Performing & Recording Artist

I have 2 projects:

PHIL BEST – Classical-crossover pianist/composer

As Phil Best, I record and perform piano music in an intelligent classical crossover style. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I gave numerous classical concerts, including many highly virtuoso and demanding works. Then after graduating from the RNCM at 22, I started to branch out into a more classical crossover genre. I have since always included my own improvisations and compositions in my recitals, increasingly so as the years have passed.

Not your usual classical pianist

My style of piano playing is very natural in its phrasing and manners – unusually so compared with the standard approach of classical pianists today. This is because I am a fluent musician: I don’t recite or interpret the music I have learned using aural/muscle memory or theoretical analysis; instead, I “speak” musical vocabulary that conveys meaning directly from within. The hallmarks of my style are strong rhythmic structures with an uninhibited passionate feeling of poetry or storytelling, which makes the music highly accessible, intelligible and expressively clear and honest. I also include improvising in my classical programmes.

My unusual approach in classical piano repertoire can be heard in the following albums:

Compositions and improvisations

I consider the music that I improvise and compose myself to be the core of this project. My style is rich and atmospheric, retro-modern, dripping with nostalgia yet influenced by current trends in all genres of music that I listen to through classical, jazz and pop. It is also occasionally a little experimental though never esoteric or inscrutable. Music is a language that I use spontaneously to express what words cannot say. I love to do this authentically, in the moment, without any prior planning.

So the music I create and share is immediate and direct in its communication, especially so when improvising: I love being a musical storyteller, enjoying the risk of not knowing what music will appear to describe what I want to say, or evoke a particular feeling. In this way, music is a source of solace and catharsis for me, a kind of meditation, a glimpse into the infinite. And my hope is that it may bring some of the same healing magic to my listeners.

I have released the following albums of my pieces and improvisations:

PJ BEST – Soul/jazz singer-songwriter & pianist

As PJ Best, I play and sing and produce my own soulful, jazz songs, compositions and improvisations. The subject matter of my lyrics can be anything from unconventional love songs through to social, philosophical or spiritual themes. My musical approach is always to create powerful feelings and atmospheres in an accessible and informal way, using acoustic pianos of all types, ages and characters and electric ones by Rhodes and Hohner (courtesy of Pianoteq) that can generate all kinds of different sonorities from vicious barks to soft, sweet cooing. I also use other electronic, often lo-fi, nostalgic elements – drums and synth sounds – but with a modern twist.

I aim to communicate vividly, creating colourful sounds, intricate rhythmic and tonal patterns and infectious grooves. I like to create a kind of busking, lo-fi feel, despite my frequent use of complex musical structures. Sometimes using a cajon for the beat adds to this unpretentious quality. I also have a genuine love of catchy melodies which I sing in a soulful way. So whilst the music straddles pop, jazz and even classical genres, the style is resolutely unpretentious and accessible.

I have released the following album: 

 

Live Shows

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 strong 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 – 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 excellent portable setup. If you’d like to book me, please drop me a line.