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Perception by Gwilym Simcock

Gwilym Simcock
PERCEPTION

Gwilym Simcock - grand piano
Phil Donkin - double bass
Martin France - drums
with
Stan Sulzmann - tenor and soprano saxes - tracks 2,3,4,5,7
John Parricelli - acoustic and electric guitars - tracks 2,4,5,7
Ben Bryant - tuned and untuned percussion - tracks 1,2,4,5,7
Produced by Jason Yarde

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“Gwilym’s an original. A creative genius” Chick Corea

“This album has all the ingredients that signify the start of what has already promised to be a dazzling career”.
Mark Anthony Turnage

"a superb statement of intent" BBC Music Magazine, Gary Booth, Five Stars *****

"If this is just the beginning, the coming years defy imagining". John Fordham, The Guardian 4 Stars****

"This is immaculate, airborne jazz, and almost supernaturally beautiful". Alan Brownlee, Manchester Evening News

"the best jazz release of the year by a very long way ". Helen Mayhew, The Jazz

" knocked my socks off!" Phil Jackson, Jazz Line Up BBC Radio 3

Title: Perception
Release Date: 5th November 2007
Artist: Gwilym Simcock
Cat. Number: SRCD 24-2
Barcode: 832929002427
Label: Basho Records

TRACKS:
1 A Typical Affair 8:16
2 Sneaky 6:13
3 And Then She Was Gone 5:56
4 Time and Tide 9:29
5 Almost Moment 3:55
6 Voices 3:12
7 Affinity 6:53
8 Message 8:00
9 The Way You Look Tonight 8:26
10 My One and Only Love (Live) 8:28
Total Time 69:16All titles by Gwilym Simcock except track 9 by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields (arr. Gwilym Simcock) and track 10 by Robert Mellin and Guy Wood

Basho Records is delighted to announce the long-awaited debut album from UK piano star Gwilym Simcock! This stunning album demonstrates Gwilym’s remarkable strengths as composer, his extraordinary abilities on the piano and showcases the two main ensembles he has developed with some of the UK’s finest musicians. Produced by Jason Yarde (twice Mercury nominated), and featuring the great saxophonist Stan Sulzmann, leading guitarist John Parricelli, and the outstanding rhythm section of bassist Phil Donkin, drummer Martin France, percussionist Ben Bryant, Perception will be launched at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 16th November with Gwilym’s sextet playing support to jazz legend Charlie Haden on the opening night of the 2007 London Jazz Festival. A UK Tour follows.

This young musician has already gathered an impressive array of awards. At just 25 Gwilym was chosen as the first ever Jazz Musician to be part of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists Scheme, a position he holds for two years, and was voted Jazz Musician of the Year at the 2007 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Gwilym’s dazzling piano playing has thrilled audiences throughout the world and his talents as a composer are increasingly in demand. In the past fifteen months he has composed for, and toured with, The Scottish Ensemble, written and recorded a piano concerto for the NDR Big Band in Germany, composed a 45 minute suite for his own big band (commissioned by Lichfield Festival), composed and performed a suite of songs for Norma Winstone (commissioned by Deal Festival) and is currently working on a major commission for The Britten Sinfonia featuring Gil Goldstein which will be premiered at the 2007 London Jazz Festival.

As Mark Anthony Turnage says in the album notes: “This album has all the ingredients that signify the start of what has already promised to be a dazzling career”.

This album has been produced in conjunction with BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists Scheme, supported by Aviva plc. Basho Records and Basho Music gratefully acknowledge the continued support of Yamaha pianos and the Arts Council of England.

01/06/2008 David Kane, Cadence U.S.A.

“Perception” is really in a class by itself. It’s the debut from the young British piano wizard Gwilym Simcock and it signals the emergence of a major artist. Despite his tender years, he has produced a surprisingly mature document that would be impressive coming from an artist of any age. Based on the evidence of both the writing and playing heard here, I feel confident that Simcock already deserves to occupy the inner circle of the great contemporary pianists along with Mehldau, Jarrett, and Rubalcaba. Like those artists, his idiom falls squarely within Modern Mainstream parameters albeit with strong progressive tendencies.

