Hancock Jazz Pianist – Is he your largest influence?
A fan wrote in to ask who my major musical influences were. Herbie Hancock was certainly a major musical influence during my jazz forrays. Good guess. However, it was Bill Evans that resonated with me the most, which is probably most evident in my piano solo album “Live at the Glenn Gould. I think the media most often compared me to Oscar because of the right hand technique, though flattering, that wouldn’t of been my take on it. However, the critics always missed that I was most impressed by Chick Corea – whose influences slipped into my performances and albums (sometimes more than I’d like)…most evident in my album Wayward. However, I was always attracted to the strong melodic tunes by Brubeck. Melody just does it for me…what more can I say?
The media has compared me to many pianists (including Bach!), but at one point in your career that is no longer flattering. The goal is to find your own unique voice where the critics can’t say you sound like anyone but yourself. I’d like to think I reached that goal now. But without the large influence of those that came before me, I wouldn’t be the performer I am today.
I think it’s a great process to copy, immitate, and take apart other people’s music for a while. Really get inside the piece and learn it. Gradually, what happens is that what you learned becomes part of your DNA, and you can begin to explore your own voice (while always respecting the jazz tradition).
In my case, I explored contemporary jazz, won the awards, and enjoyed a successful jazz career. Life can be rewarding, and also humbling. My journey led me to return to my classical roots, my spiritual roots, and back to melody. My journey into jazz was a purposeful one, only to help me find my own voice. Melody flows in my Road to Santiago Suite (premiers with symphony Feb 18 07 :-).)
I welcome you to explore my website. http://www.paultobey.com/pianist.html