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.