Falkirk piano man has found his forte

Falkirk-born jazz pianist Euan Stevenson
Falkirk-born jazz pianist Euan Stevenson

Euan Stevenson may have an international reputation as a top jazz pianist – but his large fan base in Falkirk are always happy to see him ‘come home’.

The Falkirk-born musician makes a welcome return to Falkirk Town Hall next week, fronting his own quartet.

These days, Euan is one of the most sought after jazz pianists on the Scottish scene, something that has led to him playing gigs with the foremost combos and vocalists in the country.

For this gig, Euan is fronting his own quartet, which allows him to showcase his own compositions and arrangements alongside versions of some great jazz standards.

Along with Euan on stage will be a long-time collaborator Konrad Wisniewski on saxophone, Andy Sharkey on double bass and Alyn Cosker on drums 
and percussion.

Euan said: “It’s nice to catch up with old friends in Falkirk. I often see people who have helped me along the way – they might have suggested I listen to Oscar Peterson or Errol Garner and that set me off on a particular direction.

“Something quite small can just be a nudge in the right direction that turns out to be life-changing.”

Despite the fact that Euan is only 33, it is possible that his Falkirk fans could have been following his progress behind a piano for two decades.

“It’s nice playing to that audience – people who might have seen me at Sunday School when I was 12. It’s nice to be playing for them in a professional capacity.”

And because he knows his audience, he knows exactly what sort of music is going to go down well.

“We know at Falkirk it’ll go down well if we play a lot of the standards – the Great American songbook – Gershwin, Cole Porter and the like.”

Euan, who is classically trained, came to love jazz because it allowed him to indulge his love of improvising and composing.

“Jazz gives you the tools to improvise with some sort of logic. I love the vitality and excitement of improvisation and the fact that its never the same twice. For me that’s always exciting when something is created ‘in the moment’.”

It’s also important to him that it remains accessible.

“I like the music we play to be melodic and enjoyable for as wide a range of people as possible. It’s not long-winded – I like it to be direct 
and punchy.”

Following the FTH gig, Euan will perform in Hawick with New Focus, his collaboration with Konrad Wisniewski that won a Scottish Album of the Year nomination last year.

He’ll also be among the first artists in the Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon programme at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre, appearing with Steven Couttes on drums and Roy Percy on bass on September 14.

He will also continue to accompany a variety of vocalists.

This concert is the first in the winter series of concerts promoted by Classic Music Live! Falkirk and is sponsored by Willian Scott, Funeral Directors, Falkirk.

Bob Tait, of Classic Music Live! Falkirk, said: “Euan is one of the most talented players in the Scottish jazz scene and this “homecoming” concert is a must for Falkirk’s
 music lovers. “

The Euan Stevenson Quartet plays FTH on Friday, September 12 at 7.30 p.m. Tickets, £11 (£3 students) are available at the Steeple Box office(01324 506850) or at the door 
on the evening of 
the performance.