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Blues Vignette Double CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (16 Nov. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Basho
  • ASIN: B002RTC94C
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,675 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Product Description

Product Description

Blues Vignette moves Gwilym Simcock onto a new musical plane. An extraordinarily gifted pianist/composer, his music is engaging, exciting, melodically enthralling, complex and wonderfully optimistic. Gwilym Simcock’s new double album Blues Vignette launches his new trio with extraordinary, classically trained Russian bassist Yuri Goloubev and young UK drum star James Maddren as well as documenting Gwilym’s emerging voice as a solo pianist.

The first CD offers a mix of stunning improvisations and new Simcock compositions as well as insightful interpretations of Grieg’s Piano Concerto and the popular tune “On Broadway”. It also provides a brief window into the mind of a composer who mixes classical and jazz without effort, with a recording of a suite for cello and piano originally written for the opening of London’s newest venue King’s Place. Classical cellist Cara Berridge features on this work.

The trio CD is a stunning mix of Simcock compositions and brilliant interpretations of great classics such as “Black Coffee” and “Cry Me A River”. Gwilym says “recording an album is like taking a photograph. An album is a document of a specific moment in time, a vignette, an insight into the stage that one as a musician has reached. This album marks both the beginning of a fresh journey with a new trio, and documents my continuing quest towards finding an individual voice as a solo pianist. All of this music is neither 'Jazz' nor 'Classical'. It is just music What I feel is important in music is lyricism, subtlety and clarity in harmonic and rhythmic movement, and an overall sense of an emotional connection with the listener, whatever the context of the music may be”.

BBC Review

A double CD which places the artist in trio, duo and solo contexts is an ambitious undertaking for a 28-year-old, still a callow youth in jazz terms. But pianist Gwilym Simcock has displayed sufficient ambition and talent to make this less of a surprise since striding onto the UK scene a few years ago.

A largely applauded debut, 2007’s Perception, as well as high profile gigs with such luminaries as Kenny Wheeler and Tim Garland have placed him in the ascendant and this new release will hardly derail his progress. Simcock’s growth as a composer comes through in the course of the programme and peaks on the title track, a trio piece that has a deftly skilful evolution from its eerie prelude. A tick-tock of mildly dissonant chords gives way to a more propulsive and wily rhythmic carriage that then slows to a sensual blues drag before reprising its up-tempo surge. Bassist Yuri Goloubev brings much authority to dot-dash lines while drummer James Maddren shows impressive focus too; his snare work, in particular, has a lightness of touch and dynamism that entirely serve the fleet of foot character of Simcock’s themes.

Generally speaking, the music, marked by strong leanings to the classical world, takes its cue from the kind of noble, cultured post-bop marshalled so well by the likes of Kenny Barron and John Taylor, and Simcock handles the vocabulary well. But there is still a timidity in the use of his left hand which occasionally reduces the impact of some of his more ornate statements, all of which are impressively crafted but need more bedrock beneath them. They fall a touch flat because the bass is caressing too gently rather than pushing the music up with a real bold sense of intent. With his upper register sparkling so much this isn’t a huge failing, but if it were addressed then the results could be very strong.

Simcock possibly needs the right producer, an experienced, sagacious elder who can coach him to good effect. Then again more time and less hype would also serve his cause well. --Kevin Le Gendre

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Gwilym Simcock, during a Yamaha masterclass he was giving to sixth form jazz students in Cambridge recently, told us he was training to be a concert pianist and gradually realised that his future was being mapped out: that of reproducing a repertoire of classical music with some fairly tight restrictions on how he might perform it - provided largely by the notation. While classical music remains a passion of his, he decided that he wanted much more freedom than that and decided to switch to studying jazz improvisation.

I've seen him play many times in recent years - as a soloist, with Acoustic Triangle, with his trio and others - and I'm convinced he made the right decision! However he hasn't abandoned his ties with the classical tradition: in fact his view from the twin pinnacles of jazz and classical performance give him sight of creative possibilities that few others can access.

Gwilym certainly has the awe-inspiring technique of a top recital pianist, but combines it with a creative energy drawn not only from jazz greats but also from the whole history of classical composers and performers.

When you listen to the 'Blues Vignette' double album for the first time be prepared for a bit of a surprise. Firstly this is one of the most musically expressive albums I've heard for a long time and has an emotional depth and energy that is normally associated with the piano greats: Daniel Barenboim, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, Artur Rubinstein. Secondly, his musical thought and its communication always comes before showing off his amazing technical ability. The fireworks of technical brilliance are certainly on display throughout this double album but they are a tool used for, rather than in place of, his engaging musical narrative.
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Format: Audio CD
I will leave a thorough review of the exquisite music, neither jazz nor classical, on this double CD to others.

I just want to say how refreshing it is, in these days of ECM minimalism, to get such intelligent liner notes.

This is not difficult music but it is music where a little knowledge about the composers' and musicians' intentions adds immensely to the listener's pleasure.

Thank you Gwilym.

Paul M Eastwood

Blues Vignette
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There's no need to write lots.

Just because I've listened to jazz since dinosaurs roamed and the earth was cooling,
is not a good enough reason to tag along with my opinion.

But, miss this at your peril.

The title says all.

Faultless.

Peace, love

Dr. Ivan Clark
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Two sides of Simcock and friends. Apart all definitions the music (solo or trio) is flowing gently between jazz (thanks Bill Evans) and classical - if we can still used those terms - for a highly creative music making you feel good. A true and pure pleasure . .
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This is a must have for anybody who appreciates great music. Fantastic musicianship - on the trio album you can feel the bond between the musicians- bass playing of the highest order, sympathetic and creative drumming and on both discs -the superb piano of Gwilym Simcock - this really is a thing of beauty.
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