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Gwilym Simcock

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Reviews of Gwilym Simcock

 

03/06/2012 Mike Collins

Always dazzling and exhilarating
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17/11/2011 The Word

On a kind of 'pianist's day out', Hannah (of Mingle Fame) and I arrived early to grab the VERY front pew for this free London Jazz Festival recital. The young, fearsomely talented (and as H pointed out, troublingly good-looking) GS may sound familiar - he was nominated for this year's Mercury. Solo, he maintains hypnotic, exhilarating grooves while perfoming melodic sorcery - surely more than 10 notes are sounding together. You don't miss other imaginary band members. He gamely explained the ideas behind the pieces - the wonderful 'Gripper' had the steady, weary left hand trapped at a party by the constant nagging chatter of the right. You could hear this. A genius.
The Audience:
Packed out. Star attendee was the angry jazz fanatic on H's left who shouted at the folk moving the piano for 'not understanding the acoustics'. We saw him on the way out. Still angry.
Food & Drink:
It seemed a little gauche to try and steal any communion wine or wafers (and H was contemplating kidnapping GS), so to avoid blasphemy and arrest we went off afterwards for a Japanese meal nearby.
It Made Me Think...:
...that I should probably practise a bit more often. (Piano. Not churchgoing.)

 

11/11/2011 Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen

I’m not aware of any North American jazz festivals or presenters bringing the pianist across the pond. They need to stop sleeping on that! Simcock’s too big a talent to be enjoyed by the United Kingdom and Europe exclusively.
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12/08/2011 Jack Massarik, Evening Standard

Topping the bill with panache were pianist Gwilym Simcock and his mighty trio with drummer James Maddren and bassist Yuri Goloubev. Originally compared to Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, Simcock is now writing all his own material and becoming a wholly original stylist. He is also the most articulate announcer you could find. His title explanations, for example about Neutrinos ("a sub-atomic particle with no electronic charge") or Vermuylen's Triumph ("a 17th-century Dutch engineer who reclaimed a lot of the Fens for Charles the First") were as impressive as the music itself, full of improvisation and structural detours. World-class.

 

02/02/2011 Peter Quinn, The Arts Desk

the increasing richness and complexity of Simcock's compositional voice is a cause for huge celebration
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06/08/2010 Peter Bacon, Birmingham Post and Jazz Breakfast

Gwilym Simcock Trio – a piano trio that already has an international stature, led by the most brilliant young player to come out of these islands in a while. Amazing bass from Yuri Goloubev and the drummer of choice in James Maddren.

 

04/12/2009 Mike Hobart FT ★★★★☆

Muthspiel, like Simcock, is a strong harmonic player with an accurate mid-range tone that hints of subtle enhancement. And, like Simcock, he searches for new pathways through the dense harmonic maze of the impressionist chordsheet. Impressively avoiding clutter and overlap, he was an ideal partner.

But this was very much Simcock’s gig. ....Simcock stamps his personality on whatever he plays – three harmonically devious Muthspiel compositions at this gig. And with Goloubev’s figured bass and bowed melodies meshing with Maddren’s drums, the support follows every dynamic twist and florid turn.

 

24/11/2009 Seb Scotney, London Jazz

"hearing Simcock again also brings a recapping, a re-familiarizing of the ears to what it is that makes the jaw drop so often when he's playing. This was an intense musical experience."

 

22/11/2009 Peter Quinn, The Arts Desk

Melodically rich, harmonically daring, rhythmically subtle, pianist Gwilym Simcock's quartet piece, “Longing To Be”, which kicked off this Queen Elizabeth Hall gig was one of the most jaw-dropping performances I've heard at this year's London Jazz Festival.

 

01/09/2009 John L Walters, The Guardian

Proms: New Generation Artists
Cadogan Hall, London

Gwilym Simcock's Contours (2008) is a skilful, picaresque suite for the six strings of the Aronowitz Ensemble, plus the composer on piano. This encapsulates many "third stream" directions of the past 50 years; from Eddie Sauter and Michel Legrand to Metheny and Mays. There's even a little cadence reminiscent of Paul McCartney's Blackbird.

