Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition

In just over a week, I’ll take part at this year’s NIJPC. My submission to the selection round was a very hurried affair (30 minutes in a practise room with a dictaphone) and so I didn’t get through straight away, but instead got called up as a last minute replacement. It doesn’t give me very much time to get a set together, but in a way I prefer it that way around. I’m not very good at planning long term, but give me a short term goal and I’ll get it together somehow!

The pieces I’ve chosen are Parker’s Mood, as my blues; Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, as my standard, and Tones for Jones Bones as my modern piece.

The tricky part is trying to work out what to do with my left hand. For ballads a slow stride seems appropriate, but at faster tempos perhaps it might sound somewhat old-fashioned (not to mention that I’m no master of it!). Walking bass is ok too, but only in moderation- a little Lennie Tristano-style counterpoint is good, but it’s not going to keep an audience interested without some more¬†variation in rhythm and register. I’ve worked out a couple of ostinato patterns, but inventing them on the fly is hard to do, especially if you’re improvising in you right hand at the same time!

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the experience of hearing and meeting other jazz pianists from all over the world. So that’s what I’m going to bear in mind – I’m going there to learn, not to win!

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