Gwilym Simcock: Near and Now

review simcock x1 cong

If you like piano and you like the late-night end of jazz, there’s nothing to dislike about this. Simcock is a world-class musician — his day job while he did this was touring with Pat Metheny’s quartet. He’s also playing a world-class instrument: for you piano-heads it’s a Steinway B from 1900, custom-rebuilt by Germans in Hamburg: vorsprung durch simcok, maybe.

He produces a very full sound. Despite it being only the piano there’s a lot of notes, and he drives the music along, keeping busy and creating a groove. There are a few slower moments but while he plays gently, there’s nothing delicate about it. The closest comparison we can make is Keith Emerson from ELP, (but that would be in a tiresome 32-minute solo where you pray for an end).

There’s some sections that sound like jazz but with its energy and optimism, a lot of it could be 20th century American classical music.  We thought about the title, Near and Now sounding a bit like the Gong-derived prog rock outfit Here And Now but we guess it’s because he wrote it at home.

The cover art is by Mimmo Paladino. Out on ACT, 9883-2.

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