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.
From the swinging new album, New York Notes (Savant) on which Alan Broadbent is accompanied by bassist Harvie S and drummer Billy Mintz.
Material featured includes Gigi Gryce’s Minority, Little Benny Harris’ Crazeology, Tadd Dameron’s On a Misty Night and Lennie Tristano’s 317 East 32nd Street. Clifford Notes, and Continuity and Waltz Prelude are Broadbent originals.
I do not think that I have played any record more this year so far than Esja.
There is something compelling about its bittersweet ostinati and the grand musical world Hania Rani conjures out of so little.
Another record that does not rely on genre at all, it is hardly a jazz record in the usual sense but again will appeal to jazz fans as it will anyone into minimalism or electronica even. Esja has an introverted feel to it and manages to tap melody out of rhythm and mood, often the three forces combining to mesmerising effect, say on ‘Eden’, and rather than sliding into a dreamy haze has an edge to it that draws you back again and over again.