Blues Vignette

Artist: Gwilym Simcock

Date of Release: 16/11/2009

Catalogue no: SRCD32-2

Label: Basho

Price: £8.99

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Track Listing







Little People




Exploration on Mvt II of Grieg Piano Concerto




On Broadway




Improvisation 1 - Statues




Improvisation II - Letter to the Editor




Improvisation III - Be Still Now








Jaco and Joe




Suite for Cello and Piano Part 1 - Kinship




Suite for Cello and Piano Part 2 - Kinship












Blues Vignette




Black Coffee




Longing To Be




Nice Work If You Can Get It




Cry Me A River










Appearances by

Yuri Goloubev

The album launches his new trio with extraordinary, classically trained Russian bassist Yuri Goloubev and young UK drum star James Maddren as well as documenting Gwilym’s emerging voice as a solo pianist. The first CD offers a mix of stunning improvisations and new Simcock compositions as well as insightful interpretations of Grieg’s Piano Concerto and the popular tune “On Broadway”. It also provides a brief window into the mind of a composer who mixes classical and jazz without effort, with a recording of a suite for cello and piano originally written for the opening of London’s newest venue King’s Place. Classical cellist Cara Berridge features on this work. The trio CD is a stunning mix of Simcock compositions and brilliant interpretations of great classics such as “Black Coffee” and “Cry Me A River”.

As Gwilym himself says “recording an album is like taking a photograph. An album is a document of a specific moment in time, a vignette, an insight into the stage that one as a musician has reached. This album marks both the beginning of a fresh journey with a new trio, and documents my continuing quest towards finding an individual voice as a solo pianist”.

He goes on to say: “All of this music is neither 'Jazz' nor 'Classical'. It is just music, and the type of music that interests and stimulates me. What I feel is important in music is lyricism, subtlety and clarity in harmonic and rhythmic movement, and an overall sense of an emotional connection with the listener, whatever the context of the music may be”.

“Just when you thought the piano could go no further in jazz one emerges to raise the bar of invention and virtuosity still higher. On this recording Gwilym Simcock seems to have breached a dam of inhibition and let loose a flood of music that is truly exhilarating”. Helen Mayhew, JazzFM

To celebrate the launch of the new CD there will be a mix of solo and trio dates in the UK and Germany with more dates to follow in the Spring. There will also be a special London Jazz Festival performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall featuring both the trio with special guest Klaus Gesing and a 100 voice choir “The Voice Project” performing a special commission by Gwilym Simcock originally written for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May 2009 entitled “I Prefer the Gorgeous Freedom”. At the end of November there will be a nine day residency at Pizza Express Dean Street where Gwilym will be promoting his new album in the company of a special guests including: Julian Arguelles, Stan Sulzmann, Gerard Presencer, Wolfgang Muthspiel and Klaus Gesing




09/12/2010 CultureCreature (Richard B. Kamins)

Best of 2010 (Part 2)
(Richard B. Kamins)
Gwilym Simcock released the 2-CD set "Blues Vignette" ( Basho), displaying 3 distinct sides of his musical personality. Disk 1 features 8 solo piano works that blend numerous styles, never sounding phony or forced. The final 2 tracks on ...


24/10/2010 Ryan Sparks, Sea of Tranquillity

Blues Vignette is a remarkably diverse and engaging listening experience from beginning to end, which is a significant accomplishment just when you consider the volume of music that has been offered up here. Fans of Brad Mehldau and Keith Jarrett should take note because with this album Gwilym Simcock has definitely reached the point in his career where he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as these legendary musicians.


22/01/2010 Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times 5 stars*****

The first of this double CD collection is a wonderful display of Simcock’s gifts as a solo pianist as well as his talents as a composer in jazz and classical idioms.

Working from set themes or creating spontaneous improvs, his playing has a rigorous sense of flow and structure. And Simcock’s classical roots are evident in a beautiful examination of Grieg’s Piano Concerto, second movement, and his own, in part Messaien-like Suite for Cello and Piano. Cara Berridge shines in the cello part.

The second CD, devoted to the trio with Yuri Goloubev (bass) and James Maddren (drums), is even better. The interaction is consistently stunning, while Simcock’s own playing borders on the sublime at times.

Rhythmically flexible, assured whether inside or out, the trio set down a marker that few others are likely to equal. One hopes they get the chance to build on it


29/12/2009 James McGowan, Tribune

Gwilym Simcock’s latest Blues Vignette (Basho) adds to the British pianist’s growing reputation is an ambitious double album deftly covering both solo and trio formats with some vivid originals evoking Jarrett and Bill Evans while skilfully straddling the classical and jazz hemispheres.


