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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Jazz Shorts 2 - Andrea Keller

I'm guessing that any Australian reading this will know who Andrea Keller is, and others from elsewhere may not. If you don't know her music, then getting to know it will be one of the better things you will do this year. Andrea is a pianist and composer, living in Melbourne, who is rightfully lauded in her own country as being at the forefront of jazz and creative music in Australia. Her output is prodigious and encompasses many different formats from conventional quintet, quartet and trio formats, to more unusual instrumentation and various solo piano approaches, including looping.

I first met Andrea in an almost accidental way on a gig in Scotland in the early 2000s where she was part of a collaborative project put together by two jazz resource organisations, and I loved playing with her and playing her compositions. I asked her to send me a recording of her music and she sent me 'Thirteen Sketches', which blew me away and I've been a diehard fan ever since. A couple of years ago I had the good fortune of having her play on my 'Shy-Going Boy' project, and again it was a great experience.

Andrea's music is multi-faceted and multi-layered. Her playing and writing has a freshness about it that shines through in every project she undertakes. As a pianist every note she plays is genuine and musical, and there is not one lick or superfluous gesture. She makes a beautiful sound on the piano, is lyrical and her music is both completely informed by the jazz tradition while moving outward from that into all kinds of other sound worlds.

It's great for Australia that they have her as part of the scene there, but while showered with awards there, it's a shame, due to the geographical distance between Australia and the other major jazz scenes in the world, that her music is not better known elsewhere. Her output is quite prodigious, so it's hard to suggest a place to start (you could start anywhere frankly), but as a taster I could suggest the sublime solo piano album of Wayne Shorter's music that she made, or the 'Thirteen Sketches' album I mentioned earlier. Here's 'Blue Arsed Fly' from that recording.

Check her out!

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