Jazz pianist Harry Baker is one of Sheku Kanneh-Mason's collaborators on the classical cellist's new album Song to be released by Decca on 9 September
Universal's online publicity journal udiscovermusic quotes Sheku on his collaboration with Baker on tracks such as 'Lullaby for Kamila' explaining a bit more:
“On this album, I was working with Harry Baker, who is mostly a jazz pianist. We met at the Junior Royal Academy of Music, so I’ve known him for a long time and we’ve done concerts together, including improvisation. It’s been a fascinating process.”
Speaking about the 'Lullaby for Kamila' piece the cellist says “we took the tune and then improvised freely around the structure, melody and harmony. We just did complete takes and I picked our favourite one.”
Back in the autumn we caught a performance at London's Vortex jazz club by a new name to us at that time Baker and his trio
Here's the piece again from October:
So which were the more interesting parts of the first house set from newcomers the Harry Baker trio: the originals or ''the standards part'' as pianist Baker described the latter? That's not an easy question to answer. Let's defer. Because both certainly had their merits and this was a great introduction to a new trio in front of a typically alert Vortex listening audience. Baker has a stellar academic classical background from his time at Oxford University and at the Royal Academy of Music, his style a little Nikki Iles-like certainly towards the beginning and throughout he was strong on detail and showed a lot of flair in his soloing, the building blocks of the tunes largely modal and modernistic.
Double bassist Will Sach who also studied at the Royal Academy of Music upped the ante in terms of soloing later, a double bassist who comes over like a new Dave Holland in the making and was here just as impressive as when first heard by marlbank live at Kentish Town venue the Oxford with trumpeter Alex Ridout back in the summer. When the trio grooved usually the sound percolated up from the bass beat and McLoughlin then ran with it. There were different elements to the originals: the writing of Baker on the one hand, the Gwilym Simcock-esque 'Beyond the Smog' the pick, and the very different style (far more involved and less dreamy) from drummer Oren McLoughlin out of Chetham's and the Royal Academy of Music whose homage to the German twin of his hometown Glossop, Bad Vilbel, imagines a lively contrast to the frustration of home ''where nothing happens''. He also spoke to the audience engagingly if briefly as most of the tune announcements were by Baker. Of the covers the trio's take on John Scofield's 'Meant to Be' worked best, McLoughlin whose role came to the fore quite like Bill Stewart on the 1991-released Blue Note record. Perhaps the trio's future is to explore 1990s jazz even more because this worked well. They also did an easy-to-digest version by contrast of far more recent indie band Big Thief's 'U.F.O.F'. That was the biggest surprise of what was a vivid snapshot of a talented new trio at work.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason photo: Ollie Ali/Decca Classics
Updated on 17 September 2022 sharing 'Lullaby for Kamila' that also features Nigel Kennedy