Simcock is fortunate in his choice of sidemen and Donkin and France seem quite capable of keeping up with the leader—no small feat—as do guest soloists, Sulzmann and Parricelli. Virtuosity is the order of the day here, but it’s not the kind of facile virtuosity that I feel sometimes mars the performance of Hiromi (much as I admire her otherwise) but there is a thoughtfulness behind the lines that elevate them above mere note-spinning. The writing is quite fresh with “Affair” and “Affinity” being particularly ear catching. Another highlight is Simcock’s radical arrangement of “The Way You Look Tonight,” an arrangement that almost qualifies as a separate original due to his use of bizarre metric modulation and the twisted harmonies—great stuff! I don’t really need to write a long review here—this is an excellent album and easily the best CD I’ve reviewed this year. I recommend that you buy/download this music at your earliest convenience.Observer Music Monthly

16/11/2007 John Fordham, The Guardian 4 Stars****
Twentysomething British pianist Gwilym Simcock has been linked with enough class acts to seem like an elder statesman already, but this mostly enthralling set (produced by Jason Yarde) is the first under his own name. Saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and guitarist John Parricelli join a band that also plays opposite Charlie Haden at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall tonight. Simcock is an awesome original, but he's a creative listener, too. There are echoes of piano bands including EST, the Bad Plus and Brad Mehldau's trio, and an infusion of South African jazz melody, but the elements are twisted and polished into dazzling new designs. The idiom-shuffling A Typical Affair develops as a storming piano improvisation that would make even Herbie Hancock and Simcock's UK model, John Taylor, jump. But Simcock's classical backup makes him a remarkably sensuous ballad player, too. If this is just the beginning, the coming years defy imagining.

21/11/2007 BBC Music Magazine, Gary Booth, Five Stars *****
British pianist Gwilym Simcock is the first jazz musician to be given a BBC Radio 3 Young generation Artist Award. It isn’t surprising that he was the first to push through: he has the right stuff. A prodigiously gifted jazz improviser, he plays with a precise and poised classical touch. But Simcock also has that jazz thing, a two handed ability to plan his lines so that the hammers fall fractionally after your ear anticipates them, constantly creating delicious suspense that is always satisfyingly resolved. This debut album, with eight toothsome originals included in the ten numbers, shows him to be a terrific composer too. He can swing it like Abdullah Ibrahim or get introspective like Keith Jarrett. And on the strength of his treatment for “The Way You Look Tonight” add arranging to his portfolio. Simcock has made the complete album: but Perception doesn’t sound like a demo or a showcase. It is more like a superb statement of intent.

09/11/2007 Andrew Vine, Yorkshire Post
A stunning debut CD from one of the brightest young stars on the British scene. Simcock is a pianist of energy, inventiveness and drive who is also an excellent composer. All those virtues are on display in a riveting set that dazzles from beginning to end. Simcock’s playing of his own tunes is wonderful and he displays ingenuity on two standards. Saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and guitarist John Parricelli are strong supporting voices, but it’s the 26-year-old Simcock who deserves all the plaudits for a first-rate CD. Rush out and buy.

01/11/2007 Stuart Nicholson. Jazzwise 4 Stars ****
It was only a matter of time before Gwilym Simcock’s debut album arrived, but fewer albums by a UK musician have ever been as eagerly awaited as this. It’s a musical photograph of where he was back in the summer, but given his enormous, and still developing, ability and talent he will no doubt have moved on in leaps and bounds from where he was in June. It’s one reason why he has been reluctant to commit himself to his debut in his own name for so long – but here it is. Avoiding the debutants urge to shock and awe with an excess of musical bling this is a thoughtfully constructed, well executed album that has the kind of depth and meaning that makes you want to return to it again and again. Opening with a darkly mysterious introduction, ‘A Typical Affair’ elides into a Latin theme that blossoms into a solo from Simcock that does not make its effect by technical accomplishment, although this is plainly in evidence, but in the freshness of musical ideas that are developed with such striking fluency through his long solo. Simcock uses his guests in a sextet where his writing on ‘Sneaky’, ‘Time and Tide’, ‘Almost Moment’ and ‘Affinity’ catches the attention with the melodic clarity and harmonic subtleties of his themes. Sulzmann, a greatly underappreciated talent on the UK jazz scene, is featured in a quartet on ‘And Then She Was Gone’. On ‘A Typical Affair’ and the sextet tracks, Ben Bryant and Martin France combine without treading on each other’s toes. But it is Simcock who remains at the front and centre of this album, his easy virtuosity combining with an acute sense of melodic invention that compels attention.

