Conversations

by Paul McNamara

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about

In memory of my Mum and Dad, both pianists, with gratitude for their musical influences.

I believe the learning and study of music is largely an environmental issue and they provided me with exactly the type of early musical environment I might have wished for. Passion, fun, excitement, the joy of accompanying singers, performance, practice, study, concerts, Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff were some elements of what they gave me and for these things (among many) I will be forever grateful.

Quotes

I believe that all people are in possession of what might be called a ‘universal musical mind’. Any true music speaks with this universal mind to the universal mind in all people.

Bill Evans

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious - it is the source of all true art and science.

Albert Einstein

The piano will keep you honest, because no matter what you tell yourself, how far out or how good you think you are, just go over there and give the piano a chance to speak back to you. If there is anything there funny, it’ll sure tell you, but if there is something in there beautiful it’ll let you know, too.

Hampton Hawes


Tim suggested Conversations as the album title. A New Year piece written when holidaying with my friend Schmoe in Adelaide: ABC in form, each time the figure at the end of the C section seems to trigger a new conversation.

Song For Jess was composed in ‘89 after a tragic loss suffered by my friends, the Hollands, in Wilson’s Creek. With a visit planned it seemed right to compose a Bill Evans’ type waltz named for their beautiful daughter.

David Suzuki’s Sydney lectures in the early ‘90s gave rise to Interdependence.The melody is built on a simple, repeated rhythmic figure beneath which changing harmony occurs.

Greg Coffin gave me Paul’s Gift Christmas ‘95, a musical ‘thank you’ after three years of study. A letter said, in part, "This tune is my way of trying to give back to you a little of what you gave to me.” Originally in 4/4, I’ve set it in 3/4: it makes use of a simple melody, strong repeated rhythmic figures and beautiful harmonies. It’s a great delight to play.

Salsa Sally is for my partner Sally, pianist in Latin and Salsa bands. The form is rather long and complicated but keeps returning to F Minor from a number of harmony type ‘set ups’.

Named after a trip to the Barrier Reef, Coral Colours was written sometime beforehand. A somewhat impressionistic offering with the last section of each chorus in 3/4 time.

A Tribute To Mr Kenny Barron utilises some of the harmonies in his arrangement of Spring Is Here. An ABC form with solos on B and C, each section 20 bars long.

A major influence is gladly acknowledged in My Foolish Heart - Bill Evans. While this performance is not supposed to sound like him, it is a tune that he played. It’s also an arrangement that he never played, moving through Bb, B, C and Db Major and returning to Bb.

Paul McNamara

credits

released May 3, 1999

Paul McNamara piano

Produced by Tony Gorman
Recorded by Ross A’hern at Sony Studios, East Sydney, 20 January 1999
Additional recording by Sally Corbett at SoundScape Studios, 3 February 1999
Mastered by Ross A’hern at Sony Studios

Painting 'Red Scarf' by Dave Brewer 1994 (detail)

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Paul McNamara Sydney, Australia

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