Andrew McCormack Trio ‘Live in London’ (Edition) 4/5

Among the sea of young musicians currently navigating their own pathway on the vibrant UK jazz scene, pianist Andrew McCormack is worthy of wider attention and this live recording which captures his trio in performance at London’s 606 Jazz club from August 2012 is an ideal environment in which to appraise his progress thus far. A mainly original set of compositions impresses with a variety of flavours on offer and a definite nod towards the longer modern piano tradition. In the opener ‘Antibes’, the use of space by McCormack hints at Ahmad Jamal being a major influence on the pianist’s thinking (Keith Jarrett is possibly another) while the bop-infused notes on the piece ‘Two cities’ with its hustle and bustle atmosphere reveals, perhaps, that the conceptual reflections of Charles Mingus’ have been taken on board. One of the most appealing numbers is the eastern-themed ‘Medina’ and here the subtle evocation of far away landscapes is greatly facilitated by the sensitive use of percussion from drummer Troy Miller on the hi-hat cymbals. So successful is the atmosphere conveyed that McCormack should seriously consider an entire project devoted to similar minded themes. Of the two standards, ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ is performed at an extra slow pace in the first part, thereafter the piece takes off into a swinging mid-tempo number with some delightful blues licks on piano. Both double bassist Chris Hill and drummer Miller are on hand to provide sympathetic accompaniment throughout.

Tim Stenhouse