Allen Smith’s Questions and Answers with Cian Boylan

BBE Trio performing. Hugh Buckley(guitar, Damian Evans(double bass) and Cian Boylan(piano).

I asked Cian Boylan, the leader of the Boylan Buckley Evans Trio some questions in an e-mail dialogue a few days ago. Here is how it went.

Allen: What made you interested in playing jazz on the piano?

Cian: When I was about five, a friend of my family used to come over to the house and play blues piano – At that stage I was already tinkering on the piano and I remember thinking how great it sounded and wanting desperately to learn how to do that. A year or two later I started studying classical piano, but I was always leaning towards improvising.

Allen: In which famous jazz pianist were you first interested?

Cian: I think Fats Waller was the first jazz pianist that I got truly interested in quite early on. I wore out cassette tapes of him, marvelling at his virtuosity in stride piano. What an amazing voice also! Once I got hooked on him, I really started discovering other great jazz pianists chronologically from there on which gave me a great insight into how jazz piano playing has developed over the years.

Allen: Which jazz piano trio do you like the most?

Cian: I guess it’s very difficult to pick one. I have my favourites though. I still love the Monty Alexander Trio, particularly the Live at Montreux recording. I also loved the drummer-less trios of Nat Cole and Oscar Peterson which is the format I am using in this current trio setup. These days I love the trios of guys like Geoff Keezer or Brad Mehldau who are so rooted in the tradition but have taken jazz piano to a whole new level and both in a different direction.

Allen: What do you like about the rhythm section of the piano trio you have chosen in question 3?

Cian: The dynamic, rhythmic and harmonic challenges are very different with a guitar in place of the more idiomatic drums. It enforces a different set of restrictions while opening up all sorts of other possibilities.

Allen: From where will you and your trio draw your repertoire for its set at “Trio Trio Piano”?

Cian: The choice of music is quite eclectic and matches our taste in music. There are song picks from country music, rock, pop, well known jazz standards and some lesser known gems. We also perform some original tunes in the set written by myself and Hugh.

The BBE Trio can be heard in the first concert of the “Trio Trio Piano” series on Friday 20th February in the BelloBar, 1 Portobello, Dublin 6, gig commences at 8.00pm.

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