Gwilym Simcock - Perception
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Who hasn’t Gwilym worked with? Acoustic Triangle, Tim Garland, Norma Winstone, Katheen Willison and loads more top performers over the years including drumming legend Bill Bruford (as a member of Earthworks) and Asaf Sirkis.
What with all his awards, he’s got the pick of musicians to work with on his long-awaited debut album. Drummer Martin France is another one that’s worked with some of the best and he’s on top form here along with the double bass of Phil Donkin.
Stan Sulzmann has been a stalwart on the British jazz scene for decades including being on Neil Ardley’s classic Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows to the recently re-issued on vinyl(!) Mike Taylor Remembered on Trunk Records (another notch on Mr. Trunk’s jazz bedpost, read interview HERE).
Gwilym wrote all the tracks apart from the last two and it’s obvious his influences are drawn from far and wide. ‘A Typical Affair’ starts the album and there’s a light ‘St. Thomas’ Way’ phrase to start with but don’t let that fool you as it comes back Corea (at his best) heavy with excellent work all round (especially by France and Ben Bryant on percussion). Keeping in a fusion area, ‘Sneaky’ ends on some electric guitar solo which may not be to everyone’s taste.
After this blistering start there’s a tendancy to get a bit jazzy mellow reminiscent of Tim Garland, like on ‘Almost Moment’ and ‘Time And Tide’. ‘Message’ is very effective as a trio piece and ‘Voices’ is a solo performance harking back to his classical training.
I’m no great fan of standards and Jerome Kern wrote a quite a few including ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’, ‘Ol’ Man River’ and ‘All the Things You Are’. He also wrote, ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ with Dorothy Fields, so you fear the worst but Simcock’s arrangement makes it perhaps my favourite of the set.
This varied album ends with a solo live performance of ‘My One And Only Love’ (Mellin/Wood) that just shows how multi-talented he is.
Hectic Mix nominations: ‘A Typical Affair’, ‘Sneaky’, ‘The Way You Look Tonight’
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