For the last few months I've been composing music for a new Carole Nelson Trio album, working title Arboreal. Last night we - that is Cormac O'Brien on bass, Dominic Mullan on drums and myself on piano- played a really informal gig to give the new tunes an airing. The International Bar in Dublin on a Tuesday night is the place to be for great jazz. I'm really happy with how it went and as soon as I have some of the sound files from last night I'll post up some pieces-in-progress. Meanwhile here's a picture of me waiting to play (note the pints of guiness and the huge photo of Michael Collins behind me. You know you're in Dublin!)
So I'm starting this series of blog posts with the guidance of my good friend Cathy Fitzgerald, ecological artist and mentor, to give a little more of the story of the creation of this music.
About a year ago I started to think about music and ecology, about my emotional response and my growing understanding of the scale of the climate emergency and the sixth extinction. How could I bring any of this to jazz composition?
I wanted to start with a specific place, my local walk through Clashganny Woods here in County Carlow then expand out from the local to the global. My first trio album One Day in Winter was a pastoral hymn to my home place, reflecting the immediate beauty of the natural world and our place in it. Now I needed to go deeper and express my understanding of threat, of loss, the need for change and all the feelings of grief, love, despair, hope and sometimes shut-down that challenge us all now.
Below is an early piano solo version of Canopy, one of the pieces I'm working on and that we played last night. Canopy gives us shelter, life and protection. Now we must do the same for the natural world. Canopy
Clashganny Woods, Carlow
Would love to hear what you think in the Comments below