Sunday, 30 January 2011


Jazz gets very little coverage in the national press.
Luckily the coverage it does get in the Guardian is of a very high quality and is usually provided by John Fordham - a critic who I admire quite a bit.
It's very rare that I will make a purchase solely on the say-so of a critic, but I have a couple of times based on his recommendations and not, yet, been disappointed.

Anyway. It's part of my Friday ritual... coffee, cake and jazz while reading the jazz reviews in the Friday Review part of the Guardian.
This week there was a fairly extensive article about the pianist Gwilym Simcock. He really does seem to be the "man of the moment". Read and heard a few good things about him lately. Quite a nice wee piece and I enjoyed reading the little extra bit about other pianists steeped in the classical tradition....
So. It was no great surprise that yesterday while out shopping I got myself a copy of Simcock's new solo piano album. Very Keith Jarrett like (or at least it seems to be after one listening).
Not his first album, but it is his first on the ACT label.... Hmm first ACT sign up Yaron Herman and now they sign up Gwilym Simcock. As long as they give them freedom and don't try to fill a void by turning them into Esbjorn Svensson clones.
But then... was it "fate"? Or, more likely, just happy coincidence... The Guradian article also mentions Andre Previn. I pop into an Oxfam books and music shop and whats there on the shelf? Well not an Andre Previn album as such, as it happens. But an album by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra featuring Andre Previn. "Happy Session" from 1958.
I might consider myself a bit of a "bop" fan who's really into small combos but I have a "guilty pleasure". I really do love a bit of big band jazz. So this was a must. Two piano players are listed. The other being Russ Freeman who is best known, to me, for his work with the likes of Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan.
A really happy find and addition to my big band collection as it doesn't have that many of the old Goodman standards (there are a few). This album features a couple of really nice covers including a really atmospheric cover of "Diga Diga Doo" that's been done by the likes of Duke Ellington and Artie Shaw.
Pure "Cotton Club" era jazz!
Picked up another in the charity shop. "Blues at Bradley's" by the Charles Fambrough octet. Still to give that an airing.

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