Our Editor


Matthew Ruddick

Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
  • 1
Saturday, 29 October 2022 22:49

Andrew McCormack - Terra Firma

Written by 
    Authors Ranking: Authors Ranking
Rate this item
(8 votes)
Pianist returns to the trio format to great effect.

Last week, London-based pianist Andrew McCormack released his first trio album in almost ten years, and the first since his sojourn in New York a few years back. It’s a welcome return to a more jazz-oriented setting, to my mind, as I found his prog-oriented venture, Graviton, a little too angular for my taste, even as a prog fan of old. 

Terra Firma sees the pianist team up with local South London bass player, Joe Downard – a new name to me, and one to watch out for – and veteran drummer Rod Youngs, who never fails to impress. The album is a mix or original compositions and covers, and opens with the excellent, upbeat Brooklyn Memoir, which hints at the musicality of his old Prospect Park neighbourhood, where he was surrounded by fellow-musicians. Clementine Dream swings gently, and has a romantic feel, whilst the delicate Somebody Else’s Song may be one of my favourite tunes of the year.

Charlie Parker’s knotty Confirmation sounds Monk-like in McCormack’s hands, and it’s fascinating to hear the tune unfold before the band comes in. Monk’s own composition, Work, also makes an appearance, and is given a fairly straight-ahead treatment by the trio. By contrast, Dear Old Stockholm, another standard, is stripped back to its basic elements, and sounds fresh and new – a real revelation.

The delightful Cherry Blossom is based on a simple rolling piano motif, and has an optimistic feel, apparently written as we were emerging from lockdown. Sting’s Fragile is given an elegant read, and showcases McCormack’s excellent band – Downard’s playing is quite superb here. The album closes with Prayer For Atonement, an impressive new composition written in the light of the killing of George Floyd. There’s a slight Radiohead vibe on this track, but it works well in the trio format.

Watch the video to Fragile here.

Terra Firma is my favourite Andrew McCormack album to-date. It brings in his widespread influences – from bop, to standards, to prog and pop, but blends them all quite seamlessly, the pianist cleary at the top of his game. Highly enjoyable, highly recommended. 


Read 451 times

Our Contributors


Rob Mallows

London Jazz Meetup owner and fan of ‘plugged in’ jazz.

Simon Cooney

By day a full time Londoner in tv news. By night jazzaholic

Fernando Rose

I love my jazz and I bless the funk. I play percussion for all and sundry and go by @Mr Cool.

Grae Shennan

Laboratory scientist with a love of evolving music that defies boundaries. 

Hilary Robertson

Jazz-obsessed freelance writer and saxist.

Kim Cypher

Saxophonist, vocalist, composer, band leader and radio show presenter. Follows dreams and loves to celebrate great music and musicians.

Fiona Ross

Fiona is the founder of the award winning organisation Women in Jazz Media. She was the guest editor in chief for the 2020 edition of Jazz Quarterly and writes for many publications across the globe.

Wendy Kirkland

Jazz pianist and singer with wide musical tastes spanning latin through fusion to bebop and swing. Cat fanatic.

Elana Shapiro

From Manchester, currently living in Berlin. Lover of jazz, RnB, and soul inspired music.