Kevin Field and his discovery of the RG3 Digital Grand
Jazz Pianist and his discovery of the RG3 Digital Grand
Pianist and composer, Kevin Field, has always insisted on playing an acoustic grand piano for his gigs, until he discovered the Roland RG3 Digital Grand.
Kevin Field has just released his third album called Field of Vision on the Warner Music label. In addition to his own recordings, Kevin has featured on over 30 albums of other artists including saxophonist Nathan Haines’ latest release The Poet’s Embrace and albums by artists such as Whirimako Black, Sola Rosa and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Kevin is a dynamic and experienced live performer having lead a number of his own bands and is known for the respect and affinity he garners from his fellow musicians. Kevin is also a lecturer of Jazz Studies at the University of Auckland.
How did you find the action and sound of the RG3?
Surprisingly good! It has an excellent touch and feel, and I was particularly impressed with the 'hammer' action which simulates the response of a grand piano very closely. This really does give the impression that you are playing the real thing. The piano sounds themselves are very realistic and I like the fact you can just turn it on and get a great piano sound immediately without having to press lots of buttons!
Had you played many digital grand pianos before using the RG3?
Not really. I had played various digital pianos of the more portable variety, and was always rather dissatisfied with the sound and feel which seemed like a poor substitute for the real experience. Growing up I always played on acoustic pianos and am used to their response, so I have tended to shun digital pianos as a serious performance alternative. Nothing had previously come close enough to my expectations until I discovered the Roland RG3.
What surprised you most about the RG3?
I think it was the action with the unique escapement feature which reproduces the experience of a hammer striking a string amazingly well. This definitely enhances the whole playing experience. Also it's the first digital piano I've played that I feel comfortable doing extended solo piano intros where the instrument is much more exposed. Sometimes a digital piano will sound OK in the mix with a band, but when it comes to solo passages it doesn't stack up. With the RG3 I was able to get the nuances, subtlety, and depth that I wouldn't normally associate with a digital piano.
When using the Roland Grand at a live venue, what benefits are there over using an acoustic piano?
There are several benefits. Firstly, it looks very much like a grand piano but is much more portable and much lighter to move around the stage. It also stays perfectly in tune! The other big advantage is that it can be very easily amplified to a PA system using the stereo output jacks. This eliminates the feedback issues you can encounter when micing an acoustic piano and gives you more control over the overall sound.
Kevin Field playing on a Roland RG3 on the Good Morning Show. Picture taken at TVNZ Studio.
Click here to view the Roland RG3 Digital Grand