I currently have 3 projects.
Phil Best – classical pianist
PJ Best – jazz pianist and singer
Louie Harrison – Jazzy Soul RnB singer-songwriter
My approach to classical music (Phil Best) and jazz (PJ Best) is very accessible with natural manners. I love melody and beautiful harmony as well as a strong feeling of groove and don’t really like it when these genres of music sound pretentious or academic. I do enjoy complex virtuosity but always avoid hollow display, as I prefer rhythmic and tonal clarity and the expressive intelligibility that this brings.
I always create a very live, unplugged sound, even though I use a digital setup. The range of physically modelled pianos that I play (created by Modartt’s Pianoteq) are truly amazing. And as an improvising musician – both in jazz and classical styles – I always seek natural spontaneity and direct communication. My classical and jazz projects feature mostly my own compositions and improvisations but I occasionally perform and record classical repertoire or jazz standards. This great music from the past forms a solid foundation for my own creativity and skill as a musician.
The way I find my originality as an artist is not to attempt to disrupt the language of rhythm, melody and harmony as many contemporary classical and jazz musicians do, but to express myself as honestly and fully as I can using the language that I know. My taste and feeling for music is of course uniquely my own and this generates an original voice.
I created Hypnotic Piano because playing the piano, especially improvising, has always been a source of deep reassurance and a special kind of meditation or yoga for me. These pieces are carefully constructed from short sections that repeat, remaining very steadily in the same tempo – usually slow – and the same key throughout, to address a certain feeling or state.
As a nu soul jazz musician (Louie Harrison), I am unashamedly nostalgic for the soulful, funky sounds of the 70s. I adore the old electric pianos and the sweet, jazzy soulful vocal style that goes with them so well. I produce my own tracks but try to keep a natural feel: when music is quantised to have perfect rhythm and intonation, it sounds robotic to me. I like my studio-produced music to breathe and feel alive and human. As a producer, I’m a like a kid in a toy shop with all the amazing technology that I’ve acquired. That’s why I chose the name Louie Harrison: my Grandma’s name was Louise Harrison and when I was a kid doing lots of music exams and competitions, she always encouraged me to approach music with a playful sense of wonder.
I do live performances from time to time, both playing the keys and singing (I’ll post details here). I love to improvise and generate a very natural, spontaneous and directly expressive show that is accessible and intimate. Every performance I do is different, as the unique space generated by everyone in the audience inspires my process.
My setup gives me access to a huge range of piano and keyboard sounds. I might even experiment on the spot and play sounds I’ve never heard myself. The software Pianoteq has a vast range of pianos including historic and futuristic ones. I also have a Roli Seaboard which is a very innovative kind of keyboard – or waveboard, so called because of the smooth wave-like bumps of the silicone rubber surface of board which means I can play very organic sounds that are complex and highly atmospheric.
I like to create a close rapport with my audience. So I talk about the music: not too much though – I’m a musician not a storyteller or stand up comedian and music needs no explanation but I enjoy creating a show that amuses, entertains and guides my audience through the musical journey. As well as venues, I also enjoy doing house concerts using my amazing portable setup. If you’d like to book me, please drop me a line.