16/11/2007 Jack Massarik, Evening Standard CD of the Week
Rarely was any British pianist tipped for stardom more confidently than Gwilym Simcock, who now counts Chick Corea and Lee Konitz among his international fans. His early promise seems more handsomely fulfilled with each album. This latest one, produced by Jason Yarde, has Corea-like moments of Latinesque keyboard wizardry from the pianist but also highly original and unashamedly semi-classical English ensemble writing for a sextet featuring the versatile John Parricelli on guitar and the lyrical Stan Sulzmann on tenor and soprano saxes. This group appears opposite US bassist Charlie Haden's Quartet West at Queen Elizabeth Hall this evening, the opening night of the 10-day London Jazz Festival

02/11/2007 Kathryn Shackleton, BBC Website
When Chick Corea calls you a creative genius, you know you’re on to something. Praise like this is nothing new to UK piano whiz kid Gwilym Simcock, though. He’s won more prizes than he’s had hot dinners, but on this long-overdue first album he leaves room for his band to shine too.

Odd time signatures and rhythmic surprises are trademarks of Gwilym’s up-tempo pieces on Perception – inspiration he’s got from playing with Bill Bruford. Melodic lines fall over each other in “Sneaky” and rhythms criss-cross in “A Typical Affair”. Martin France’s stunning drumming ignites the fast passages on the album, and the pitter-patter of his percussion complements Gwilym’s impassioned playing, while John Parricelli’s guitar can be rocky-electric (on “Sneaky”), or warm and classical-sounding (on “Time and Tide”).

On Gwilym’s slower tunes, like “And Then She Was Gone”, he becomes meditative and spacious. From a one-finger intro, thick layers of piano, bass, and drums build up, giving Stan Sulzmann’s sax just the canvas it needs to expand and soar. In “Affinity”, delicate, dexterous piano lines and chattering drums link in lacy patterns around a Latin feel, held together by melodic sax and Phil Donkin’s fine, singing bass.

Gwilym was classically trained before becoming besotted by jazz, and it’s obvious in his solo pieces. His touch makes music into raindrops in “Voices”, as notes start on their separate journeys, jostle together, and order themselves into a quiet resolution. A live recording of “My One and Only Love” opens like a Beethoven sonata, the beautiful melody floating on effortless ripples of notes.

This album’s an ideal showcase for Gwilym Simcock. He plays solo, leads a trio and a five-piece, plays his own compositions and throws in a couple of imaginatively interpreted standards. Perception may have been a long time coming, but it’s a gem of a debut.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/release/c9rg/

26/10/2007 Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph
The 26-year old British pianist Gwilym Simcock comes garlanded with praise; he's the only jazz musician among the BBC New Generation Artists, and has been called a "creative genius" by Chick Corea. Fortunately, this first CD shows that Simcock's talent is broad enough to bear the wait of expectation loaded on to it. This is impressive.

Simcock fashions intriguing musical ideas with ambiguous rhythms; he makes space for the band to shine (especially bassist Phil Donkin); and he can spin an improvisation that builds intensity to an ecstatic high point. Simcock's harmonic and melodic resources seem endless.

07/11/2007 John Kelman, All About Jazz
It’s rare when an artist emerges to accolades like “the most important new pianist on the British scene,” and even rarer when such praise is justified. It’s rarer still when it’s an artist like Gwilym Simcock who, at twenty-six, has won a bevy of British awards despite coming to jazz from a classical background less than a decade ago. For an artist so young, Simcock has racked up a staggering array of accomplishments—a member of drummer Bill Bruford’s Earthworks and co-member, along with Earthworks saxophonist Tim Garland, in bassist Malcolm Creese’s trio Acoustic Triangle. Simcock is also a significant composer, writing for groups ranging from trios to a forty-piece ensemble featuring a gospel choir and strings.

Too many young artists step out as leaders far too soon. Still, Simcock has paid plenty of dues in a short time span, including Acoustic Triangle’s sublime Resonance (Audio-B, 2005), drummer Spike Wells’ intimate Reverence (Audio-B, 2007) and Garland’s ambitious If the Sea Replied (Sirocco, 2005). With Perception, Simcock debuts as a leader, and it’s every bit as ambitious and mature as one might expect—and hope.

Revolving around a core trio of bassist Phil Donkin (another youngster at twenty-seven) and drummer Martin France (an exceptionally flexible drummer who’s become ubiquitous on the British scene over the past two decades), Simcock’s front-and-center on this album of largely original material that also features a few high profile (at least, on the British scene) guest appearances. “A Typical Affair” opens on a demanding Latin-esque note but, with complex shifts in meter that make it a challenge to “find the one,” it remains accessible nonetheless. Simcock builds his opening solo carefully, as much a function of rhythm as melody, but with a deep sense of harmony that swings through his tough-to-navigate changes.

