City Of London Sinfonia
The album opens with the plucked strings of the orchestra, plotting an intricate path, woodwind and brass join in with clucks of punctuation and piano joins to sing over the top of the jumpy orchestral instruments. Drums add a more regular pulse just briefly before cello and woodwind converse. The piano takes up the theme and the orchestra begins to tumble behind… And then suddenly a jazz trio is in full flow, and the really striking thing is how quickly Gwilym Simcock has become familiar to our ears, so unmistakeable in his touch, his fluency, his harmonic choices.
The Welsh pianist is that rare being: a musician as comfortable writing and performing complex written “classical” music as he is improvising on a jazz standard.
This disc comprises two suites: Move!, originally written for piano and City Of London Sinfonia, here augmented by regular trio partner Yuri Goloubev on double bass with Martin France on drums andJohn Parricelli the guest guitarist in parts; and Simple Tales, originally a classical piano trio composition, here with Goloubev and France added.
Simcock gets most of the solo space himself, sometimes using bass and drums as rhythmic support, and his rhythmic sophistication and lyrical flights are exceptionally fine. But overall, the accent is on the compositions and it is his orchestral writing and overall musical palette that is the chief pleasure to be had here.
By adding bass and drums and in the way he writes rhythmically interesting music for the sinfonia he has them sometimes sounding like the classical ensemble they are and sometimes like a jazz big band. What is particularly appealing is the way he translates his personal sound world from two hands up to multiple players while keeping it so distinctive.
A gorgeous album.
- To buy Gwilym Simcock’s Instrumation go here.
- Gwilym is soloist with the City Of London Sinfonia on Thursday this week to perform his new work On A Piece Of Tapestry and also Cumbrian Thaw. Details of that concert at Cadogan Hall are here.
Categories: CD review