The Fergus McCreadie Trio played to a capacity audience in the “Piccolo Tent” at The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Obviously word of the talents of the band are getting around fast based on previous performances over the last few years and good old fashioned word of mouth.
I have seen Fergus McCreadie a few times over the last few years, but it has always been with other musicians playing usually “the standards” from the back catalogue music repertoire that still fills the musical canon of so many performers. This is my first visit to Fergus and original work from the Fergus McCreadie Trio. Fergus was already attracting a lot of attention for his skills as a pianist before the trio was formed, but musical colleagues David Bowden (bass) and Stephen Henderson (drums) are making their own marks in their respective instruments too. Collectively The Fergus McCreadie Trio are one very tight and innovative outfit, and if this two hour show is anything to go by, they are going to redefine what many people think of as jazz music along the way.
The trio have an album out, “Turas”, the Scottish Gaelic word for Journey, and this album is really a journey of their travels across Scotland capturing the imagery and sounds of the landscapes around them not in photography or video, but in sounds and music, and the result is a fusion of traditional Scottish, Celtic and jazz music. The trio were obviously promoting their new album at this show, so music from it featured heavily, but there was also music that did not make the album in the sets. Fergus McCreadie is a young musician who is absorbing so many diverse musical strands and re-shaping them into his sounds, and at times a little bit of influence from great jazz and American Songbook composers of yesterday was also evident; the musical spirit of greats like Gershwin is here too.
“Turas”, with music including “The Culearn Mill”, “The Old Harbour” and “Mull” is an impressive work by any standards, but when you consider how young this trio are, one has to wonder what is coming in future years from them.
Fergus McCreadie may be the name fronting this trio, but David Bowden (bass) adds enormously to their sound and Stephen Henderson (drums) utilises an impressive array of techniques and styles to achieve sounds and textures to his playing on so many different levels.
The music in tonight’s two sets can sit just as easily at a Jazz Festival or Celtic Connections. I realise now though, having just written it, that I have maybe done the one thing that I dislike other people doing and categorising someone’s music into a genre. For me, music is simply music. It is always flowing in and out of every genre and knows no real definitions. Fergus McCreadie obviously understands this, but the marketing people out there do love to categorise music and present it to what they perceive as a target audience. The Fergus McCreadie Trio are simply talented and innovative musicians who deserve to be heard far outside the confines of any one musical genre, and it is obvious that no one musical genre is going to contain their creativity in the coming years.
Review by Tom King