Saxophonist Stan Sulzmann, guitarist John Parricelli and percussionist Ben Bryant (heard here on vibes) flesh things out to a sextet for “Sneaky,” a buoyant tune that references the knotty yet groove-heavy writing of the late Michael Brecker, and features a robust solo from Donkin as well as a brief but gritty solo from Parricelli. The romantic classicism of “Time and Tide,” with Paricelli’s nylon-string guitar, Sulzmann’s soprano and Bryant’s percussion, feels like Oregon at times, but with France’s strong backbeat propelling parts of the tune, it’s more grounded, less rarified. The rubato “Almost Moment” is darker but no less beautiful, with Sulzmann’s tenor and Parricelli’s electric swells creating long tones over which Simcock and France layer more fluid expressionism.

Simcock closes the set with two standards—a 10/4, wildly contrapuntal take on “The Way You Look Tonight” and a solo version of “My One and Only Love” that proves Simcock as capable without accompaniment as he is with. It’s a fitting closer to a debut that makes it clear just how far-reaching this young pianist is. While he’s already delivering on promises suggested by his emergence earlier this decade, Perception augurs much more to come.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=27464

25/10/2007 Helen Mayhew, The Jazz
"the best jazz release of the year by a very long way ".


20/10/2007 Phil Jackson, Jazz Line Up BBC Radio 3
"knocked my socks off! - tremendous cohesion between all of the players"

20/10/2007 Claire Martin, Jazz Line Up BBC Radio 3.
"Phenomenal"

18/10/2007 Alan Brownlee, Manchester Evening News
SIMCOCKS' reputation spread first among his tutors and fellow students at Chetham's School, then to his fellow players and then - as he was recruited to the respective bands of Kenny Wheeler, Bill Bruford, Tim Garland (who wrote a concerto for him) - to the wider jazz listening public.

His debut as leader makes it clear what the fuss is about. An instinctive melodist with a distinctive touch, Simcock distills romantic classical piano through a jazz prism.

His musicians respond with their best work - veteran Stan Sulzmann has never sounded better (listen to his soprano on Time And Tide), while the understanding between Simcock and drummer Martin France is telepathic.

This is immaculate, airborne jazz, and almost supernaturally beautiful.

01/10/2007 Chris Parker, Vortex Website
a fearsomely intelligent but thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable album, faultlessly performed yet infused with infectious creative enthusiasm ­ a perfect calling card ahead of the pianist's forthcoming November/December UK tour, beginning with a prestigious London Jazz Festival QEH appearance (Friday November 16) opposite Charlie Haden's Quartet West.


07/09/2007 Mark-Anthony Turnage
This album has all the ingredients that signify the start of what has already promised to be a dazzling career.

Fono Forum, März 2008
"Mehr als Simcocks variables Spiel und sein prägnanter, zupackender Anschlag besticht seine originelle Handschrift als Komponist eigener Stücke, die zumeist lang ausgespielt werden und über simple Thema-Chorusse-Thema- Strukturen auf anregende Weise hinausgehen."

Jazz thing, Feb/März 2008
"Kein Wunder, dass Chick Corea sich von Simcock begeistert zeigt - der hat von ihm eine ganze Menge."

Spiegel Online, 29. Februar 2008
"Als typische Vertreter ihrer Generation haben Herman, Simcock und Schumann eine klassische Ausbildung genossen; sie zeigen sich aufgeschlossen gegenüber Trends in der Popmusik - und halten das uralte Piano- Trio nach wie vor für aktuell."

Jazzthetik, April 2008
"Seine Fähigkeit als Komponist sind schon im Ansatz seiner Trio- bzw. Sextettarbeit erkennbar: Die Kompositionen sind deutlich strukturiert und geliedert, die Orchestrierung in den Akkorden und Voicings des Pianisten innerhalb des Bandsounds deutlich."

JazzCity.NETedition, April 2008
"Großbritannien hat wieder einen Jazz- Superstar, diesmal nicht in der Abteilung hype (Jamie Collum), sondern im seriösen Fach des Jazz- Pianos."

Jazzpodium, März 2008
"Als Pianist liebt er offenkundig einen opulenten Sound und neigt im live aufgenommenen Schlussstück zu Romantizismen."

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