Hill Walking On The Tynerside was one of my favourite pieces on pianist Andrew McCormack's (Denys Baptiste, Kyle Eastwood, Noemi Nuti, These New Puritans) impressive 2019 duo record with Jason Yarde. Wonder if either Mr Hill or Mr Tyner make the cut here.
1. Miles Davis - Sweet Pea (6'27" - 6'37")
- Water Babies
(Recorded 1967, released 1976)
"Herbie Hancock has been a major influence in my musical development as a pianist. He really formed a harmonic language quite unlike anyone else had up until that point.
I had this album Water Babies on a cassette tape a friend had made for me and I loved this particular track because of its vibe and mystery. There is something particular about this moment that really became my favourite moment in the track and it’s Herbie's harmonic language and touch and sense with space and interplay. There’s so many to choose from but for today, I’ll pick these scrunchy chords."
2. Igor Stravinsky - Symphony of Psalms (15'54"-16'04")
Igor Stravinsky in 1930
"Context is important as really it’s at the end of 15 mins of many places but it builds and builds and suddenly we’re in a reverie of still light. Beautiful mastery."
3. Led Zeppelin - Over the Hills and Far Away (1'20" - 1'30")
- Houses Of The Holy (1973)
“I heard rumours that the tinkly guitar intro was recorded in a field somewhere which adds to the idyllic nature and contrasts heavily when the electrics and drums kick in. It just works so well plus locked in rhythm section play."
4. Tigran Hamasyan - Drip (4'02" - 4'12")
- Shadow Theatre (2013)
"I think this could well be the album of the decade for me and heavily influenced my own Graviton projects. Tigran is an amazing talent, original voice and a phenomenal piano player to boot. I think Drip is a traditional Armenian folksong given his treatment and the track goes through many contrasting variations and I just love the change in mood for the Coda section. Especially the change in space the piano occupies right at the end."
5. Miles Davis - Prince Of Darkness (3'26" - 3'36")
- Sorcerer (1967)
"Wayne Shorter’s solo on Prince of Darkness. More bible in how to play modern jazz! I love this moment because the rhythms Wayne, Ron and Tony are playing are starting to diverge and dance around each other. Suddenly they all land together with Tony’s “pop” on the drum. Killing!"
6. John Coltrane - Liberia (1'03" - 1'13")
(Recorded 1960, released 1964)
"There're plenty of moments to choose from with JC but this is just the most burning shit ever and I challenge you not to pull a stink face when you hear it. Shout out to Tom Skinner for introducing it to me in my teens."
7. Edward Elgar - Dream of Gerontius (1'10" - 1'20 on this clip,
but c1 hr 18 mins into the complete piece)
Edward Elgar in 1900
"I don’t really listen to Elgar much anymore and this piece overall is quite long and slow (sorry Elgar!) but this bit is blood curdling and really dramatic climax to the whole piece. The main character, Gerontius has passed on to the afterlife and his prayer is being answered by an angel (and demons…another cool bit). It’s very sad and powerful stuff as it goes along. But this is the moment where he finally comes face to face with God for judgement.
Again context is important, as there’s a chorale that builds and builds to the “God” chord and then he sings ’take me away’ at the sight of his maker. High romantic music, still gets me every time!"
8. Miles Davis - Stella by Starlight (1'44" - 1'54")
- In Concert (1965)
"Yet another favourite 10 seconds from this quintet. The whole album really, a masterclass in performing standards in modern jazz. Miles’s lyrical reading has twists and turns with loads of harmonic variety from Herbie. It’s kind of dark up to that point but suddenly brightens as the phrase finishes and some guy in the audience loses his shit haha!"
Honourable mentions to Keith Jarrett - Tabarka (5'24" - 5'34"). "The whole solo really but it’s beautiful amazing piano playing that builds and builds and I suppose this bit is the climax of it. Gives me goosebumps!" and the opening of Miles Davis - So What (0'00" - 0'10") "These chiming chords are the moment that changed my life and brought me into music. Nothing was the same ever again hearing this at 13 years old."