Pianist Andrew McCormack is embarking on a tour of solo piano recitals, which is expected to lead to a solo album being recorded later in the year. Sebastian Scotney found out more:
LondonJazz News: Are these solo piano concerts something new for you, or is it a format you’ve played in before ?
Andrew McCormack: Although I’ve played one off solo concerts in the past, this will be my first tour as a solo act and the first occasion I’ve really worked on it as a dedicated project. It is something I’ve considered for some time as I’ve really enjoyed the solo performances I’ve done. However, in the past, my time and attention has been focussed on other commitments I’ve had, such as my trio and also the duo I have with Jason Yarde.
LJN: Will it be ‘tunes’ or a continuous improvisation or a combination of the two – or what
A McC: For this series of concerts, I’m going to play a set list of mainly my own compositions as well as a more standard repertoire given the ‘McCormack’ treatment. I don’t quite feel ready to do entirely improvised concerts (like Keith Jarrett, Aaron Parks for example), I prefer instead to take advantage of planning the emotional curve of the set.
Having said that, I want to remain open to ‘the moment’ in all of this and if it feels like the music needs to remain at a certain place or go into unplanned territory then I’m happy to see where that takes me. Reading the audience will also be key in this and it is probably what is most interesting about a solo concert: the dynamic between performer and audience
LJN: Are there particular solo piano albums or concerts you’ve heard that have inspired you ?
A McC: I’ve purposely stayed away from listening to solo piano recordings in preparation for these concerts (although I was given Brad Mehldau’s 10 year anniversary box set as a Christmas present so that has been on a few times lately) but of the solo piano recordings canon, if I had to single one out, it would be Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert as it’s such a crowning achievement. I never get tired of listening to and learning from it and I would certainly have it as one of my desert island discs.
LJN: You’re still dividing your time between NY and London right? Is that your plan, to keep both bases?
A McC: I’ve been dividing my time between NYC and London for the past three years now and it’s been an extraordinary journey of self-discovery and artistic development. I’ve amassed some wonderful musical friendships in New York and I certainly hope I can continue to maintain a foot in both cities for the foreseeable future.
LJN: How does 2016 look for you?
A McC: In 2016, I’m looking forward to more international touring with the Kyle Eastwood band which seems to grow from strength to strength (we played 60+ shows last year) and following a wonderful collaboration in last year’s London Jazz Festival,
I’ll be doing some concerts with the incredible violinist, Thomas Gould, including one at Adrian Brendel’s Plush Festival in August.
My main focus for 2016, however, will be the recording of a solo disc, the music for which is already taking shape and will feature on this tour. From there, I have a lot of very exciting things in the works, which will take my music in new and unchartered direction, with some absolutely exceptional artists who have agreed to join me on my journey.
SOLO PIANO TOUR DATES
January 20th 2016 – 1pm – Pound Arts Centre, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 9HX
January 24th 2016 – 11.30am – “Jazz Matters” The Stables, Milton Keynes
January 24th 2016 – 7.30pm – Omnibus Arts, Clapham, London SW4 0QW
January 27th 2016 – 7pm – Dempsey’s, 15 Castle St, Cardiff CF10 1BS
January 31st 2016 – 8pm – St Lawrence Chapel, St Lawrence Ln, Ashburton, Devon
LINK: Andrew McCormack’s website