Monday, 7 September 2015

Take the A train

I've always liked listening to learners. There's something quite touching in the striving for improvement, the effort to reach another level. It's somehow more interesting than hearing someone who has already got there. At the end of year jazz exams we were treated to numerous solo interpretations of the aforementioned Ellington/Strayhorn tune. Here's my re-interpretation of the vocalists.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Phrygian Gates

Last Friday I played John Adams's Phrygian Gates at La Fabrique des Arts, Carcassonne, along with Palais de Mari, the last of Morton Feldman's vast late piano pieces. I'm still using the score that the composer gave me when I met him in San Francisco in 1979 and we discussed the idea of amplified piano, with speakers surrounding the public. I first played the piece in London in 1980 and this was, apparently, its European première, then as last Friday, with amplified piano. The technicians did a great job on the sound, and superb lighting penetrating the swirling mists of banana-scented smoke.

In 1980 I also presented the piece for a Park Lane Group audition, an organisation set up to help the careers of young musicians who wanted to play contemporary music, by promoting concert opportunities. Minimalism was not taken seriously by the 'establishment' back then. Five minutes into the piece one of the jury raised his hand.."Stop! Does it GO ON like that?!"

The original poster...