Top positive review
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Uplifting Contemporary Jazz
on 6 October 2012
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.