24/12/2009 Ian Patterson, Allaboutjazz

The balance Simcock achieves between compositional structure and improvisation is the thread which runs through the trio numbers and is the unifying strand between the two CDs. Each is an inseparable part of Simcock's emerging musical identity. It will be fascinating to see how this trio develops over time, for its potential is clearly great. Undoubtedly one of the year's most satisfying releases.
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18/12/2009 Tim Stenhouse, UKVibe

British pianist has been heard in recent times in a variety of contexts and this includes the excellent project with Tim Garland as part of the Acoustic Triangle that played at venues including Manchester Cathedral last year and in November a UK tour as leader that included the Royal Northern College of Music. He returns with a superbly crafted double CD that highlights two further facets to this multi-talented musician; a side of solo and duet pieces accompanied by cellist Cara Berridge; a trio side of largely self-composed pieces, but including three standards from the great American songbook. For the latter he is aided by his regular trio of British drummer James Maddren and Russian double bassist Yuri Goloubev and collectively they evoke the Keith Jarrett trio from the mid-1980s onwards. Simcock impresses throughout with his thorough grounding in the jazz tradition, but especially on ‘Tundra’ with its dramatic crescendo and on a bluesy rendition of ‘Black Coffee’. On the first CD the quasi-classical ‘Exploration of Movement II of Grieg Piano concerto’ receives both a refined and austere performance by the pianist while ‘On Broadway’ is a fascinating deconstruction of the tune that showcases Simcock’s dazzling technique and is worlds away from either the famous George Benson version, or even the Tito Puente Latin-jazz classic. Elsewhere Simcock takes a leaf out of the recent Enrico Pieranunzi solo album with solo improvisations. This is an outstanding recording that deserves to see Gwilym Simcock catapulted to international stardom.


15/12/2009 Ian Mann. The Jazz Mann *****

“Blues Vignette” is a superb achievement, impressive in its scope and ambition and flawless in its execution.


28/11/2009 John Bungey, The Times 4 stars

Further evidence of the young pianist’s abundant talents is revealed on two CDs that range from interpretations of standards and Grieg through to his own suite for cello and piano plus jazz compositions. Solo and with his trio, he can dazzle, blurring distinctions between jazz and classical. You can hear a debt to Keith Jarrett, particularly on a bravura version of On Broadway, and perhaps Brad Mehldau, too. Nevertheless, a powerful individual voice is emerging.


27/11/2009 Andrew Vine, Yorkshire Post

Simcock is one of our most resourceful young pianists and compsers and his musical vision is appealingly set out on this ambitious double CD. With bassist Yuri Goloubev and drummer James Maddren he explores the classic piano format on both standards and originals, including freely improvised pieces that hang together very well. There are nods to Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, but Simcock is firmly his own man. A suite for piano and cellist Cara Berridge demonstrates Simcock can move across the boundaries between jazz and classical.


25/11/2009 Ivan Hewitt, The Telegraph 4 stars

The biggest star among Britain’s young pianists now needs a 2-CD set to contain his ambitions. It contains tributes to Weather Report, brilliantly virtuoso takes on standards like Black Coffee, and big-scale classical compositions including a piano-and-cello suite. On the solo CD Simcock sometimes slips into a Keith Jarrett-like portentousness, but the Trio CD is a delight.


20/11/2009 John Fordham, The Guardian 4 stars****

Simcock's imagination really does seem to flow freely across classical and jazz without noticing the joins. Simcock, Goloubev and James Maddren celebrate the trio tradition of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett on some vivid originals here - and the young leader sounds as if he's wearing his immense knowledge more lightly, yet using it more incisively, than ever before.


19/11/2009 John Kelman, Allaboutjazz

Simcock, Goloubev, and Maddren demonstrate the same empathic, unfettered interaction that can be heard in contemporary trios by pianists John Taylor, Bobo Stenson, Brad Mehldau, and, of course, Jarrett. Simcock's sponge-like ability to assimilate new ideas into a cogent voice makes him an easy partner with every one of these significant pianists. A major statement that spotlights his multifaceted interests with pristine clarity, on Blues Vignette, Gwilym Simcock has arrived.
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13/11/2009 Jack Massarik, Evening Standard****

Britain's rapidly maturing jazz maestro refuses to be categorised. Greig's piano concerto sits comfortably between fluent originals on this ambitious double album, his most impressive work yet.Heard solo, with strings and in a trio with drummer James Maddren and Russian bassist Yuri Goloubev, his playing pulses with life and covers a wide emotional range. Some listeners liken him to fellow Brit John Taylor but his combination of lyricism and surging vitality more strongly suggests Chick Corea and the late Michel Petrucciani.
And in his spare time, this world-class improviser also plays some nimble French horn.


13/11/2009 Mike Hobart, FT 4 stars ****

Prize-winning UK pianist Gwilym Simcock’s double CD seamlessly blends classical roots and jazz references with both depth and stature.


09/11/2009 Chris Parker, Vortex Website

As well as possessing an exquisite touch and an extraordinarily fecund musical imagination, so that robust yet delicate embellishments flow from his fingers in breathtaking profusion, he is also a great listener, allowing the sensitivity and power of both Maddren and Goloubev (whose arco technique in particular is matchless) to shine alongside his own, so thaton both solo/duo and trio discs, Simcock demonstrates just why he has established himself so quickly as a world-class talent. Warmly recommended.


06/11/2009 Mike Butler, City Life 4 Stars****

This is jazz of the highest order whose appeal is not confined to a specialist audience.


01/11/2009 Clayton Hirst, WalesHome.org

"Blues Vignette will cement Gwilym Simcock’s reputation at the vanguard of the contemporary British jazz scene."
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01/11/2009 Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise 4 Stars****

Gwilym Simcock has moved up to an entirely new level


01/09/2009 Helen Mayhew, JazzFM

“Just when you thought the piano could go no further in jazz one emerges to raise the bar of invention and virtuosity still higher. On this recording Gwilym Simcock seems to have breached a dam of inhibition and let loose a flood of music that is truly exhilarating”.


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