Review: (Lighthouse Trio aka) Simcock, Garland, Sirkis - Lighthouse
|Artist:||(Lighthouse Trio aka) Simcock, Garland, Sirkis|
|Date of Release:||2012/04|
|Cat. No.:||ACT 9525-2|
|Country of Release:||UK|
|Date of Review:||2012/07/23|
Released in April on the German ACT label, Simcock, Garland, Sirkis' Lighthouse is the world-class trio's latest, eagerly anticipated release and their first since 2009's sensational Libra.
Also known as The Lighthouse Trio, or Tim Garland's Lighthouse Trio, the renowned trio here simply call themselves Simcock, Garland, Sirkis. Gwilym Simcock, one of the younger stars of the piano, Tim Garland, one of the very finest tenor and soprano sax as well as bass clarinet players anywhere, and Asaf Sirkis, today's finest drummer and percussionist on the planet and its most-in-demand one, long make up one of the world's most formidable trios, with a big, unique orchestral sound. This is reinforced by Simcock's 'symphonic' style and Sirkis' special rig of frame drums, cymbals, bells, and bass udu (a clay vessel drum of African - Nigerian, actually - origin) and hang drum, aka steel drum (not to be confused with the steel pan, with which it shares a common ancestry and whose tones it resembles though played with the hands/fingers), while Garland somehow seems to manage to replace a whole woodwind section at times.
Of the nine original tracks on Lighthouse, no less than five are Simcock ones, while three are penned by Garland and one, starting out as an idea by Garland, is co-written by Simcock, Garland and Sirkis. All nine compositions are as outstanding as one would expect from composers of this calibre. One, Garland's Above The Sun, has immediate strong echoes of Libra's Bajo Del Sol, even in the title (the latter being the opposite of the former in Spanish, i.e., 'Under The Sun') but especially in the groove and also Garland's bass clarinet and sax, and with more than a touch of flamenco. All nine tracks bear Celtic influences, especially in the mainly groove-driven melodies.
The grooves that Sirkis lays down are simply mind-blowing, drawing on a seemingly infinite palette with his customary precision, subtlety and sensitivity. At times, he calls on Carnatic rhythms, at others his practice of Carnatic konakol is prominently discernible. Of particular note also are Sirkis' hang drum and bass udu, both unequalled and made exquisite use of. On occasion, grooves are also carried by Simcock, with an amazing panache yet sensitivity. Sensitivity and delicacy of touch, where appropriate, are among Simcock's greatest strengths, the others including inventive melody and harmony. What can be said about Garland that has not been said countless times before? His voice is one of the two most beautiful ones to be found on the contemporary scene, whether on his tenor or soprano, or indeed his bass clarinet. His imagination and innovation seem boundless, as ever.
Lighthouse is everything one would expect it, and wish it, to be. It is almost certainly the finest jazz album of the year so far. Flawless ensemble playing and breath-taking soloing are nothing less than would be expected from this extraordinary trio.
To speak about consistency would be an insult here. This album is perfection itself. Or at least, as near as is to be found or achieved. Lighthouse is at once utterly mesmerising and compulsive, and one cannot bear it to stop. Simcock, Garland and Sirkis have taken things to yet a higher level with this exquisite album. It is indubitably their most outstandingly beautiful, innovative, inspired to date. Lighthouse is simply brilliant. The work of musical giants. Makes your hair stand on end. This is a jazz album to just die for, happily.
To say that Simcock, Garland, Sirkis' Lighthouse is a must have for any jazz connoisseur would surely be understatement. Nothing and no-one could wrest this sensational album from my cold, dying hands!
1. Space Junk (Simcock) - 4:29
Credits:Tim Garland - soprano & tenor sax, bass clarinet
Gwilym Simcock - piano, melodica (1)
Asaf Sirkis - drums, percussion, hang drum
Lighthouse can be purchased from:
other online sources
All rights reserved.