top of page

UK Jazz News Review - Fergus McCreadie Trio at Leeds Jazz Festival, 24 May 2024

Fergus McCreadie Trio(Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, 24 May 2024. Review by Pete Woodman)

‘We’re going to be playing some tunes from our new album as well as some tunes from our earlier albums’. Having opened proceedings with this statement, Fergus McCreadie followed up by telling the sell-out audience that he couldn’t say which tunes they would be playing. After 10 years together, the trio no longer prepare setlists for their concerts. We’re going to be in for a good gig I thought… and I wasn’t wrong.

Fergus started with 5 minutes of solo piano on a Yamaha 9ft grand which was specially delivered for the occasion, before the band slipped effortlessly into Morning Moon from their third album ‘Forest Floor’. The trio played off each other beautifully; so accustomed are they to playing in each other’s company that the music flowed effortlessly.

Next up, a fine rendition of Snowcap from the latest album ‘Stream’, with both McCreadie and bassist David Bowden soloing. By way of a change, but in line with the unashamed ‘Scottishness’ of the trio’s playing, next came the traditional tune Old Woman Tossed Up in a Blanket, which brought the tempo down but was still beautifully observed. The slower tempo was maintained through the opening bars of Across Flatlands from ‘Cairn’, however it wasn’t long before the pace was raised to the tune’s more customary level, with Bowden delivering a fine bass solo before the trio brought the tune, and with it the first set to a rousing close.

Fergus McCreadie. Photo by Pete Woodman


Stephen Henderson started the second set with a finely executed drum solo, before leading the band into a second offering from ‘Forest Floor’; this time Landslide, a piece whose title tells you all you need to know, McCreadie playing cascading layers of notes over a thrumming left hand bass line, while the bass and drums provided cracking support but also at times, the lightest of touches.

Landslide gave way to an as yet untitled piece which was again delivered with fluidity and fluency by all three players (David and Stephen told me after the gig ‘all we can say is it hasn’t got a title and it’s in D major’). Hopefully we’ll find out its title on a future release. Again, this piece slowed the tempo of the set, but in no way diminished the quality of the playing with all three showing a delicate touch throughout, until again lifting the pace into the set closer, Stony Gate from the latest album which was filled with fire and urgency.

A single encore, Glade, from ‘Forest Floor’, was delivered with a mellow, graceful beauty which brought the proceedings to a calming close which left the audience well satisfied.

When I first saw this trio around six years ago, I fervently hoped that they would, in time, achieve greatness. They are way beyond that now.

Fergus McCreadie – piano

David Bowden – double bass

Stephen Henderson – drums


Fergus McCreadie Trio, Leeds 2024. Photo by Pete Woodman

Set 1

Morning Moon


Old Woman Tossed Up in a Blanket

Across Flatlands

Set 2



Stony Gate

Encore: Glade

1 view0 comments


bottom of page