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Love List:
Piano by Chris Abrahams

Love List is our Spotify series where we ask Opera House guests and friends to curate playlists dedicated to an artist, genre or subject of their choice.

A sonic adventurer whose improvisational approach is matched by his expressive sense of melody, legendary Kiwi pianist Chris Abrahams has been pushing boundaries as part of the Sydney music since the early 1980s, working with artists as diverse as The Church, Midnight Oil and Silverchair, and performing as a member of The Sparklers, Laughing Clowns, and The Necks – the legendary jazz trio who have collaborated with Brian Eno, Swans and Underworld.

To celebrate his Liminal performance at the Opera House, Abrahams has put together a list of his favourite piano music. Like Abraham's own work, this collection of keys tunes is eclectic – sometimes meditative and meandering, other times melodic and adventurous. Gear up for the music that inspires the master.

▷ Signals - Mal Waldron

“Mal Waldron gave me my first glimpse of the hypnotising power of repetition in music. I saw him play in Sydney in the eighties’, which was very lucky.”

▷ Crossing - Cecil Taylor

“One of the most profound solo piano statements ever recorded.”

▷ Healing Song - Pharoah Sanders

“I love Joseph Bonner’s piano playing with Pharaoh Sanders. He stands as one of the all-time great exponents of the piano riff. This one is a beauty.”

▷ One Down One Up - John Coltrane

“I think this was the first time I heard how momentum can be aestheticized. The way McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones manipulate forward motion here is both uncanny and virtuosic. This piano performance was hugely influential on me.”

▷ The Homeless Wanderer - Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou

“A beautiful track. Her music contains elements ofrom numerous cultures: Ethiopian improvisation, Jazz, western classical music, modal music from the Orthodox church.”

▷ Ribboning - Great Waitress

“An extraordinary trio with Magda Mayas, Monica Brooks and Laura Altman. Mayas’ approach to expanding the sound-making capabilities of the piano.”

▷ Dead They Sing - Ross Bolleter

“A truly remarkable musician and writer. There’s a strong metaphor in the reclaiming of abandoned / ‘ruined’ instruments for the making of music. New, profound statements are made possible with the micro-tunings and timbral breadth of instruments re-contextualised.”

▷ 20h14 / 20h29 - Anthony Pateras

“A duo album with Anthony Pateras and Jerome Noetinger. The brilliant Anthony Pateras is at the forefront of contemporary composition and performance. His solo piano stuff is mind-boggling in its conceptual surety and virtuosity. Also well worth hearing is his work with Mike Patton in tetema.”

▷ Strumming Music - Charlemagne Palestine

“I had the pleasure of seeing Charlemagne Palestine a couple of times now, once on the organ at the Melbourne Town Hall with Tony Conrad; another time solo piano at Carriageworks in Sydney. His manipulation of sympathetic resonation, apart from being highly emotive and beautiful, has been very influential.”

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