by Sylvannia Garutch
Growing up in Denver Colorado pianist and composer Steve McQuarry was afforded a home filled with his mothers piano playing. It was this inspiration that led him to study at the Eastman School of Music, University of Colorado at Denver, Berklee School Of Music, University Of California San Diego and Alexander University. His accreditation and affiliations are vast. He is an active member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), the performance rights organization, Broadcast Musicians, Inc. (BMI), the Electronic Music Foundation (EMF), the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), the Society For Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) and Chamber Music America (CMA).
McQuarry’s professional career has spanned performances with distinguished artists such as the late Dizzy Gillespie, Clare Fischer, Louie Bellson, Red Rodney (Charlie Parker), Tom Scott, the late John Cage, Laurie Anderson, Vinnie Colaiuta (Sting, Herbie Hancock, Frank Zappa), Nathan East (Eric Clapton, Herbie Hancock, Bob James), Bill Rich (Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles, Taj Mahal) and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
His latest solo endeavor Aire is a two track, completely improvisational aural experience. McQuarry is in rare form and his playing is entrancing. On “Aire 1,” McQuarry embarks on a limitless 29:30 second quest of beauty and lushness, each note touches and enthralls. His use of dynamics is a key point to the tenderness of the improvisation. Each strike of the keys evokes a different emotion, while at other times his quieted touch renders and tenderness that is peerless. One would thing that a 29 minute tune might be filled with lulled moments of tedium, but McQuarry keeps the piece flowing like beautiful waters traversing through the land with many facets and colors that shimmer in the morning sun.
Equally stunning is “Aire 2,” also an over 29-minute improvisation. With a feeling of anticipation in the note choices this tune moves through quick movements and lands on open and spacious introspectiveness. Once again McQuarry puts dynamics to good use. Articulating his emotions in the moment with cohesive expression and beauty. You can feel the mien from McQuarry’s inner ear, he connects each section to the next seamlessly, with utter beauty and moments of respite. As each section reveals itself, McQuarry develops those ideas in the moment, letting go and giving the music full control of the direction.
The pieces have a meditative feeling about them that is energetic and natural, reflective and beautiful, while stirring the soul to listen more intently. McQuarry offers himself exposed and raw in his solo endeavor Aire, the result is breathtaking, a window into the beautiful soul of this spectacularly talented man.