Graviton Andrew McCormack, ESKA, Shabaka Hutchings, Robin Mullarkey and Anton Eger
- 3The Waiting Game03:45
- 5Look Up02:45
- 8Escape Velocity07:08
- 10The Time Delay Of Light03:49
Info for Graviton
Internationally acclaimed pianist and composer Andrew McCormack consistently challenges himself to explore new and very different musical styles as an artist. Whether appearing with Kyle Eastwood or Jamie Cullum, with a symphony orchestra or as a solo pianist, at outdoor festivals or an intimate club, you can always expect the highest level of performance.
Andrew’s latest project is Graviton. In simple terms, gravitons are tiny particles that carry the "force" of gravity. It is what brings you back down to Earth when you jump.
For the Graviton album, Andrew has assembled an A-List of the most sought-after musicians in the modern jazz world, all of whom bring something special to the mix. Eska, Mercury prize nominee, joins the band on vocals. Sons of Kemet’s sax sensation Shabaka Hutchings and Jacob Collier’s electric bass supremo Robin Mullarkey are stellar additions. And, in keeping with this extraordinary line-up, Scandinavia’s Anton Eger, of Phronesis and Marius Neset fame, is the driving force on drums.
Their music may be best described as a mix of Steve Reich and Tigran Hamasyan, without boundaries.
McCormack, piano, keyboard, glockenspiel
Shabaka Hutchings, tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Noemi Nuti, vocals
Robin Mullarkey, bass
Anton Eger, drums
Born in London in 1978, Andrew received piano lessons at an early age but could never find the necessary enthusiasm to pursue music. Later, however, at the age of 13, tagging along with his mother to a summer music course where she was teaching movement classes, he was completely shocked to find kids of his own age with prodigious musical talent – this made a lasting impression. Soon after, he heard some jazz on television and expressed his interest to his parents who then bought him a record containing Mile Davis’ So What (from Kind Of Blue). ‘It was like someone turned the lights on. From then on my interest in music, and particularly jazz, just grew and grew,’ says Andrew, and so he resumed his piano lessons, religiously attending classes every Saturday morning.
At 16, he commenced studies at Pimlico School for Sixth Form in London where they ran an excellent music programme. In 1996 Andrew received a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London where he studied classical piano under Andrew Ball and Paul Roberts, as well as jazz piano under Simon Purcell.
Though he had never planned to become a professional musician – he was more interested in film and special effects – his growing talent and skills found him following an inexorable path towards a career in music. Teaming up with two of his teenage friends, Tom Herbert (double bass) and Tom Skinner (drums), he began to develop his bandleading, composing and arranging skills with the musicians who later, on entering the professional scene, would form his highly acclaimed Trio.
Around this time, he began attending weekly jazz jam sessions hosted by Tomorrow’s Warriors at London’s Jazz Café, where he was able to hone his jazz improvisation skills playing alongside a highly talented group of peers including tenor saxophonist, Denys Baptiste and the then core band of Warriors (who later became the award-winning J-Life), led by alto saxophonist, Jason Yarde. Before long, Andrew was taking the ‘dep’ piano chair in J-Life and, in 1998, was recruited by Tomorrow’s Warriors to the rhythm section of the third generation of the core band, and by Denys Baptiste to play piano in the saxophonist’s new Quartet.
Well before completing his music degree, Andrew was beginning to make a name for himself as young musician with a very promising future. He was a semi-finalist in the Best Young Musician category of the Perrier Jazz Awards 1997 and was a prize winner in the Young Jazz Musician of the Year 1998 televised on UK mainstream terrestrial channel, ITV. Andrew recorded on Denys Baptiste’s debut album, Be Where You Are (DUNECD03) which went on to win An Album Of The Year in the 1999 Mercury Music Prize –the most coveted UK music industry award across all genres – and the MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Award for Best Jazz Act 1999. He graduated from The Guildhall with a Bachelor of Music Degree in July 2000 and, in 2002, was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Martial Solal International Piano Competition held in Paris.
Andrew cites many artists as his main musical influences Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau whose contributions have ‘set the standard for jazz piano’. Alongside these he cites J.S. Bach and Igor Stravinsky for their towering achievements and whose ideals in music he shares; and Mark-Anthony Turnage for making him realise that ‘composition is not a dead artform’. Other major influences in his career so far have been Denys Baptiste who was ‘crucial in opening my eyes in terms of what is out there and what I want to do’; former Jazz Messenger saxophonist, Jean Toussaint who, from early on, has always encouraged Andrew and given invaluable advice on learning the music; and his fellow Tomorrow’s Warriors with whom he has covered significant musical ground.
Andrew has performed with a number of distinguished jazz musicians, including Randy Brecker, Courtney Pine, Gary Crosby, Juliet Roberts, Tony Remy, Orphy Robinson, Clifford Jarvis, and Jean Toussaint. He is a current member of bassist Gary Crosby’s Nu Troop and US trumpeter/vocalist Abram Wilson’s band and, since 1998, has been a pivotal member of all of Denys Baptiste’s outfits. He has recorded on a number of albums by Dune Records artists J-Life, Denys Baptiste, Abram Wilson and Jazz Jamaica, as well as on an album by Jean Toussaint (album title awaited).
In 2003, Andrew began recording a demo album with his Trio which he gave to the directors of Dune Records with the intention of getting some feedback and advice. So impressed were they that they immediately called him in to their office to offer him a recording deal! ‘Andrew has been a stalwart of Tomorrow’s Warriors and the Dune label for a long time. He is an exceptionally talented pianist and composer who especially understands and can play the blues and swing elements of jazz. He is also very versatile, being able to compose and perform contemporary classical music, as well as other styles of music. Andrew is a truly fine young artist with a very promising future,’ says A&R Director, Gary Crosby.
To hear Andrew play may evoke the finesse of Keith Jarrett, the soloistic traits of Kenny Kirkland, and the motivic approach of EST. However, his take on piano jazz remains uniquely personal and fresh.
Andrew launches his solo career in April 2006 with the launch and tour of his debut album, Telescope (DUNECD013) in the UK, an exceptionally mature album that showcases his magnificent trio. On selective shows, Andrew will also perform his tribute to one of jazz music’s living legends – Herbie Hancock – by performing his classic album, Maiden Voyage with his quintet, but replacing Hancock’s choice of trumpet and tenor sax with alto sax and trombone.
Andrew McCormack is definitely one of those young rising stars set to be a beacon on the jazz scene in the future.