Fergus McCreadie, Sketches Review
by Jeff Becker
Fergus McCreadie’s latest digital EP, Sketches, is a masterful demonstration of pure pianistic expression, showcasing the artist’s profound depth and versatility. This 5-track EP, steeped in the tradition of improvisational jazz, presents McCreadie at his most genuine, echoing the deep influence of jazz legend Keith Jarrett.
Sketches commences with “Chorale,” a piece that exemplifies introspective improvisation. McCreadie’s emotive piano touch is immediately evident, as he explores and expands upon a simple theme with an evolving harmonic landscape. This track stands out for its organic quality; the listener can hear the subtle sounds of the piano and McCreadie’s movements, creating an almost tangible presence, as if one were sitting beside the artist. The climactic intertwining of harmonies and counterpoint lines is emotionally compelling and technically impressive.
“Eb Major” shifts the mood with its up-tempo ostinato, allowing McCreadie to showcase his improvisational prowess. The groove is lively and buoyant, drawing from the rich European jazz tradition. McCreadie’s skill in layering and texturing gives the track a sense of direction and flow that is engaging and intellectually stimulating.
In contrast, “B Minor” delves into the moody nuances of minor tonalities. Here, McCreadie uses a grounding ostinato and a simple theme to focus the improvisation, building the piece melodically to a defined climax before relaxing into a satisfying conclusion. The dynamics of this track highlight McCreadie’s ability to navigate emotional landscapes with finesse and control.
“Glade” revisits a composition from McCreadie’s critically acclaimed album, Forest Floor. This track is a testament to his creative evolution, showcasing the haunting beauty and complexity that have earned him a spot among the elite in improvisational jazz.
Sketches is a journey through McCreadie’s musical psyche. As his first solo recording, it marks a significant milestone in his career. The upcoming UK tour, where McCreadie will perform pieces from this EP, promises to be a captivating showcase of his talent.
Overall, Sketches is a profound statement of McCreadie’s artistic identity. It is an invitation into an intimate, unadulterated world of piano music, where each note, each pause, speaks volumes. McCreadie continues to push the boundaries of jazz, affirming his place as a visionary artist in the modern musical landscape.