|The Transience CD album design|
Pianist Geoff Eales has a new album out "Transience" (Fuzzy Moon Records) and is currently engaged in an extensive tour with the Transience quintet and other band line-ups. Tour dates below, including Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street on Weds 30th March. Geoff discussed his music with Peter Bacon:
LondonJazz News: Given that the music in your album "Transience" comes directly from a time of grief (In the liner notes Geoff writes: “Recorded seven months after my mother’s passing, my intense sense of loss has very much informed [the music’s] emotional landscape…” and he also refers to the deaths of Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor), it is remarkably free of “rage against the dying of the light”.
Geoff Eales: I’m not sure if this reflects my character but I certainly didn’t want the album to wallow in the depths of despair. Yes, there are sad moments but not too many angry ones, I believe. Anger is such a negative emotion. It is much better to gently accept what life throws at us even in times of deep pain. [The track] Gently Into The Night offers us another alternative to the “rage against the dying of the light” of Dylan Thomas’ poem.
LJN: All music is an apt vehicle for showing transience, but perhaps jazz is the most apt? Do you plan recording sessions quite rigorously?
GE: Every jazz performance should be unique even if a composition’s basic structure is pre- determined. However, some of the pieces on the album have very little to do with jazz. I am thinking in particular of the voice/piano duet of If Only… which has something of the musical theatre flavour about it and the two short improvised piano pieces which I feel are more redolent of Webern and Messiaen than anything remotely “jazz”. And yet I think the spirit of jazz, where freedom and spontaneity is sine qua non, is still there. I love making music in the moment. I am fairly relaxed in the way I plan my recording sessions but it is important to have a basic structure to the proceedings. But as in life, things can suddenly change. Maybe an idea might not be working very well. If this happens you just change things a little. As my song goes, We All Must Change.
LJN: How do you choose the musicians you want to work with?
GE: I choose my musicians very carefully for each project. It’s a case of “horses for courses”. On Master of the Game my trio partners were Chris Laurence and Martin France. They are both past masters of contemporary European jazz. They were perfect for Transience as were Brigitte Beraha and Noel Langley, Beraha steeped in the music of Norma Winstone, Langley in the music of Wheeler, though they both bring something new and important to the table.
LJN: Is it possible to sum up briefly what you most valued in John Taylor’s playing? Did he have an influence on your own playing?
GE: He had a lovely touch, had an incredible harmonic sense and played with so much space and grace. He was a truly inspirational musician. Maybe a little of his style has rubbed off in this album (perhaps it is for others to decide) but I never consciously try to play like him or anyone else for that matter. You have to listen to everyone, absorb it all and then attempt to try and find your own voice. It is quite a difficult ask.
March 18 Saint John The Evangelist 109a Ifley Road Oxford OX4 1EH Quintet with Brigitte Beraha, Noel Langley, Chris Laurence and Martin France www.sje-oxford.org
March 19 York House London Road Stony Stratford Milton Keynes MK11 1JQ Quartet with Brigitte Beraha, Andy Findon and Sandy Burnett www.york-house.org.uk
March 30 Pizza Express Jazz Club 10 Dean Street Soho London W1D 3RW Quintet with Brigitte Beraha, Noel Langley, Chris Laurence and Martin France www.pizzaexpresslive.com 0845 6027017 8.30pm
April 6 Mill Hill Jazz Club Mill Hill Golf Club 100 Barnet Way Mill Hill London NW7 3AL Quartet with Michael Coates, Sandy Burnett and Neil Bullock 020 8207 0471 8.30pm
April 11 Va Pensiero 28-30 Gregories Road Beaconsfield Bucks HP9 1HQ Trio with Michael Coates and Sandy Burnett 8pm
April 13 Stratford ArtsHouse No1 14 Rother Street Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6LU Quartet with Ben Waghorn, Fred T Baker and Neil Bullock www.stratfordjazz.org.uk 01789 207100 8.30pm
April 18 Bexley Jazz Club The Kings Head 65 High Street Old Bexley DA5 1AA Quartet with Michael Coates, Sandy Burnett and Marc Cecil 8.30pm
April 19 The Brook Theatre Old Town Hall The Brook Chatham ME4 4SE 01634 338338 tickets.medway.gov.uk solo 8pm
April 23 Porthcawl Jazz Festival - Grand Pavilion Esplanade Porthcawl Brigend CF36 3YW Trio with Chris Laurence and Martin France
April 27 Dempseys 15 Castle Street Cardiff CF10 1BS Trio with Ben Waghorn and Ashley John Long 02920 496802 8.45pm
May 4 The Woodman Goathurst Common Ide Hill Sevenoaks Kent TN14 6BU Quartet with Michael Coates, Andrew Robb and Martin France 8pm
May 12 The Collection 1 Danes Terrace Lincoln LN2 1LP Trio with Chris Laurence and Martin France
May 16 Ruislip Golf Centre Ickenham Road West Ruislip Middx HA4 7DQ Brian Knapp Quartet with Jim Mullen, Geoff Eales and Oli Hayhurst 8pm
May 17 Baker Street Jazz Club Wood Street Old Town Swindon
May 22 Dutch Garden 27 Park Avenue Wraysbury TW19 5EU Geoff Eales and Friends - by invitation only
May 24 Rhondda Jazz Club Treorchy Rugby Club Treorchy Rhondda Cynon Taff CF42 6PN
May 26 Bonington Theatre High Street Arnold Nottingham NG5 7EE Quintet with Ben Waghorn, Carl Orr, Fred T Baker and Martin France
June 5 The Hawth Theatre Hawth Avenue Crawley West Sussex RH10 6YZ ( solo piano ) 01293
LINK: Geoff Eales’ website