What did you learn from performing with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and then with Ray Brown?
One of the key things I learned was how to pace a musical set. Both Art and Ray were in tune with the energy and needs of each audience we played for. They could sense if we needed to pick up the pace, or slow it down, or play a “hit” at any given moment to maximize artistic, entertainment and showbiz value. They broke the “fourth wall” and communicated well verbally with the audience. Ray and Art were great ENTERTAINERS as well as great artists – they understood what they needed to do to keep people coming back for more.
The Storms/Nocturnes project resulted in some amazing music. The last album was released in 2011. Will there be more from this band?
We will be reuniting for a couple of concerts in the USA in November, at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and Emory University in Atlanta, GA. I’m really looking forward to playing with this group again!
What can we expect to learn from your masterclass with Gillian Margot?
Our masterclass will cover a variety of topics: advice on choosing repertoire, finding the right key and tempo, setting up intros, accompanying supportively, arranging on the spot, creating original and unique approaches to standards, handling the occasional train wreck, plus our usual candid humour and stories from the road.
What do you think are the most important things a jazz pianist should learn to do?
Learn to listen, to accompany, to read music, to play solo piano well, to be able to play all styles of music authentically, and to keep practicing, learning and trying to get better all the time!
Geoffrey Keezer and Gillian Margot Workshop 2-4pm, Concert 8-10pm, Monday 5th June at The Verdict, Brighton.
Tickets available from Brighton Jazz School.