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Werkha Live

7PM, 19 October 2018 Academy Bar (Jazz And The City Festival), Salzburg
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Werkha Live

9PM, 20 October 2018 Trumerei (Jazz And The City Festival), Salzburg
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Werkha Live

8PM, 21 October 2018 Gretchen, Berlin
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Fergus McCreadie Trio @ Langtoun Jazz Festival

1:30PM, 27 October 2018 Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy
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STRATA 18

9PM, 6 November 2018 Bar Bloc, Glasgow
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Fergus McCreadie Trio

7:30PM, 10 November 2018 The Corn Exchange, Biggar
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Graham Costello's STRATA

8PM, 16 November 2018 The Blue Arrow, Glasgow
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Fergus McCreadie Trio

8PM, 17 November 2018 St. James, Leith
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STRATA 19

9PM, 4 December 2018 Bar Bloc, Glasgow
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STRATA Album Launch Tour

9PM, 5 February 2019 Bar Bloc, Glasgow
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STRATA Album Launch Tour

9PM, 8 February 2019 The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
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STRATA Album Launch Tour

8PM, 9 February 2019 The Tolbooth, Stirling
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STRATA Album Launch Tour

8PM, 16 February 2019 Catstrand, New Galloway
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STRATA Album Launch Tour

7:30PM, 28 February 2019 The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
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Media

Videos, print-quality images and other media resources.

Awarded the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ Award at the Scottish Jazz Awards aged only 20, Fergus McCreadie is one of Scotland’s most exciting young artists. For the past 4 years, he has been a mainstay of the Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, Aberdeen and Islay Jazz Festivals. His debut album with his trio, ‘Turas,’ has been praised for ‘reflecting his engagement with the Scottish landscape and musical tradition while also showing a firm grasp of the Jazz Piano tradition.’ (Jazz In Europe) He is also a member of Graham Costello’s STRATA, described as ‘groovy yet cerebral’ by BBC Radio Scotland, and of the Mark Hendry Octet and the Matthew Carmichael Quartet, both of whom have recently released their debut album. He is also a frequent sideman to electronic artist Werkha, having travelled to Estonia recently to perform with the band. As well as the Best Instrumentalist award, Fergus is a winner of the coveted Peter Wittingham Jazz Award, the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the year u17s Prize, the Guy Jones, Joe Temperly and George Duncan prizes from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and the Linda Trahan Memorial Prize from St Andrews University. He has also been featured on BBC Radio Scotland regularly over the past 4 years, and has appeared alongside Bob Mintzer, Mike Stern, Iain Ballamy, Tommy Smith, Kestustis Vaiginis, Pat from Hue and Cry, Mario Caribe, Paul Towndrow and Alyn Cosker

"Precocious talent may abound in circles but it is rare that they elicit such a warm and positive feeling...compositions that are impeccably played, memorable and thought provoking by turns." – Jazz Views

“Simply outstanding” – Jazzwise

“A virtuosic technique…high in emotional depth” – Tommy Smith

“Think Erik Satie running on Islay Malt rather than Absinthe” – The Scotsman

“Prodigious, cascading technique while communicating warmth of personality” – The Herald

The Album

Fergus talks in depth about his debut album Turas.


"Most of the tunes on the album represent places that I’ve been in Scotland throughout my life. I think the sense of place is very important. Having travelled a lot of Scotland and being a lover of all things Scottish has really influenced how I approach music and it especially comes through on this album. So I wanted the title to reflect that. I settled on Turas, as it’s the Gaelic word for journey. Just “Journey” would have been too on the nose for me, and I think the word itself suits the character nicely."


The Culearn Mill

This composition was written during an intense writing period at the end of 2016/beginning of 2017 where I came up with most of the pieces. I was fascinated by the tension of going between three different sounds on the same root note (E Phrygian, E Dorian and E Lydian) without a complete resolution in any of them, as neither of them are really ending modes. I also wanted to write something in an odd time signature, hence why it begins in 7, but naturally the piece seemed to want to go to a 6/8 scottish jig mode so I let it do so. I like improvising in the jig mode in particular, as it feels very loose and there are a lot of places myself and Stephen can go in it. The Culearn Mill is a cottage in Balquhidder, which is about an hour north of Stirling. The three of us stayed there for a few days before the album recording to rehearse and workshop the music.

