I’ve been putting off a solo recording for many years; there is such a distinguished tradition in jazz of solo piano that I wondered for a long time what I could possibly bring to that literature that would recommend itself. The joy of group playing lies in the contribution of each individual and how that can often result in something greater than the sum of its parts; in a solo situation, it is an inner conversation that shapes the music. I’ve come to terms over the years with my approach to the piano; my personal harmonic, melodic and rhythmic language have reached a point where I feel confident to let the instrument be my voice without assistance, and ‘Solo’ represents the result.
The music goes back to the beginnings of my career in jazz. Three of the pieces, ‘Coal for Cook’, ‘The Bean’ and ‘The Happy-Go-Lucky Country’ date from the 1980’s; ‘Angel’, and ‘Stars Apart’ are from the 90’s and ‘October’, ‘The Last King of Poland’ and ‘Helix’ are more recent. There are two standards on the recording, songs that have meant a great deal to me. Everyone knows ”Round Midnight’, of course. I’ve been fleshing it out for years, and this version reflects on some of the numerous interpretations made by its composer, Thelonious Monk, and its most famous re-interpreter, Miles Davis, particularly his late 60’s deconstruction of the tune. Hoagy Carmichael’s gorgeous ballad ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’ closes the set. I’ve tried to play the lyric here, one of the most beautiful ever penned.
01 – Angel
02 – October
03 – ‘Round Midnight
04 – The Last King of Poland
05 – The Happy-Go-Lucky Country
06 – Cole for Cook
07 – Stars Apart
08 – The Bean
09 – Helix
10 – I Get Along Without You Very Well