'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...
Tom and I first really connected musically playing duo, having discovered a shared love of the Tony Bennett/Bill Evans recordings as well as John Taylor's work as both performer and composer. It wasn't long until Tom was introducing me to the amazing body of work by Keith Jarrett's European quartet, bringing along transcriptions of some of the compositions for us to work through. Soon we were regularly experimenting with playing in the duo context and writing some of our own music to try out, and I felt that this, along with some deeply insightful coaching from the fantastic Nick Weldon, really improved my own musical understanding, as well as helping the pair of us to gel as performers.
Since then we have collaborated on all sorts, including performing in each others projects and co-founding a trio with one of my favorite drummers/humans Peter Ibbetson, which we are hoping to revive as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Tom plays a blinder on my 'Quintet' record, and we also recorded an EP together titled 'Aubade', which I believe was one of Tom's earlier forays into the murky waters of mixing/production. Having followed his progress over the years, working with the likes of BARLI, I gave him the task of mixing the whole of the 'Fours' record, involving 3 bands over 18 tracks, which I am so happy with and grateful for.
Besides being able to deal with pretty much anything you throw at him musically, however complex, Tom has a wonderful sensitivity and keen imagination. On all three recordings we have made together, there are moments where I have merely suggested a mood, or an 'atmosphere' of sorts in an improvised section, and Tom has managed to interpret this vague direction and create something beautiful, purposeful and imaginative each time. My favorite example of this on the record is 'My Funny Valentine', where Tom, Nick and Corrie all combine to create an atmospheric performance that ranges from heartbreak to heart-warming.
Tom has already released a couple of stunning records, both met with critical acclaim. One is with his amazing trio 'Treehouse' featuring Lewis Wright on Vibraphone and Calum Gorlay on double bass, and the other a solo piano recording entitled 'Slightly Peculiar'. Both of these fantastic accomplishments, along with lots of other musical goings on, can be found at Tom's website:
Check it out!
I'd like to thank Tom once again for his musical and technical prowess alongside Nick Jurd and Corrie Dick on Vol. II of the 'Fours' record. Listen to 'Fours' Vol. II here. Available to Buy/Stream now.