Recital Rooms, Glasgow City Halls, 10th November 2007
Before this concert, I was vaguely aware of Bill Carrothers as a name, but that’s as far as it went. I’ve been missing out.
Carrothers is a superb pianist with a lyrical, subtle style. He’s a very classical pianist, in that he uses each finger individually, rather than going in for McCoy Tyner powerchords or the Duke Ellington piano as tuned percussion approach. Most of the time he played at a volume level somewhere between mezzopiano and mezzoforte.
Much of his set was made up of old, slightly obscure standards dating from the 20s and 30s. He’d frequently home in on one small phrase in the music and build his improvisation on that, rather than sticking closely to the original tune.
Brian Shiels played bass, and Alyn Cosker drums, but this was very much Carrothers’ show. A lazy way of describing his playing would be “school of Bill Evans”, but that would be to ignore the fact that he’s developed his own voice within that tradition. I don’t really understand how fame and reputation build within the jazz world: without wanting to knock Brad Mehldau or Tord Gustavsen, both of whom are very fine musicians, I don’t see why Carrothers, who plays in a fairly similar style and is equally good, isn’t much better known than he is.