A LANDMARK recording. This solo piano album of Gwilym Simcock’s acts as his own dedication to players he loves and reveres (Billy Childs, Brad Mehldau, Egberto Gismonti, Russell Ferrante, etc) but also and just as significantly represents a one stop visit to the remarkable style and sound of this astonishing pianist’s artistry. Simcock has a big technique but that never gets in the way of his torrential flood of melodic ideas which often land never far from a rhapsody and at all times are delivered with tenderness and skill. Jazz does not get any better than this in 2019.
Following on from last week’s story that Concord have announced details of a new Chick Corea album this summer, here is the lead off pre-release track the flamenco flavoured ‘The Yellow Nimbus, Part 2’ from Antidote by Chick’s nascent Spanish Heart Band, the great pianist revisiting songs from his albums My Spanish Heart and Touchstone with a multi-cultural octet, plus new compositions and guest appearances by vocalists Rubén Blades, Chick’s wife Gayle Moran Corea, and Maria Bianca.
The band is Flamenco guitarist Niño Josele and saxophonist/flutist Jorge Pardo who both hail from Spain and have both worked with the late flamenco master Paco de Lucía. Bassist Carlitos Del Puerto was born in Havana, Cuba and played on Chinese Butterfly, Corea’s 2017 collaboration with legendary drummer Steve Gadd – as did Venezuelan percussionist Luisito Quintero with Trumpeter Michael Rodriguez and trombonist Steve Davis plus Marcus Gilmore who follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, the great Roy Haynes, as a master drummer (and close collaborator with Corea). The band is augmented by flamenco dancer Nino de los Reyes.
Look for the album in late-June. Chick and the Spanish Heart Band are playing the Love Supreme festival this summer.
What a lot the veteran Japanese pianist Aki Takase has packed in here: turntable culture somehow; rolling, boisterous sax-led themes; the anarchy of free form jazz; and the wild abandon of the player leader herself who if you can imagine Yoko Ono as a jazzer you would be only half-way there.
The group, her Japanic, bristles with some fine players chiefly Daniel Erdmann on sax in one of his best sideman appearances I’ve heard and her tunes have an epic, spirited, grandeur to them able interpreted by the ingenious ensemble. Tremendous.