Marc Hannaford Photo: Des White

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Highly regarded as one of Australia’s most exciting improvising pianists, Marc Hannaford is bringing his New York-born trio back home to Sydney for a one night only performance.

Known for his contemporary and innovative approach to composition and improvisation Hannaford was recognised by the Music Trust as an artist who’s talent should be fostered. As such Hannaford was awarded the prestigious Freedman Fellowship in 2013, which he described as “an amazing and surreal experience.”

After receiving the award and funding which accompanied it Hannaford was able to uproot his life and relocate to New York in order to pursue a PhD at Columbia University. Whilst many jazz musicians have lofty dreams of living and performing in New York Hannaford was aware that these needed to be tempered in order to truly be both happy and successful.

“I do not want to downplay the excitement that I felt before my move, the somewhat surreal reality of living in this city, and the amazing experiences that I have had here, but I try to avoid falling into a romantic, idealised notion of what constitutes success in this scene. Moving here further reinforced my conviction that for me artistic fulfilment comes with following my idiosyncratic interests, rather than craving attention or recognition, or even feeling like I need to fulfil some set of criteria before I am allowed to ‘make it.’”

Fulfilment for Hannaford has come in the form of his exciting new trio outfit. Alongside fellow collaborators, electric bassist Simon Jermyn and drummer Satoshi Takeishi the group navigates Hannaford’s original compositions, which encompass driving loops, morphing textures, and surprising melodic twists. 

The trio first came together through mutual friends but quickly formed a bond over their musical philosophies.

“I formed the group partly in response to the transience of the New York music scene. My compositions are difficult to play, so getting to a point where we can really make music together requires a certain investment that can be difficult to locate in a scene where a lot of people are hustling to make the next gig, tour, or recording. We got together to learn and workshop my music for the sake of improving our musicianship, rather than with a specified performance or recording date in mind. This attitude allowed us to take our time with the music and to let it develop into something that feels and sounds organic, rather than forced.”

Over the course of the past five years, the trio has developed into a special force in the world of jazz, which they are excited to introduce to Sydney audiences.

“I am very excited to bring this group and repertoire to Australia,” said Hannaford before adding, “I am really looking forward to introducing Australian audiences to what we have developed together.”

Aug 8. The Newsagency, 74-76 Pyrmont Bridge Road, Camperdown. $20-$35+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.thenewsagencyvenue.com