b. 1978, Roehampton, London, England. McCormack studied piano from the age of 13 and a few years later attended Pimlico School, where he was tutored in the specialist music department by Andrea Vicari, developing an abiding interest in jazz. From 1996 he attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying classical piano and, with Simon Purcell, jazz piano. McCormack’s declared influences in the field of jazz piano include Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and McCoy Tyner. Towards the end of his degree course, he also studied composition with Matthew King.
McCormack graduated in July 2000 and was soon making a considerable impression on the UK jazz scene, especially in London. In the early and mid-00s, McCormack led his own trio and quintet. The trio usually comprised Tom Herbert (bass) and Tom Skinner (drums), with alternates Phil Donkin and Shaney Forbes respectively. The larger group had the latter pair plus Nathaniel Facey (alto saxophone) and Trevor Mires (trombone). A fluent improviser, McCormack has also played in bands led by Denys Baptiste (appearing on Be Where You Are, and touring worldwide), Gary Crosby (working with Tomorrow’s Warriors), Kyle Eastwood and Abram Wilson. In 1997, McCormack was a semi-finalist in the Perrier Young Jazz Musician of the Year Awards, in 2002 was a semi-finalist in the Martial Solal International Piano Competition in Paris, and in 2006 was voted Rising Star in the BBC Jazz Awards. Among many venues at which he appeared in the early and mid-00s are Ronnie Scott’s club in London, Le Baron in Paris, the Ginza Jazz Festival in Tokyo, the Blue Note in Osaka, and Birdland in Vienna. McCormack also composes much of his repertoire and displays in his works the foundation of past traditions, awareness of contemporary trends and a questing mind for where music is going.