Feature/Interview

In lockdown with…pianist Brian Kellock

Scottish pianist Brian Kellock released a superb solo piano album in 2019, Bidin’ My Time. There are review and purchase links below (*) . His typically modest answer to the “instrument you wish you played” question in this lockdown interview (writes Sebastian) deserves at least one rousing chorus of Carly Simon’s  ‘Nobody Does it Better’!!! 

Brian Kellock. Photo credit Derek Clark

First album you purchased as a “jazz musician”?

Monty Alexander Trio Live at Montreux 1976. I bought it in the early 1980s. I was working with John Rae and Brian Shiels doing a trio gig on Thursday nights at the Royal British Hotel in Edinburgh (we were advertised as The Brian Kellock Trio Plays the Evergreen Standards!).

I can’t remember who heard it first but we all got hooked on it. It was the incredibly tight arrangements as well as the interaction in the band, and it was just such feelgood music. You can hear on the record the crowd going mental for it.

What are you listening to right now?

A mixture of classical music and jazz…

Johann Sebastian Bach (Vikingur Ólafsson)

Liszt Piano Sonata (Martha Argerich)

Ben and “Sweets” ( Ben Webster and Harry Edison)

Live at Hanratty’s ( Dick Wellstood)

The Astaire Story (Fred Astaire accompanied by Oscar Peterson & band)

Have you done or watched any livestream gigs/events since lockdown?

Yes, I recorded a half hour solo set at the Blue Arrow Jazz Club for this year’s virtual Glasgow Jazz Festival. I also did Enrico Tomasso’s Pop-up Louis livestream Facebook gig a few weeks ago which I’d watched a few times previously. I’ve done duo gigs with Rico in the past, at Keswick last year and at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival. But my contribution was pre-recorded. I did spend ages at the start of lockdown researching live streaming and trying to get it set up, but I couldn’t get my head round the technology. I hate playing with no live audience or some fellow musicians to interact with – so I just abandoned the idea and have instead been posting the occasional video on my Facebook page and YouTube channel (BrianKellockJazz).

Most memorable event in your career or education?

The Edinburgh Jazz Festival in 1993 when I got paired off, just by chance, with James Morrison and his brother John and it was as a result of that that I got the call from him to join a new band of American and European musicians he had liked playing with over the years. The result was Hot Horn Happening and two month-long tours of Europe and subsequent visits to Australia.

Also, if I’d never met James, then I’d never have had dinner with Ray Brown!

Instrument you wish you played?

Better piano…

Has this time in isolation inspired any new creative ideas?

I’ve just been trying to learn more old tunes, continuing in my vain attempt to become the Jimmy Rowles of Glasgow…

What are you most looking forward to once this is over?

Seeing all my musician friends, and playing for a live audience again.

A chance to plug a friend’s music right now…

A lot of my friends feature on the new CD To The Jazz Bar With Love, which Alison Affleck  (INTERVIEWED HERE)put together in order to raise funds for the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh as lockdown loomed and to celebrate its 15th anniversary. In its various premises over the years, Bill Kyle managed a club where it was all about the local musicians and the music – so many great memories for me and an extremely important part of Scottish jazz life…check it out!
* Brian Kellock’s latest CD, Bidin’ My Time, (REVIEWED HERE) is available now via Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, Deezer etc or by mail order. Email girlfriday71@yahoo.com  to order a copy

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