Nov 24, doors open at 2pm: Tickets: goo.gl/2kw53c
I first saw him play when he was just 15 at Royal Academy of music and even then I was impressed by his humbleness and maturity behind the piano. BBC Young Musician Jazz Award finalist in 2016, now 18, his talent and work ethic on acoustic piano or keys continues to impress me. Catch him LIVE on NOV 24, with his trio of equally astonishing young musicians, Freddie Jensen on double bass and Luca Caruso on drums.
Get to know him a little more here:
When did you start playing?
I first started playing music around age 6, and got into jazz pretty early around 2 years later. I was lucky to have some great jazz teachers when I was in primary school and early secondary school and then studied with Gareth Lockrane at the RAM Junior Jazz department for 3 years which really solidified my wanting to play this music in the future.
Was piano your first choice?
I actually started out on drums and violin. My dad used to be an orchestral percussionist and my mum was a viola player so they both kind of taught me what they know and it gave me a perfect gateway into learning the basics of music and how to enjoy playing it! It also made taking up the piano an easy choice as they both played a little, which I guess stuck with me the most. I still love to play drums when I can though.
With Alex’s band every member has a really distinctive voice so I try to write with all of them in mind. I take into account what the tunes will sound like with those guys playing it and mainly what will be fun to improvise over with them as they’re all such creative musicians! With Zeñel I similarly write with the sound of the band primarily in mind, but I focus more on the hype and energy of the songs more than specific musical details. I like to keep the ideas pretty rough, usually just some kind of memorable vibe or idea, because I know Laurence and Zoe will have their own ideas to project onto them that will change the song a lot the more we play it. It’s a cool and really fun process for both projects.
For our festival you are presenting 4 original songs, what are they about and tell me more about the band performing with you?
I don’t know if the songs are necessarily about anything in particular, but each of them definitely tries to convey a different vibe and mood from the other. Sometimes they’re kind of random ideas that just appear and I can’t explain, but more often than not my tunes are me trying to compose in the style of my favourite artists and failing. Whenever I hear a tune I love I always wish I had written it, so I basically create my own version that ends up sounding like myself anyway so I stick with it! The band is Freddie Jensen on bass and Luca Caruso on drums. We all play together in Alex Ridout’s band and played a lot together in Junior Academy so we’ve become a real unit as a rhythm section. This makes playing with them as a piano trio way easier because we all know where each other are coming from in our ideas and playing, and I like to think this projects when we perform live.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d love to carry on with these bands as much as I can and I have lots of ideas for more projects of my own in the future- I just need to crack on with writing some new music! I’d love for my own my music to start incorporating more electronics - I think Jazz is heading more and more in this direction- so I think I’ll start learning more about the specifics of that area to get more proficient and creative within it. But yeah I guess ultimately just be a relatively busy performing, composing and recording musician of many genres and styles. I’m still discovering what I want to become as a musician but I think playing as much stuff as possible is the way forward.
BBC Young Musician Jazz Award VIDEO: