remain a trusty sideman in the drummer's other projects. Pluto brought out the best in Fajt, channeling his heavy yet subtle playing style in energy driven songs that were generally accessible yet always on the verge of something avant-garde. The group's two CDs -- Pavel Fajt & Pluto, 1996, and Tri, 1998 -- stand among his best work. In the late '90s, he participated in the Danubians with Amy Denio and members of the Hungarian avant-rock group Kampec Dolores. He released his first solo album, Drum Trek, in 2001.