|Dominic J Marshall Trio|
Pianist Dominic J Marshall was born in Scotland and studied at Leeds College of Music, where he formed the first edition of his trio. With successes including a BBC Introduces session at Manchester Jazz Festival, the trio quickly made an impression, drawing praise such as Jazzwise’s description of Marshall’s music as “ultra-hip and soulful cosmic jazz.” After moving to Amsterdam, where he took his master’s degree, Marshall ran two trios – the UK and the Dutch versions – both of which featured on his 2016 release, Triolithic, which was nominated for the Edison Award, the Dutch equivalent of the Grammys.
He brings his Amsterdam trio, featuring bassist Glenn Gaddum Jr and drummer Jamie Peet, to the UK for the first time at the end of this month as part of the Going Dutch initiative, which is presenting musicians from the Netherlands across the UK and Ireland through 2018 and into 2019. Tour dates listed below. Rob Adams caught up with Marshall ahead of the concerts.
LondonJazz News: How did you get interested in jazz and were there any particular musicians who made you think, that’s what I want to do (be a jazz musician)?
DJM: From the time I started piano lessons with my Dad I’ve been into composing and trying things out. I wasn’t as proficient as my Dad’s students at reading music and doing the classical thing. But my brother, who was much more sociable than me, had some friends who were into jazz. He got hold of a minidisc of Kind of Blue at some point. From then on Bill Evans became the bridge for me between classical music and this new world of jazz
LJN: What is it about the piano-bass-drums instrumentation that you particularly like?
DJM: I’ve always just liked the way it sounds. When you have three people improvising there’s scope for each one to do their own thing and the other two to hold it down. I like introspection in music: I suppose on some level the less instruments there are, the more room there is to look inward.
LJN: When you formed a trio in Leeds did you have an idea of where you wanted to go musically or was it more of a gradual development?
DJM: For me it always came from the pieces I was writing. It’s never been static, for example recently I’ve started singing on stage – which was frightening, but the music called for it. In 2016 I had to integrate a synth, which also posed a lot of challenges. Before that I had to switch from acoustic to electric bass, which was difficult too. But in each case that’s what the songs needed so I had to do what I had to do. Necessity, invention, same old story I suppose.
LJN: What attracted you to taking your master’s degree in Amsterdam?
DJM: I liked the city a lot and the teachers as well. As with most major life choices, it was a ‘heart’ decision rather than a ‘head’ decision – it felt like the right place for me to be. Also, without wanting to get too political, I didn’t really feel like paying £9000 a year for my postgrad.
LJN: How does the jazz scene in the Netherlands compare to the UK in terms of work, venues and ease of access (or otherwise) to the European scene generally?
DJM: You can never live in two scenes at once so it’s hard to compare, but they’re both very much alive musical scenes. I’d love to see more cross-fertilization between the two, but it’s already better than it was when I came to Holland.
LJN: What can audiences expect to hear from your current trio on your forthcoming concerts in Newcastle and London?
DJM: It’s not always easy to categorise your music when you’re trying for something new – but as always people can hear music that I put my heart into. There will be new songs from my upcoming albums ‘Compassion Fruit’, ‘Cave Art vol. 2’ and my release on Dirty Tapes which is also coming out soon – some vocal, some instrumental.
Jazz writer Rob Adams has been working with Podiunkunste NL and the Going Dutch programme to assist this tour
THU – Mar 22, 2018 – Sheffield, Bungalows & Bears
THU – Mar 29, 2018 – Newcastle, Jazz Northeast @ The Globe
SAT – Mar 31, 2018 – London, Pizza Express Jazz
THU – Apr 19, 2018 – Nottingham, Nottingham Jazz
FRI – Apr 20, 2018 – Luton, London, The Bear Club
LINK: Dominic J Marshall’s website