 

01/05/2009 Chris Elcombe, Jazzwise

Pizza Express Soho’s “Evenings with Steinway” festival presented five two-piano performances by an array of British jazz’s finest players. The series of concerts celebrated the arrival of a new Steinway-B in Dean Street and was enabled by the loan of a second instrument from Steinway for the week.
The finale began with the variation on the theme: a duo set, but played on the saxes of Peter King and Mornington Lockett, whose opening ‘Body and Soul’ shifted within and beyond grasp with lines of accompaniment sketched then abandoned. Two solo Strayhorn numbers preceded yet another pairing – Shorter’s ‘Footprints’ and ‘Speak No Evil’ really meshed into a punchy, if florid groove.
Despite strong individual sounds, Taylor and Simcock are in many ways two sides of the same coin, sharing a technical finesse and clarity, as well as an ability to blend and shift between impressionistic, folk and swing feels within a unified personal language. This collaboration was less about contrast and complementation than two artists playing within one, expanded voice, and from a certain angle there seemed to be only one instrument, with each man nodding and driving into their end of it, facing each other as if looking into a mirror.
Taylor recalled hearing Simcock for the first time in a masterclass: “You just hear a few notes – that’s it really, you know.” The same could be said of this performance: both played exquisite solo introductions early on, milking the depth and range of sounds of the Steinway, with Simcock’s prelude to ‘Black Narcissus’ especially beguiling. In tandem, their roles shifted fluidly, without ever cramping the space that both were able to find in each other’s music. The penultimate number developed into a tango jam that added humour and a sense of fun to the beauty that went before it. A repeat concert series is intended for next year, and on this evidence, it should not be missed.

 

11/12/2007 John Fordham, The Guardian

HIGHS OF 2007
....and British piano-playing wunderkind Gwilym Simcock released a debut album, Perception, that testified to his potential as a composer.

 

01/12/2007 The Guardian

Gwilym Simcock
On tour

When young UK pianist Gwilym Simcock played a couple of years ago in a Kenny Wheeler band that included veteran birth of the cool sax legend Lee Konitz, the latter noticeably took a long look over his shoulder whenever Simcock unleashed a solo. The newcomer seemed to have absorbed the jazz piano tradition whole, added ruminative and cross-idiomatic notions from his teacher John Taylor and blasted it with his own style. Simcock's current tour takes in solo piano shows, trio gigs and appearances with Tim Garland's Northern Underground Orchestra, but much of the material comes from his enthralling album Perception. He's already an awesome original, but a creative listener too; there are echoes of piano bands including EST and an infusion of South African jazz melody.

 

29/11/2007 Peter Bacon, Birmingham Post

Britten Sinfonia uncovers hidden treasure
Britten Sinfonia * * *
at Birmingham Town Hall
The hidden treasure of the evening was to be found at the start of the second half: Jackie's Dance, written specially for Britten leader, violinist Jacqueline Shave, and with Gil Evans' spirit at his shoulder, by the young British jazz musician Gwilym Simcock.

This was the only piece that incorporated Evans' legacy while sounding like it was centred in 2007.

 

11/11/2007 Observer Music Monthly, Stuart Nicholson

No young musician outside the pop world has moved as fast into the upper reaches of his profession as Simcock.

More at:
OBSERVER MUSIC MONTHLY

 

26/10/2007 John Fordham, The Guardian

"the ever-awesome Simcock"

 

01/07/2007 Chick Corea

“Gwilym’s an original. A creative genius”

 

10/05/2007 Chris Parker, Vortex website

Gwilym Simcock put extra gloss on an already shining Cheltenham reputation (last year he was hugely impressive both supporting the enigmatic Lee Konitz and in his own right leading a band including Stan Sulzmann) by performing his ‘Lichfield Suite’ with a stellar big band, including Sulzmann, Mark Lockheart, Julian Siegel, John Parricelli, Laurence Cottle, Martin France et al. – a sixteen-piece outfit, including two french horns. Judiciously balancing carefully weighted composed elements with just enough solo space to infuse the whole with unpredictability and individuality – not to mention, at times, irresistible pep and infectious swing – Simcock, who sensibly devolved conducting duties on to Jules Buckley, while keeping an eye on proceedings from the piano, drew rousing yet elegant performances from all his soloists, contributed a number of characteristically cogent solos himself, and overall, proved himself to be a classy jazz composer in a medium that dearly needs such infusions of fresh talent if it is to be kept vibrant. Simcock’s arrangement of ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’, too, subtly and delicately brought out all the song’s gentle power without a hint of sentimentality – Simcock is a class act, and richly deserved his recent ‘Jazz Musician of the Year’ award from the All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group.

