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10 Seconds: Tara Cunningham

Trinity Laban keeps 'em coming. Singular voices on the London scene like Cassie Kinoshi, Moses Boyd, Ferg Ireland, Joe Armon-Jones, Camilla George, Mark Kavuma, Laura Jurd, Corrie Dick, Elliot Galvin, Emilia Mårtensson - to name but some - all came through the jazz programme there, and from the current flock Tara Cunningham is one of the most interesting young guitarists anywhere right now ...and that's downplaying it. Here are her picks.

1. Talking Heads - This Must Be The Place (4'06" - 4'16")


Talking Heads

- Speaking in Tongues (1983)

"My dad showed me the ‘Stop Making Sense’ documentary when I was tiny and I have been hooked on Talking Heads ever since. I love how much thought they put into performance as well as the songwriting - see “4.22 to see David Byrne dancing with a lamp. Genius!!"

2. John Scofield - Away With Words (4'10" - 4'20")


John Scofield - Quiet (1996)

"John Scofield is my favourite guitarist. The sensitivity and lyricism with which he plays sets him apart from the rest for me. This song comes from the album ‘Quiet’ - Scofield plays acoustic guitar and is accompanied by a rhythm section and a chorus of horns. It’s different to his usual, more compact electronic band, but the result of this line-up is such a beautiful sound."

3. David Bowie - Lady Stardust (1'46" - 1'56")


David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (1972)

"Another choice influenced by my dad - David Bowie was a familiar sound in the house whilst I was growing up. We had a DVD of some of his music videos and I liked looking at his different coloured eyes. Similarly to Talking Heads, the idea of performance being integral the music is what draws me to him."

4. Thelonious Monk - Consecutive Seconds (1'59" - 2'09")


Thelonious Monk - Monk's Blues (1968)

"Oliver Nelson’s big band arrangements of Monk tunes on this album are great. They are fully charged with Monk spirit and suitably weird voicings. I particularly like Charlie Rouse’s solo in this song; he’s on top form with his big rusty sound and lots of momentum in each phrase."

5. The Beatles - Julia (0'14" - 0'24")


The Beatles - White Album (1968)

"I like how simple this song is. Just voice and guitar, and the melody for the first 8 bars is just one note."

6. Radiohead - Nude (2'47" - 2'57")


Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)

"At the beginning of the verse, Yorke’s wailing melody is accompanied only by octaves on bass, which is rarely done but is so effective here. The bass is the perfect foil. I also love the subtle build of strings and voice throughout the song."

7. James Blake - I’ll Come Too (0'55" - 1'05")


James Blake - Assume Form (2019)

"The melodies James Blake writes constantly fascinate me because of their unpredictability. I’m always pleasantly surprised at where he goes next because it’s often so far from what I expected. This song is no exception - Blake’s use of large intervals is beautiful and haunting, each new section of melody different from the last, all the while maintaining the same level of sensitivity and grace he brings to every note."

8. Burt Bacharach - Lisa (2'30" - 2'40")


Burt Bacharach ‎– Reach Out (1967)

"Burt Bacharach is Mr Cheese but that’s what I love about him. He tugs at your heart strings with his big ascending melodies and flourishing string arrangements. The structure of this song is so well thought-out; the lulls between sections like a breath before going somewhere new."

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