It seems inevitable that the highly acclaimed, virtuosic pianist-composer Gwilym Simcock and multi-award winning double bassist-composer Yuri Goloubev would one day record together in a duo once their paths had crossed. That moment has come with the new recording Reverie at Schloss Elmau on the award-winning ACT label. One born in Wales, the other in Russia, most of Europe stands between them. But in terms of their musical journeys, they appear to have been leading parallel lives. Both were classical music prodigies and have world-class techniques on their respective instruments. Since their first meeting in 2005 the pair have recorded together in various contexts but this new duo work serves to reveals their twin ambitions. That is to integrate the worlds of classical and jazz as they hear and feel them, then to filter it into a freshly cohesive identity. On the exquisite duo recording Reverie at Schoss Elmau, they have certainly reached a new peak in that ambition.
4 / 5 **** Gwilym Simcock felt released from the unbending rigours of a classical-piano schooling by the discovery of jazz in his teens, but he has never abandoned its inspirations and in this duo with the remarkable Russian double-bass virtuoso Yuri Goloubev, he has a partner who shares his love of 19th-century Romanticism, and with whom he shares perfect pitch, flawless execution and an improviser's imagination. Recorded at Act Records' favourite Alpine location, Duo Art shimmers and dances with European art-music references, which surface in the elegant themes (Goloubev's nods to Schumann and Brahms are particularly unambiguous), the liquid movement of Simcock's improv phrasing, and Goloubev's astonishingly light-touch lyricism and cello-like purity. The Russian's fast pizzicato improvisation on his own trancelike Lost Romance is breathtaking. Simcock's Shades of Pleasure opens at a playful skip but shifts mood between reflectiveness and sprinting intensity, the fast-moving Antics finds both players revelling in the driving momentum while never missing a step, and the lively Flow draws the bassist into a floating high-register tone so pristine as to be almost eerie. The prevailing lyrical elegance doesn't hamper the improv attack of either participant, though the set might be a little over-pristine and melodically orthodox for hardcore jazzers. --John Fordham - theguardian.com, Thursday 9 January 2014
It s a masterclass in duet playing and a pensively pleasurable exploration of the points at which the jazz and classical worlds meet.' --Robert Shore, The Metro, 10 Jan 2014
A couple of pieces from Reverie at Schloss Elmau opened the second set, and whetted the appetite for the whole album. Piano and bass lilted alternately like the two ends of a yacht in a gentle swell, while a delicate pastoral melody floated through spacious pools of reflectiveness. In an evening of fine playing, Simcock s rapport with Goloubev stood out as a model of sympathetic interaction. --The Arts Desk, Matthew Wright
Gwilym Simcock and Yuri Goloubev's collaboration reaches near telepathic levels on this beautiful set.4 Stars **** --The Observer