Ardbeg

This is an earlier composition of mine, which I wrote in September 2016. It was leading up to the Islay Jazz Festival and during a practice session I came up with the melody over the repeated bass note idea, and everything seemed to come very naturally after that – I finished writing it in under an hour. About this time I had been practicing Beethoven’s 15th Piano Sonata “Pastorale” a lot (my favourite classical piece) and I think the structure of the exposition of the piece influenced this tune a lot. I hadn’t named it until we got to the Islay Jazz Festival Gig, but while we were playing it in the Ardbeg Distillery it hit me that this was a very special gig and a very special location, so it seemed fitting to name it after the beautiful setting we were in. Ardbeg is also my favourite whisky.

The Back Burn

I wrote this because I wanted to write something that wasn’t so complex – more of a tune for blowing on than anything else. It’s pretty simple (although the melody is quite tricky) and it’s designed to sound like a Scottish reel. This came from the same writing period as the Culearn Mill. It’s named after the glen behind my home area in Dollar, where I used to run about as a kid.

The Teacher

The oldest composition on the CD. I wrote it in late 2015, after having listened extensively to Thomas Strønen’s album, Time Is A Blind Guide. On this album he adapts a lot of Norwegian folk sounds into his own writing, and in particular the track “Lost Souls” really pushed me to write this piece, as I loved the soundworld that he’d created. The reason I called it “The Teacher” is because it’s based entirely on the black notes of the piano, and the first thing I remember learning related to improvisation was when my first piano teacher said “if you make up anything on all the black notes of the piano, it’ll sound like it’s from the far east.”

Hillfoot Glen

This tune came from the opening sound, which is a D7sus4 sound with the 3rd added in, played up and down the piano with the sustain pedal on. I was obsessed with this sound for ages, and tried for a long time to come up with a good melody to go over it. Eventually I came up with the melody on the CD, which naturally felt as if it wanted to go into time. I enjoyed the sort of rolling feeling that was generated on the track, as if one was going for a walk. I got the idea to call it “Hillfoot Glen”, as the start almost sounds like a waterfall in a glen, and the rest feels like a bumpy walk, which the Hillfoot Glen in dollar is. This piece probably took the longest to write, as it was very difficult to unify the ideas together as a coherent whole.

Mull

I can’t actually remember when I wrote this, but it was a while ago. At the time I just wrote it as a straight ballad but it didn’t really work to me. About a month before the album recording I was still figuring out the tracklist, playing through some old tunes, and this one just popped into my head for the first time in ages and ages. I realised that it would work better as an out of time ballad. I named it after Mull as I’ve been there many times, and love the tranquillity of it, and also how dramatic the scenery can be (especially the weather at the coast). The rising and falling of the dynamics is almost meant to imitate the rising and falling of the waves at the port, or the rising and falling of the landscape.

The Set

This is the only tune on the album that doesn’t really have a story behind it. I knew that naturally what I was writing was coming out quite Scottish, but I hadn’t really taken anything deliberately from folk music until I wrote this. It’s a jig and a reel, the reel especially coming out as very much in the folk idiom. I also kind of wanted to have something which was me improvising on a reel, but as if it was a jazz standard, so that the notes were Scottish but the approach was jazz. I think this is probably the closest it gets to trad music on the album.

The Old Harbour

This tune came from an obsession I was having with really basic harmony, where I just took triad shapes and moved them through the diatonic scale. The tune completely comes from that. In order to keep it interesting however, I’ve put in a couple of key changes, but the concept stays the same. I also enjoyed this feeling of it sounding really simple, but actually being quite complex – it feels like it’s in four, but actually on the page it’s in 6, with a couple of exceptions. It’s probably the hardest tune to improvise on in the CD, because of this need for it to be simple while actually not being so. I named it after an old abandoned harbour in Anstruther, where I was staying for a few days – it looked tranquil, even in its abandonment.

My writing process usually is nothing more than me sitting at the piano messing about with an idea, until it morphs into something more than that. Each of these tunes has come from a sound or a concept that I’ve been messing around with, until it’s taken shape. I usually don’t name tunes until after I’ve finished them – I like to take my time with naming the pieces, so that I really know where they’ve come from and what they remind me of in my life.

Latest News

  • Oslo Jazz Festival

    Oslo Jazz Festival

    Not long back from Oslo Jazz Festival! What an incredible experience - not only was it lovely to play to some lovely audiences (encores at both gigs!) but myself, David and Stephen saw some great bands as well. Fred Hersch, Jon Christensen and Seamus Blake were some of the more famous names that were great to see, but we also saw and hung out with, among others: Juno, Britta Virves Trio, Bangkok Lingo, General Post Office and Hvalfugl. All of them so great, and so different! An inspiring meeting with Fred Hersch where we got to have a drink and talk about music was a highlight of the trip - he's an incredible musician.

