250

Geoff Simkins Quartet: Don't Ask

By

Sign in to view read count
Geoff Simkins Quartet: Don't Ask
Don't Ask is the inaugural album for a new British jazz label, Symbol Records. If the album were to have a subtitle, it might be A Short History of the Bop Alto Saxophone since Charlie Parker. And this is no surprise, since most of the tunes on the program were composed by musicians who were weaned during the Parker era. This is a good album, with an interesting, challenging play list, a challenge the players meet and conquer with relative ease. Bop influence notwithstanding, the alto saxophonist who most frequently comes to mind as one listens to the alto of Geoff Simkins, is the light, airy, relaxed, almost self deprecating style of the inestimable Paul Desmond. On "Denny Zeitlin's "Quiet Now", listen to the well constructed interplay between Simkins and the Bill Evans'-like piano of Nikki Iles resulting in a inkling of what a Bill Evans, rather than a Dave Brubeck, Quartet featuring Paul Desmond might have sounded like - even more introspective than the Brubeck group. And introspective, coupled with relaxing, is the key to appreciating the performing philosophy. There are no barn burners here, no dazzling fingering runs, no screeches, honks and other extraneous noises. The closest to swinging bop is "Little Willie Leaps" where Martin France lets loose with a very Philly Joe Jones like drumming underneath Simkins' alto. This track is one of the highlights of an album filled with good tracks.

Simkins has been around since 1977 when he performed with the renowned British Group, the Temperance Seven Jazz Band, which blended jazz with comedy. But he has also shared the stage with Art Farmer, Al Cohn and Tal Farlow, among others. He has a couple of other albums with guitarist Dave Cliff for the Spotlite label. Nikki Iles is fast becoming one of the premiere jazz pianists in England and on the Continent. Among other credits, she has recorded with another first rank performer, vocalist Tina May. Martin France, whose drum work is key to holding this session together, has been with Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Towner and Lee Konitz. Bobby Wellins, Ruby Braff and Weslia Whitfield are among the artists with whom double bassist Simon Woolf has shared either the stage or recording studio. Woolf's command of the bass becomes apparent as he solos on "Very Early".

There's not a slouch in this group as they individually and collectively create more than an hour's worth of special small group interpretations. This album is recommended.

Tracks:Sunflower; Don't Ask; Quiet Now; Thingin'; Estate; Little Willie Leaps; The Duke; In Your Own Sweet Way; Silence; Very Early; 317 East 32nd Street; Subconscious-Lee

Personnel

Geoff Simkins - Alto Saxophone; Nikki Iles - Piano; Simon Woolf - Bass; Martin France - Drums

Album information

Title: Don't Ask | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Symbol Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly Pear Cactus
Ikue Mori / Satoko Fujii / Natsuki Tamura
Read Time OutTakes
Time OutTakes
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Read In Baltimore
In Baltimore
The George Coleman Quintet

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.