Andrew McCormack, Solo

There is a certain monastic quality about a solo piano record. You have to be in the right mood to listen to one. Any pianist sitting down at the stool does so in the shadow of Keith Jarrett, the master of the form. The difficulty everyone faces is …

Published: 28 Jun 2020. Updated: 7 days.

There is a certain monastic quality about a solo piano record. You have to be in the right mood to listen to one.

Any pianist sitting down at the stool does so in the shadow of Keith Jarrett, the master of the form. The difficulty everyone faces is to carve out their own distinctive sound away from that singular vision.

Andrew McCormack, usually heard in very different circumstances with bassist leader Kyle Eastwood, does just that as he delves deep into melodic invention and oblique development. There is a warmth to this record which is sometimes absent on his previous albums and the pianist manages to not overpower the listener with the sheer and often impressive impact of his classically grounded technique but instead opens our ears to his ideas and improvisational journey. Orginals sit nicely with sentimental choices such as 'For All We Know'.

McCormack doesn't really have anything to prove in a stellar career so far and you get a sense that he is now in his prime and it's an exciting sound that has passion and imagination in plenty.

Out now on Ubuntu.

Tags: 2020 best so far tracks / albumsAlbum reviews

Freddy Cole has died

Sad to hear of the death of Freddy Cole at the age of 88. There are few details so far but the traditional jazz site The Syncopated Times has reported his death. A fine crooner, the brother of Nat King Cole he was a frequent visitor to London and …

Published: 28 Jun 2020. Updated: 7 days.

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Sad to hear of the death of Freddy Cole at the age of 88. There are few details so far but the traditional jazz site The Syncopated Times has reported his death. A fine crooner, the brother of Nat King Cole he was a frequent visitor to London and often played the Pizza Express Jazz Club. I only heard him once back in 2010 playing the Soho club and as as I wrote in Jazzwise at the time it was an evening of wonderful songs delivered in a style few could ever hope to match. The two sets included songs from his High Note albums The Dreamer In Me: Live At Dizzy’s Club and the new Freddy Cole Sings Mr B [as in Eckstine]. Billy Eckstine’s big band in the 1940s featured a who’s who of great jazz musicians including famously Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie with Sarah Vaughan adding vocals and top arrangers such as Tadd Dameron writing the charts. Freddy was a class act and will be much missed.