In the first of a new series of brief exchanges with some of Britain’s up and coming and established contemporary jazz musicians, we sit down with British pianist, arranger and jazz composer Greg Foat for a quick discussion about his forthcoming second album for Jazzman Records. Here’s what he had to say…
Hi Greg, tell us how the last 12 months been for you? You must be pretty happy with the way ‘Dark Is The Sun’ has been received by people. The vinyl version is already looking like a modern-day collectors piece if prices on Discogs are any indication. Is there anything that really stands out for you?
It’s been a weird 12 months, on the one hand I was really happy because I had achieved my life goal of releasing a jazz record and then it got great reviews and radio support, but on the other hand I felt a kind of numb sense of anti-climax. I realised it was only the beginning and that I had to write and record another record as I am never 100% satisfied and I always think I can always do better. I also had a pretty traumatic time with my ex-girlfriend so a lot of my happiness was overshadowed by that. It has been so completely up and down, extremes of happy and sad.
We hear you’ve got a follow-up record in the bag and ready for release on Jazzman Records… Can you tell us a bit about it and what to expect?
It is pretty special, it is like a companion album to ‘Dark Is The Sun’, with the same musicians, but with more advanced arrangements and a lot of tape echo.
We’ve heard you’ve got Matt Halsall making an appearance on it? Can you tell us how that came about? Are there any other guests involved?
I’d played a couple of gigs with Matt so I called him up and asked him if he would like to be on my next album, and he said yes so I flew him out to Sweden for the session. Matt has a very special sound and sensitive approach to playing which I really like, we recorded a track late one night called ‘For A Breath I Tarry’ and I am very proud of it.
You do a lot of travelling it seems, splitting time between your native Isle of Wight, London and various other Mediterranean hotspots. Does the change of scenery inspire you and if so how does it inform your current ‘sound’?
I have a restless nature, it’s my gypsy soul. I wouldn’t know exactly how it informs my current ‘sound’ but it is a part of who I am. I have a lot of special places and people in my heart and I guess that influences me and the music I make.
When you’re not behind the keyboard, you do a spot of DJing, leave us with a track or artist you’re really feeling right now.
Haha! I post tracks on my Facebook all the time, depending on what mood I am in but here is one I am currently into in a big way.
Townes Van Zandt – Black Widow Blues
Interview by Rob Coley (@robcoley)
Greg will be taking centre stage this coming Sunday, along with his group, as we welcome him as the first of our new Jazz Meet Live guest acts at Floripa. Expect music from his début album ‘Dark is the Sun’ and new material from his upcoming second LP.
They absolutely rocked The Jazz Meet back in June last year when they played for us at The Shoreditch. Here’s a little clip taken from that session with the band performing a composition called ‘Yes You Are’.
We look forward to welcoming him back and hope you can join us.