British jazz pianist Andrew McCormack has been releasing records under his own name across the last 15 years. He’s also a member of the Kyle Eastwood Band, has a regular duo with saxophonist Jason Yarde, performs in a variety of small combo setting and leads The Andrew McCormack Trio.
Solo is a chance for McCormack to feature his own ideas and playing – and to pay tribute to one of his heroes, Thelonious Monk (Wee See).
Much of this was recorded in 2016, then shelved. It was obviously a good project to return to amidst lockdown – even launched with one of the now ubiquitous Zoom-from-home gigs with McCoarmack at an upright playing material from this album and a few choice covers.
As much as he loves Monk, the pianist I hear most in his playing is McCoy Tyner; that lovely, warm sense of melody and rhythm enjoying the dance together, harmonically rich without ever being confusing. Add a touch of Brad Mehldau’s solo approach and you have the best clues for what to expect here.
Shaper Maker is a very Mehldau piece of deceptively searching piano work. And Crystal Glace has that lovely, surprising filmic quality of Melhdau’s best solo piano pieces.
Elsewhere there are jazz standards (I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me) but it’s McCormack’s own compositions that seem to shine brightest here.
Prospect Park is reminiscent of another great pianist that arranged and played for cinema so well, Dave Grusin.
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