 

26/04/2007 Rob Adams, The Herald (Scotland)

REVIEW OF THE SCOTTISH EMSEMBLE 4 STARS ****
Bringing together separate traditions, particularly the jazz and classical ones, can result in a mixture rather like oil and water. Not here, though. Perhaps it's because the ensemble's guest, pianist Gwilym Simcock, works in and understands both these genres so fully, but with the help of a band that's really on top of its game, his Point of Contact for Piano, Vibraphone and Strings achieved a beguiling ease of movement and a real unity of purpose.

Simcock is a marvellous player. In his expansive solo work, his meticulously plotted duetting with Ben Bryant on vibraphone and his writing for strings he showed great imagination, wit and conceptual awareness. It was all fine stuff but the way he brought the piece to its conclusion, with a surge of energy, was sheer class.

There was much class, too, in Russian jazz pianist Leonid Chizhik's Variations on a theme of Mozart, with Bryant adding weightless drumming and the ensemble's artistic director, Jonathan Morton, a swing violin solo as Simcock interpreted the variations with brilliant clarity.

 

24/02/2007 John Fordham, The Guardian

Gwilym Simcock played piano on a Kenny Wheeler birthday tour two years ago - and the turn of the head and raising of an eyebrow with which sax legend Lee Konitz greeted his first solo said everything. Still in his 20s, Simcock has already ascended to the podium occupied by only a handful of UK jazz pianists, from George Shearing to Stan Tracey, Julian Joseph or John Taylor. His direct influences are Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and John Taylor, but classical music influences him just as much, particularly Ravel and Stravinsky. Those associations have him lined up for a project with composer Mark-Anthony Turnage, and his groups range from trios to big bands, to 40-piece ensembles featuring gospel choirs and strings. Now Simcock's a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, notable as he's the first ever jazz musician to qualify.

 

13/11/2006 John Fordham, The Guardian

"pianist Gwilym Simcock shone all the way through an unaccompanied solo"

 

03/03/2006 Tony Dudley Evans, Director, Cheltenham Festival

one of the great new discoveries of the London scene, Gwilym Simcock

 

01/03/2006 John Fordham 4 stars ****The Guardian

As a pianist alone, Gwilym Simcock would have deserved all the hype, but this performance confirms that he doesn't see his composer's identity as his second string

 

28/02/2006 Chris Parker, Vortex Jazz Club

Gwilym Simcock enhanced an already enviable reputation as one of the UK's fastest-rising jazz stars with his 25th-birthday quintet gig

 

09/12/2005 Review of Acoustic Triangle's new CD Resonance 4 Stars **** The Guardian

Gwilym Simcock frequently dazzling, especially on a tumultuous unaccompanied feature

 

11/11/2005 John Fordham, The Guardian

The Waterman band was preceded by recently risen star Gwilym Simcock's piano trio. Simcock has rocketed through jazz education and out into a creative world of his own almost overnight. In a varied set, he included a typically flowing tribute to his teacher John Taylor's harmonically demanding Ambleside Days. But it was a fast exploration of a standard (How Deep Is the Ocean) that cried out for a recording machine to be running, in its headlong momentum, occasional classical flourishes, and melodic queries resolved or left quizzically suspended in space

 

04/11/2005 Jamie Cullum Interviews by John Fordham and John L Walters,The Guardian

From our own scene I'll be watching our finest young piano-player Gwilym Simcock (606 Club, Nov 16; Purcell Room, Nov 17) - don't miss him while you can still see him in venues without ushers

 

08/10/2005 The Independent

Though still in his early twenties, Gwilym Simcock has already played with the cream of the jazz world, including Kenny Wheeler and Tim Garland, with whom he appears in both Bill Bruford's Earthworks and Acoustic Triangle. He looks like being a piano star of the future

 

09/09/2005 Surrey Online

Gwilym Simcock is a truly amazing piano player. His solo in John Taylor's Coffee Time was like nothing I have ever heard before - an exhilarating and intricate improvisation that sounded as if every note on the piano was being played. Several other times in the evening, the audience was treated to similarly dazzling explorations of themes.

 

18/01/2005 John Fordham, The Guardian

Young piano recruit Gwilym Simcock delivered the first of a series of glittering solos. A startled turn of the head and appreciative smile from the old master Konitz confirmed what a class act Simcock has so quickly become

 

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