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Lighthouse - Gwilym Simcock, Tim Garland & Asaf Sirkis CD

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 April 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Act Music
  • ASIN: B0077KUEE8
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,297 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

THE NEW ALBUM FROM ONE OF THE UK'S PREMIER JAZZ ENSEMBLES, AND THE FIRST GWILYM SIMCOCK RELEASE SINCE HIS 2011 MERCURY NOMINATION Once upon a time ... there was a lighthouse. When Tim Garland took on a job as composer-in-residence at nearby Newcastle university he decided to buy a house - near St. Mary s Lighthouse. For his CD If The Sea Replied Garland recorded several bass clarinet solos in the lighthouse which he later orchestrated. During his work he had the idea of presenting the project live and for this he needed fellow musicians - and the Lighthouse Trio was born. Garland taught Gwilym Simcock at London s Royal Academy of Music. The Welsh pianist, whose award-winning solo album Good Days at Schloss Elmau finally gave him star status, forms together with Garland one of the most productive partnerships around (they also work in Malcolm Creese's 'Acoustic Triangle'). The Israeli conjurer of sound - drummer and percussionist in one - Asaf Sirkis quickly became one of the most interesting trendsetters of the jazz and world music scene after his move to London, including work as hand drummer in Gilad Atzmon's Orient House Ensemble. But it was for the Lighthouse Trio that he developed an especially composed drum set which is tailored for music full of rhythmic surprises, and perfect to showcase his ability to create unusual sounds. A celtic influence surfaces on some of the trio's material, unsurprising given Simcock's birthplace (Bangor, North Wales) and Tim's musical history (incl. British Folk/Jazz group 'Lammas' for many years). Strong, distinctive melodies and bounding folk-tinged rhythms underpin the music, along with many other influences from around the world and some tributes to a few of the great musicians of recent British contemporary music history. If St. Mary s Lighthouse is a genuine sight, this Lighthouse is a major aural sight - a new chapter in lighthouse history.

BBC Review

Tim Garland is a clever bloke; a saxophonist who can hold his own with Chick Corea or Bill Bruford, play Bach or write a concerto for the LSO as well as keeping a bunch of other projects on the go. Here he's returned to his longstanding Lighthouse Trio, now back (after several permutations) to the core of Garland, pianist Gwilym Simcock and percussionist Asaf Sirkis.

Garland's association with the prodigiously talented and much-praised Simcock goes back a long way and the pianist gets the lion's share of the writing credits here. Both share a broadly similar musical approach that's informed by a blend of fusion, folk and classical forms and the impressionism of the ECM crowd, while the formidable Sirkis seems at home in any environment.

Yet Lighthouse is a record that feels like a wasted opportunity. The trio format lends itself to intimate, conversational music, yet there's little of that here. The writing seems intent on cramming as many notes into the bar as possible, and the curiously airless, anodyne production sucks any dynamic or space from the proceedings (Sirkis' percussion seems to have suffered the most, sounding thin and ineffectual). The opening Space Junk (sadly not a cover of the Devo classic) was inspired by Simcock's recent collaboration with DJ Carl Cox and kicks off with a lovely spot of prepared piano. But before you've had much of a chance to savour this, the trio are digging into one of those spiralling note-packed melodies that, while impressive as a display of technique, are almost immediately forgettable.

And so it goes on. No-one appears to break a sweat, even when they're playing hemidemisemiquavers at 160bpm. Garland's burnished tone never cracks – you can't even hear him draw breath. The writing is too tight to allow the music to breathe much either. There's also little attempt to explore the potential of the slightly unusual instrumental combinations on offer. Nothing has made up for the absence of a bass instrument; it's almost like they recorded with one but accidentally erased it from the mix.

There's some respite in the more reflective material; Garland's One Morning and Simcock's closing Tawel Nawr are both quite lovely and hint at what could have been. Those of us who are attracted to instrumental virtuosity will probably love this record (and it's hard not to be impressed by it); but those of us who want a bit more (or less) from our listening, and maybe even a few surprises, should be looking elsewhere.

--Peter Marsh

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this album quite by accident - one of my kids had a shop voucher he had to spend and there was nothing in the shop he wanted, so I found this. I was aware of the work of Gwilym Simcock through "Blues Vignette", which I had borrowed from my local library and completely loved. I had recently bought "The Impossible Gentleman" after a really positive review in "Jazz UK", but after few listens it just became an album I never played. So I approached this with mixed expectations and after a few plays I have to say I am totally hooked on it - it is an outstanding achievement , and must be well on the way to becoming one of the UK Jazz albums of 2012. A distinctive feature is that it is a trio with Asaf Sirkis on drums, Simcock on piano and his old teacher Tim Garland on saxes. In the hands of lesser players the abscence of a bass would weaken this grouping, but it is striking that once into the album you barely notice this. The style is by turns energetic and soulful (there were times when Simcock's piano reminded me of the early Keith Jarrett); it is edgy and contemporary, but at the same time deeply melodic. Percussionist Asaf Sirkis is a wonderful player, who can be as subtle or as energetic as the music demands, and Tim Garland's sax playing is rich in range and timbre. The way the three players collaborate is as impressively as anything in contemporary jazz, and the collection of entirely original compositions (no standards necessary!) have a wonderfully uplifting quality.
If there is a body of work which demonstrates the distinctiveness and vitality of contemporary UK jazz, this album must be a significant part of that. If that is where your interests lie this album is well worth checking out.
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By wsw on 30 April 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a big fan of Gwilym Simcock and Tim Garland, I eagerly awaited delivery of this album...... and I must say their performances did not disappoint. Technically, Asaf Sirkis is undoubtedly a really fine percussion player..... but I found his incessant clicks and thumps completely spoiled some of the fine piano and sax work that should have come to the fore. The percussion on several tracks is really intrusive and somehow does not fit with the music. There are many examples in the jazz idiom where percussionists add an interesting twist to an album, (I am thinking of some of Lars Danielsson's work as an example). It pains me to criticise this album because so many of the tracks are truly great compositions from two of the leaders in their respective fields. In my humble opinion, the album would have benefited from a more conventional rhythm section.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have read some reviews of this album already and they seem to be rather mixed.
"Space junk" was concieved in Ibiza,it is about all the rubbish floating about in sp ace and features some excellent percussion work by Asaf Sirkis on drums .....good start to the album
"Weathergirls" a Garland origibnal that turned into a group composition,bright and breezy as the sleeve notes say!lovely solo piano as well.
"One morning"in memory of those we have lost and loved,it reminds me of Andy Shepperd in some ways,p articul arly around the time of "Nocturnal tourist"a beauiful performance by all concerned.
"Above the sun"wa s developed from a previous lighthouse tune,there is also a hint of flamenco to be found in this tune, aga in s ome fine playing by all three.
"The wind on the water"again another piece about solitude,in some ways it sounds like Bobo Stensons more reflective work,again it could be Andy Shepperd,but it is still good.
"King Bario" is dedicated to Malcolm Creese,and is very reminiscent of Acooustic triangle and is the best track on the album so far
"wax Lyrical is another dedicated tune,this time to the brilliant Stan sulzmann,who has made so excellent albums so give this a listen if you can.
"Deviled" Is another tribute,this time to Bill Brufford the excellen tub thumper from prog rockers Yes and King crimson a fine drummer indeed.
Tawel newr(Quiet now) is a bed time story.
All in all avery good album,that bodes well for the future!!
Particular note should be given to the three fold cover.it is a magnificent package,and the sleeve notes are clear and precise as well




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