Carolyn Hume Solo
Carolyn Hume Solo
Carolyn Hume is a pianist and composer, releasing 2 solo albums on Leo Records. Her compositions include writing for cello and coral vocals, and has worked with Oliver Coates and Sonja Galsworthy on her album Gravity and Grace.
For 26 years she has been in the duo Hume & May with Paul May, they have released 6 duo albums with a 7th to be released in March 2024.
She is also a member of Fourth page with Paul May and Charlie Beresford, they have released 5 albums with a new album to be released in Spring 2024.
She has performed solo in the UK and Europe.
Gravity and Grace
‘THE WIRE’ Jan 09
Pianist Carolyn Hume is best known for the series of albums she cut with percussionist Paul May that took in aspects of European improvisation, chamber music and classic jazz. This is her second solo recording for Leo, though the first to present her talents as arranger and songwriter. Hume’s music has always been characterised by a particularly Anglo-Saxon type of Weltschmertz. the melancholy of an AE Housman, Denton Welch or WG Sebald and ‘Gravity and Grace’ presents a series of settings for piano, cello and voice that feel closer in atmosphere to the tradition of a dreamtime Albion as imagined by John Tavener, Kate Bush and Coil than any of her earlier, more jazz based recordings.
Hume’s piano playing is evocative without ever being sentimental, sounding slow,hymnal chords and ascending melodies beneath Sonja Galsworthy’s rapturous vocal and Oliver Coates’s cello “tommy 1940” feels like a requiem for the English Neverland that British soldiers left behind during the Second World War, and seems to echo the English artist Louis Wain’s Tommy Catkins character, the eternal boy soldier,dreaming of England while serving at the front.
Despite the slightly portentous atmosphere,Hume never relies on simplistic eulogy, and her background in improvisation means that she is able to deconstruct melodies and provide a degree of emotional shading that is complex and unresolved while still connecting with traditions of English devotional music. It feels like a step forward, a moving away from the looser, improvised style of her previous releases and a connection to something that feels more personally sourced, something that, in retrospect, her playing always hinted at.
As it is, Gravity and Grace announces an arresting new voice in contemporary English composition.
‘Hume weaves impressionistic textures reminiscent of Debussy’
CHRISTIAN CAREY “SPLENDID”
‘haunting songs that scream for a spot in a movie soundtrack’
FRANCOIS COUTURE “AMG”
‘intriguing and often haunting’
ANDY HAMILTON “JAZZREVIEW”
Review of ‘Solo Piano Works’
Jean Buzelin – Jazzman Magazine
**** Like the Dusk
Separated from her drummer Paul May who accompanied and guided her in their dream-like musical journeys, the English pianist Carolyn Hume, after four Cds in duo, is confronted with herself. Irredeemably alone. On the edge of the abyss. The risk was great, not so much of sinking into, as of abandoning herself to her metaphysical torments.
Across nine pieces, developed in a generally sombre tone, played with a great economy of style and without the least effect – somewhere between Satie and Mal Waldron – and in an atmosphere of misty landscape worthy of the films of Dreyer, Sjostrom or Bergmann, Carolyn Hume floats. She goes to the meeting place of infinity, nothingness and tragedy; that which puts itself deeper than being; but she doesn’t illustrate it, doesn’t comment.‘Restraint’, ‘obsession’, ‘absence’, ‘silence’ ‘winter’, ‘solitude’ and ‘madness’ . . . are some of the words that figure in the titles of her improvisations. We imagine her, like the isolated characters of Caspar David Friedrich, facing landscapes which overwhelm and engulf her but of which she accepts the untameable immensity with a non-tortured romanticism.
Her music, stripped, forever awaits resolution, suspended. But she beautifully provokes – even feeds – the sadness and the melancholy to the point of rendering them quasi-obsessional. I could listen to this record all day long – she drifts like a little lamp which glimmers in the mist, the immensity and the depth of the night. And which, finally, leads us to inner peace. One question: who is Carolyn Hume?
CAROLYN HUME, Solo Piano Works, Leo Records
Published 17th dec 2006
Hume’s previous four leo albums with the drummer,Paul may,created a user friendly variant of free jazz that was both tuneful and fashionable. Similarly,these ten,mostly improvised solo piano pieces prove impeccably ambient and easy on the ear;even when the notes are discordant,they make very attractive patterns as they fall.It’s not far away from the hazy doodlings of Satie,Gurdjieff or the piano theme from the film ‘Diva’,with often minute modulations or subtle shadings revealing a constantly shifting colour-field for the perceptions of the listener.All very nice too.Someone needs to make Carolyn Hume a star.