    Looking forward, the next thing in the diary is Matt Carmichael's Quartet Tour, visiting four different places. Looking forward to going on the road with these guys, Matt's music is super fun to play and the energy is always great. Then after that it's the Islay Jazz Festival - I'm looking forward to playing a trio set there, but also will be great to play with Graham Costello's Strata and the Stephen Henderson band. For the first time, I'm also playing in duo with Tommy Smith, which is very exciting! You can find out more here - http://www.islayjazzfestival.co.uk/programme.html.

    In October/November, I'll be heading out for some more trio dates across Scotland, as well as going to Berlin and Salzburg with Werkha for the first time. Hopefully see some of you out on the road in the coming months!

    Fergus

  • Scottish Jazz Awards 2018

    Scottish Jazz Awards 2018

    I was delighted to find out on Sunday that I'd been selected as Best Instrumentalist of the Year at the Scottish Jazz Awards - a really massive honour. I was in alongsidesome pretty hefty company, such as Alyn Cosker, Brian Kellock and Konrad Wisniewski - and even my good friend Graham Costello. So even to have been included in that list of names was special - never mind recieving the award itself.

    I couldn't be there on the evening unfortunately - but thankfully my trio-mate David Bowden was there to collect it for me. He did a little interview with BBC Radio Scotland from the event - if you're reading this from within a month of posting, you should be able to listen at an hour and 22 minutes here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b5826m

    There were some other very worthy winners that night (although every nominee would have been highly deserving), who I'm lucky to call friends. Luca Manning bagged the Rising Star Award, which is definitely well deserved, as he really is on the rise as one of Scotlands best singers. Alan Benzie got the album award for his recent album, which is absolutely fantastic and highly recommended - and Seonaid Aitken got double lucky by winning best singer and best band (for Rose Room). A good night all round!

    The album is not long out too - you can still check it out on Spotify or iTunes. I'm trying to up the follower count on my Spotify page so if you had a spare ten seconds to press the follow button, that would be amazing! https://open.spotify.com/artist/5Yb1aFMX9xNtjFVDSdt2ZL As a trio we had a very enjoyable gig at the Glasgow University lunchtime concerts - you can catch us next at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival - http://www.edinburghjazzfestival.com/2018-programme.html. See you soon!

  • Summer Festival Dates

    Summer Festival Dates

    I’m delighted to have some exciting shows in for this summer – mainly at the Glasgow and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals. First up in the Glasgow Jazz Festival is actually slightly outside of the Festival, playing with Graham Costello’s Strata on the 18th of June in support of Sarathy Korwar. at the Hug and Pint. I’m excited for what Graham’s got in store for this band as he’s just secured a grant to record the debut album, so watch this space for updates

    Then it’s on to the 20th where I’m playing in the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year final, alongside some great competitors who are also really good friends of mine, so I think that’ll be a great night. Then on the 21st I’m playing with the great singer Luca Manning, who I always enjoy playing with, and on the 24th I’m playing Hug and Pint again with Werkha - a few recent gigs with him have been really good so I’m excited to see how this project develops.

    June also brings the Scottish Jazz Awards 2018, which is happening on the 3rd of June. I’m honoured to have been nominated alongside some stellar musicians in the categories of Rising Star and Best Instrumentalist. The public vote opened a few days ago, and you can still cast your vote here - http://www.jazzfest.co.uk/awards/. Any support you can give would be highly appreciated!

    Then in the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, I’m looking forward to 2 trio gigs, one on the 14th and one on the 21st of July. We’re not long off having released our album, so it’ll be great to get about during the festival with the record. The 14th will be part of a showcase with the Mark Hendry Octet (with whom I’m also playing) and Luca Manning – so it’ll be a fantastic evening of music. The 21st is just our own gig, in one of the George Square tents. It’d be lovely to see you at either of these dates.

    I’m also very excited to be playing in a very special new project for the festival – they’ve commissioned the great bassist and composer Mark Hendry to write a new suite of music for extended ensemble, including orchestral instruments. I’m very interested to see what he brings out – Mark is quite the compositional force and he’s definitely someone to watch out for in the scene. That’s on the 20th of July.

    I’m also playing with Matthew Carmichael Quartet on the 13th July, with Joe Williamson and Ben McDonald in a special tribute to Wes Montgomery on the 15th, and with Graham Costello’s Strata again on the 18th. Looking forward to being out and playing this summer – hopefully catch you at one or more of these dates!

    Glasgow Jazz Festival - http://www.jazzfest.co.uk/

    Edinburgh Jazz Festival - http://www.edinburghjazzfestival.com/2018-programme.html

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