Dorian Ford

But when is music “Music”? Perhaps it would be best not to aim so high and be content with just making music (so to speak). Nevertheless I am keen to find the right balance between the formal/informal (or art/popular) when performing or indeed practicing piano. So in this somewhat formal situation of a recital I would like to actually play (or maybe perform) what I practice. What do I practice? It’s a combination of notated, semi-notated (chord structures and melodies) and freely improvised (metric and non-metric, tonal and atonal) music: Interpretations, renditions and improvisations. Tonight will include Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Prokofiev, Schoenberg and songs from folk music and the American Songbook. The choice of what to play and when will be somewhat free flowing: to paraphrase Miles Davis, I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later. I aspire to the condition of Charles Ives’ music (articulately described below by pianist Tamara Stefanovich) but fully appreciate that it may never be realised!

I'll be playing this solo piano recital on 6th December 2016 at Burgh House, Hampstead.

I'm very much looking forward to playing in Australia and Japan with artist Tim Maguire and bassist Mao Yamada in November 2017.  We'll be playing at Tim's show in Newcastle, Beppu Art Month in Japan, as well as other dates in both countries.

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detail from Tim Maguire's Kinglake Panorama.  See more of Tim's work at www.tim-maguire.com

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Over the last eight weeks I've been collaborating with a talented and inspirational group of choreographers, performers and musicians, including choreographers and dancers Bethan Peters, Maria Ghoumrassi; percussionist/vocalist Jimmy Cannon; and vocalist Natasha Lohan on a project culminating in a performance at the National Maritime Museum. Entitled 'We May Be Some Time,' it was part of Travellers Tales, and Greenwich Dances 2016.  A dancer's own internal narrative and natural process of repeating and transforming motifs and gestures is in direct communication with the improvising musician and this needn't be something esoteric and abstract at all.  Included were sea shanties, tonal and groove based improvisations and atonal and non-metric playing too, as well as free group singing and intoning.  Just before we started our performance, Matt, one of the dancers said, 'Keep looking.'  It was a note to the dancers, but I found myself looking and listening with equal intention, and re-discovering how a point in space is the same whether you see it or hear it.  Moments of silence and stillness carry almost more importance than the impulse to move and make noise.  I'm reminded that to prepare for the unprepared, requires a lot of preparation.  

Delighted to be included in Yasukuni Terashima's popular CD series Jazz Bar.  My trio's version of Sleep Safe and Warm sits alongside a fantastic roster of artists, with contributions from Palle Danielsson, Joe La Barbera, and John Guerin amongst many others on Yasukuni Terashima's Jazz Bar 2015, put out by DiskUnion.  Japanese friends, check it out.  

Jazz Bar 2015

Looking forward to presenting my collaboration with visual artist Tim Maguire.  We've made a DVD featuring his video art and my solo piano improvisations.  

This is my first solo piano recording since 2002, and so I'm supposed to say what is 'new' and 'different' about this recording in comparison.  Perhaps talk about how I've been influenced by developments in music and how my approach to improvising freely at the piano has changed with these developments.  And at the very least, if my appoach, conception and method have stayed the same, how my technique has evolved and so on.  

But what I really think I'm doing is playing so I can remember what is important.  Or remember what is important to me at any rate.

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To The Surface will be performed with live piano improvisation and projected film from the DVD on November 22nd at St James Studio Theatre at 3pm.

Looking forward to playing at this year's Manchester Jazz Festival with my quartet.  This will be our first appearance at the festival.  I'll be playing with Fulvio Sigurtá, Steve Berry, and Winston Clifford on Tuesday July 22nd at 2:30pm at the Twaites Festival Pavilion.  Manchester Jazz Festival says:

"An authentic British/European sound that understands the American jazz underpinnings of the music, occupying the space between notation and improvisation; friendly grooves and natural interplay inspired by popular song, folk, improvisation and be-bop." 

Here's a link to the festival page: http://www.manchesterjazz.com/2014/dorian-ford-quartet/ 

Later that week we'll be playing at the St James Theatre in London on Friday 25th July

I love this film made by Judy Goldhill.  Featuring my improvised piano music; beautifully shot; and sensititvely performed by dancer Jumeee.

Sun Body from Sophie Trott on Vimeo.

 

Bebo - Dan Bosshardt Quintet 1990

 

Looking forward to a busy London Jazz Festival week.  I'll be playing in three gigs at the festival and then escaping to Sussex at the end.

This Saturday I'll be playing at the Southbank in my duo with Johnny Phillips at 2pm.  This is a free gig, so pop in if you're in town.  It's part of a presentation by F-ire collective, so there's lots of free music to hear that day.

Then on Wednesday 20th, I'll be hosting an evening at the St James Theatre.  Featuring three great singers, Carol Grimes, Mark Jennett and Anita Wardell, plus guests and the band is me, Neville Malcolm and Winston Clifford.  If you haven't visited the St James in Victoria yet, it's a good time to visit.

On Thursday 21st I'll be playing at Lauderdale House with Carol Grimes, Annie Whitehead, Neville Malcolm and Winston Clifford.  Looking forward to playing a gig down the road in Highgate.

Then, if you fancy a trip out of London, I'll be playing at the Westgate Chapel in Lewes with my quartet (Fulvio Sigurtá, Steve Rose, Winston Clifford), hosted by the Oyster Project.

This summer I was commissioned by the internationally renowned Australian artist Tim Maguire to record some solo improvisations for a film about his work.  

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A long time in the making, this live double album, was a family affair, with art work by Carol's daughter Kasia, recording and mixing by my brother in law Jono Trott, and mastering by Carol's long time friend, Mark Hewins, a regular feature on tour with Lou Reed.

We've won a PRSF Jazz services promoter award for our Key Composers series at the St James Studio Theatre.

Had a great time teaching at Cazes-Mondenard's 'Jazz Camp' this Summer.  Piano students worked with me, and the excellent rhythm section of Mao Yamada (bass), and Arnaud Delafosse (drums).  Vocal students worked with the lovely Sonia Jones.  Here are some pictures.

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