250

Geoff Simkins Quartet: Don't Ask

By

Sign in to view read count
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

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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Alto Gusto CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Flow CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Originals For the Originals CD/LP/Track Review Originals For the Originals
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Killing Bugs CD/LP/Track Review Killing Bugs
by Kevin Press
Published: November 20, 2017
Read The Way of It CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Tag Book CD/LP/Track Review Tag Book
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Better By Far" CD/LP/Track Review Better By Far
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Strange Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Strange Circles
by Daniel Marx
Published: August 8, 2017
Read "It Will Come" CD/LP/Track Review It Will Come
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "Pekka" CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Billows Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Ullr" CD/LP/Track Review Ullr
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 8, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor