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Album Review

Andrew McCormack: Solo

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Andrew McCormack: Solo
A solo album from Andrew McCormack—a musician best-known as part of Kyle Eastwood's band and, in the three years prior to this recording, as leader of the "prog-rock math-jazz project" (his words) Graviton—was always going to be an intriguing project. Would it lean towards the small-band, big sound of the Eastwood group, or would it be filled with variations on the prog-rock math-jazz theme, delivered with a plethora of electronics? Or perhaps it would hark back in its musical moods and approaches to McCormack's debut album, the piano trio Telescope (Dune Records) from 2006? In fact, none of the above hold sway. Solo's sole instrument is the acoustic piano—a Steinway Model D Concert Grand to be precise—which McCormack uses to perform a wide-ranging repertoire of engaging and beautifully-played music, whether his own compositions or reinterpretations of others.'

McCormack recorded most of the tracks on Solo in 2016, before the release of the first Graviton album, then completed this album in 2019. Seven of the tunes are McCormack's own while of the remainder three are Songbook standards ("I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me," "Nobody Else But Me" and "For All We Know") and the fourth is a lively interpretation of Monk's "We See" (listed as "Wee See") from Straight, No Chaser (Columbia Records, 1966).

The album opens with "Dream Catcher," which begins with a pretty, lyrical melody before becoming more strident and dramatic. "Crystal Glass" is another dramatic number, thanks particularly to McCormack's hard-hitting left-hand chords. McCormack's lighter approach is showcased on "Shaper Maker," which might well be the record's prettiest number, while "Prospect Park" is a breezy, brisk, tune, perhaps evoked by memories of a day out in the Brooklyn sunshine. McCormack closes the album with Coots and Lewis's valedictory "For All We Know." It's a melancholy song, made even more so by McCormack's exploration of melody and harmony, which inventively builds on the sadness and uncertainty of the unheard lyric—a beautiful way to end Solo.

Track Listing

Dream Catcher; Crystal Glass; Nomad; Wee See; Adagio; Shaper Maker; I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me; Weeds; Prospect Park; Nobody Else But Me; For All We Know.

Personnel

Andrew McCormack: piano.

Album information

Title: Solo | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Ubuntu Music

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