FEATURE: Fergus McCreadie (Crypt in Camberwell, 5 April, and touring)

L-R: Stephen Henderson, David Bowden and Fergus McCreadie
Photo credit: Morgan Shaw

Rob Adams writes: 

Young Scottish pianist Fergus McCreadie, who brings his trio to the Crypt in Camberwell this Friday (5th April) as part of a two month tour, has joined the small band of musicians who have had appearances at Ronnie Scott’s and Carnegie Hall confirmed in the same email.

The Carnegie Hall concerned is the one in Scotland’s ancient capital, Dunfermline, rather than the famous venue in New York, but the email gave twenty-one-year-old McCreadie a momentary pause.

“My agent sent a message to say that the gigs at Ronnie Scott’s, on 17th May, and Carnegie Hall later in the year were going ahead and, I thought, Hang on,” says McCreadie, who made a big impression with the judges in the televised BBC Young Jazz Final 2018, despite not winning the title in the end.

“There are actually quite a number of Carnegie Halls in Scotland, all built, like the New York one, from the Scottish-born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s vast fortune,” he adds. “Playing Carnegie Hall in New York would have been a dream come true but I’ll happily settle for a gig in Dunfermline for the moment.”

Fergus McCreadie
Photo credit: Morgan Shaw

McCreadie took piano lessons from the age of eight. He then had a brief but not entirely successful attempt to master the bagpipes before discovering jazz in his early teens.

The bagpipe influence can still be heard in his compositions, which reflect the Scottish landscape and musical traditions, although he remains enthusiastic about his American and Nordic influences too, including Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau.

“Studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, it was impossible not to come into contact with Scottish music and just living in Scotland, traditional music influences you without you even realising it because it’s all around you,” he says. “But the great Caribbean pianist Monty Alexander, who was one of the judges in the BBC Young Jazz Musician final, told me I should keep letting my music reflect where I come from – and letting his music reflect his origins hasn’t done him any harm.”

Fergus McCreadie
Photo credit: Morgan Shaw

McCreadie released his first album, Turas, last Spring and made his debut at Ronnie Scott’s with his trio, featuring David Bowden (bass) and Stephen Henderson (drums), in January. Their May gig, when they will open for the Israeli saxophonist Eli Degibri’s quartet, comes as a result of being promised a return booking as soon as it could be arranged.

The pianist is equally pleased to be playing at the Crypt, however, as it means he will be following in the footsteps of someone whose opinion matters to him.

“One of my piano teachers, Euan Stevenson, played at the Crypt a while back with his group, New Focus,” says McCreadie. “Euan was full of praise for the venue and said the audience were really enthusiastic and attentive. So we’re really looking forward to Friday.”

The Fergus McCreadie Trio plays:

4 April: Bonington Theatre, Nottingham
5 April: Jazz Live at the Crypt in Camberwell, London
14 April: Tron Theatre, Glasgow
25 April: Glenn Miller Café, Stockholm
26 April: Nefertiti, Gothenburg
27 April: Herr Nilsen, Oslo

2 May Jazz Cellar 11, Vilnius
3 May: Philly Joe’s, Talinn
4 May BlygeHarry, Stavanger
10 May Catstrand, New Galloway
13 May Perth Theatre
14 May Gilded Balloon Basement, Edinburgh
17 May:  Ronnie Scott’s, London (17th),
24 May West Kilbride Village Hall
25 May: Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
28 May An Tobar, Tobermory
29 May Aros, Portree
30 May Eden Court, Inverness

Categories: Features/Interviews

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