Through The Hours is the debut solo recording by London-based, Australian-born pianist, Meg Morley. She is classically trained, and more recently has worked with a variety of dance companies, including Matthew Bourne's New Adventures, and the Rambert Dance Company at Sadler's Wells. She now works full-time at the English National Ballet School.
She counts Bill Evans as an early influence amongst jazz pianists, through his love of melody, and stylistically, through his sound and feel. Melbourne-based pianist Tim Stevens was an early mentor, and influenced her playing harmonically, whilst UK-based pianist David Walters encouraged the rhythmic side of her playing, which comes through on this E.P.
Rush Hour opens the proceedings, the calm, slow beginning perhaps reflecting a walk to the station, before the crowds start to build. The tension gradually builds, Morley’s playing becoming louder and more percussive, as though on a crowded train, before slowing once more, like a release of pressure.
Drift, perhaps as the title suggests, is less structured, and takes time to reveal itself to the listener; knowing Morley’s background, it easy to imagine dancers rehearsing to the music. In Your Shadow is dedicated to a friend that passed away; rather than being overly sad, it evokes the memories of good times spent with a close friend.
Little Miss builds slowly, eventually developing into a gentle swing; this tune sounds more composed, less improvised, and slightly lighter in tone than the other tunes on the album.
The title track brings the album to a close, and was composed in her old Kennington apartment. Again, there’s a rhythmic element to her playing, which reflects the sound of the nearby church bells.
Morley’s website reveals that she has played at various silent movie festivals, and she clearly thrives on improvisation; this solo set demonstrates her considerable skills to good effect.
The E.P. was launched at the 1901 Arts Club in Waterloo, where she also previewed a forthcoming trio recording, featuring Richard Sadler on double bass and Emiliano Caroselli on drums. The new album will again feature original compositions, and judging by the group dynamic on display a few weeks back, the new album will demonstrate another side of Morley’s playing.
In the meantime, this solo recording serves as a perfect introduction to this exciting new talent; the music on Through The Hours reveals new layers on each listen, and comes highly recommended.