A unique voice within the new UK jazz generation, ‘Infection in the Sentence’, released 8th March, is shaped by London’s thriving and diverse live music scene, where jazz is the shared language in an ever-shifting musical landscape. Swiftly rising to become one of the most in-demand players of her generation, Tandy has performed on keys for Jazz Jamaica, Nu Civilisation Orchestra, Maisha, Where Pathways Meet, Camilla George, Nubya Garcia, Nerija, Daniel Casimir, Binker Golding, Clark Tracey and many more. She is also a member of Ronnie Scotts House Band, the W3 Collective. On ‘Infection in the Sentence’, Tandy’s technical virtuosity and rhapsodic playing showcase a fearless approach to her own individual brand of piano-led jazz. “The music developed gradually through many years playing on London’s underground music scene, and immersing myself in the myriad musical languages surrounding me. In the album I’m seeking to find a continuum between the jazz music which I grew up listening to, and the multi-faceted, genre-melting sounds of present day London”, she says.
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Growing up in West London in a strong musical family, she learned to play piano at an early age where she was surrounded by classical music. She eventually went on to study classical piano at a conservatoire and was subsequently a finalist in BBC Young Musician of the Year. However, by the time she reached her early twenties, she was finding it increasingly difficult to function in the classical music world, and the language of classical music no longer seemed adequate to express her own experience.
It was Tandy’s residency at the Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston where she forged a connection with drummer Femi Koleoso (Ezra Collective), bass player Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko and Jorja Smith) and saxophonist Binker Golding (Binker & Moses), that were pivotal to her development as a jazz musician. It was her first real insight into the way jazz in London was heading and the types of people that were engaging in the music. As musicians, they were all exploring the music on their own terms so when it came to putting her debut album together, she wanted to do it with musicians that she knew and trusted and connected with, so the band naturally took form. “I feel like most of what I have ever learnt about music and life has been from the musicians I play with. And the beauty of music is that it transcends boundaries and reaches that place where we are the same”, she says. “When it came to writing my own music, one of the most important things was that it would leave room for everyone to express their own identities. The band is a very strong mix of personalities and I really wanted that to come across musically. So for that reason, I didn’t set out to write an ‘afrobeat’ album or a ‘modern jazz’ album… the music had to be able to accommodate everyone’s individual musical temperament”.
Tandy has performed at the Love Supreme Festival, Berlin Jazz Festival and performed twice with her trio at the Ronnie Scotts International Piano Trio Festival supporting Robert Glasper. In an earlier incarnation, she has also appeared as a classical soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 2019, Tandy will be one of many jazz re:freshed artists to appear at SXSW. She will be performing songs from ‘Infection in the Sentence’ at the album launch at Ronnie Scotts, London on the 4th March.