The left hand has its say in Derby this evening

Robert Mitchell

Robert Mitchell

Ever listened to a pianist giving it their all and thought: “I just wish there weren’t so many notes”?

Jazz virtuoso Robert Mitchell releases his album The Glimpse next week on Whirlwind Recordings, and is previewing it this evening at The Voicebox in Derby. For the album and this concert his right hand remains on his knee, for this is left hand alone music.

Mitchell is the latest of an esteemed few to take this path. They include the classical pianists Zichy, Wittgenstein and Godowsky, and the jazz players Phineas Newborn Jr, Borah Bergman and Kenny Drew Jr. Apparently Bill Evans once played a week at the Village Vanguard in 1963 with left hand alone because he had injured his right one.

The Glimpse is a beautiful album, often quiet, naturally spacious, remarkably harmonically dense (it’s amazing what a musician of Mitchell’s wisdom and skill can do with five notes), and richly varied in mood.

It combines original tunes, improvisations and a couple of interpretations of others’ music: the Spanish French composer Federico Mompou’s Prelude No.6, and Fred Hersch’s Nocturne For The Left Hand Alone.

The music has a mostly classical feel to it, but there is the pliancy and spontaneous spirit of jazz there too.

It should be a fascinating experience heard live. This evening’s concert is presented by Corey Mwamba, and The Voicebox is in Foreman Street, DE1 1JQ, £7 (£5) tickets  available on the door. More information here.

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