KCRW’s Private Playlist: Paul Cornish

KCRW’s Private Playlist is a listening session with Southern California’s most notable musical figures in their private creative environments. Ask pianist Paul Cornish about his intentions for his music, and he’ll say he wants to “improve the human condition one ear at a time.” That statement’s dual sense of ambition and earnestness feels like one way to understand his art. Still in his twenties, Cornish has already shared stages and studios with stratospheric talents like Herbie HancockJohn Legend, and Dee Dee Bridgewater, among many others. He sits on the faculty of the Stanford Jazz Workshop and occupies the piano bench for the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance. But Cornish’s way of speaking about jazz, and about music more broadly, shares spiritual qualities with his heroes like Robert Glasper and Jason Moran. And in performance, he proves himself to be a grounded, perceptive, and heart-stoppingly nimble musician. Put simply, Paul Cornish is one to watch.