All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

287

Spike Wells / Gwilym Simcock / Malcolm Creese: Reverence

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Given its often spiritual nature, it's not surprising to find men of the cloth with a deep love of music. Still, finding priests who are talented jazz musicians is a greater challenge, but in the case of British drummer Spike Wells the order of events is important. Ordained as a priest in 1996, Wells began his professional life in the 1960s, playing with artists including iconic saxophonists Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott. He's a fine and flexible player whose Reverence is the first album bearing his name on the marquis, but the company he keeps is equally significant.



Gwilym Simcock has, in the space of a few short years, emerged as the most significant young pianist on the British scene. Starting life as a classical pianist, he's come to jazz only recently. Still, in the space of a few short years—still in his early twenties—he's racked up a remarkable list of accomplishments. He played on saxophonist Tim Garland's ambitious If The Sea Replied (Sirocco, 2005), and with Garland and bassist Malcolm Creese in Acoustic Triangle, whose Resonance (Audio-B, 2005) is a sublime piece of chamber jazz. He's also a member, with Garland, of veteran drummer Bill Bruford's Earthworks. Combining a voraciously encyclopedic talent as a player with increasing significance as a writer, it's not too early to suggest he's only at the beginning of a long and fruitful career.



Creese is a bassist who may not dominate, but whose presence is always felt. Like Scott Colley, he has the remarkable ability to find precisely the right note, the right phrase, for every moment; and like Charlie Haden, he possesses a deep, woody tone that fills out this trio beautifully.



Reverence is largely standards-based, but one that distinguishes itself through unexpected takes of familiar songs, and interplay that allows for considerable interpretive freedom throughout. "My Funny Valentine begins uncharacteristically with a drum solo, and one that proves Wells to be a melodic and narrative-focused soloist. But it's when Creese and Simcock enter at a fast clip that this classic ballad takes on new life. A dark take on "You Don't Know What Love Is is more conventional in tempo, but Simcock's economy, Creese's dual role as time-keeper and melodist, and Wells' elastic time approach make it a dark-hued highlight.



Simcock's largely rubato "And Then She Was Gone combines romantic classicism with moments of vivid drama, and a definitive solo from Creese that's all the more for its stark simplicity. The entire album possesses a warmth and presence that's become a signature for Creese's audiophile Audio-B label.



While the occasional religious reference pops up, most notably on the positively hymnal "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind that closes the disc, the Reverence of the title is more broad-scoped than any specific denomination. It's a compellingly spiritual disc that can be appreciated by any who view music as a transcendent experience.


Track Listing: Falling in Love with Love; And Then She Was Gone; I Hear a Rhapsody; Alone Together; Emily; Secret Love; You Don

Personnel: Spike Wells: drums, percussion; Gwilym Simcock: piano; Malcolm Creese: double-bass.

Title: Reverence | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Audio-B Ltd.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Half Light CD/LP/Track Review
Half Light
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 24, 2018
Read The Groove Hunter CD/LP/Track Review
The Groove Hunter
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 24, 2018
Read Powered by Life CD/LP/Track Review
Powered by Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 24, 2018
Read Seymour Reads The Constitution! CD/LP/Track Review
Seymour Reads The Constitution!
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 24, 2018
Read Mephiti CD/LP/Track Review
Mephiti
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2018
Read Seymour Reads The Constitution! CD/LP/Track Review
Seymour Reads The Constitution!
by Doug Collette
Published: May 23, 2018
Read "The Blues and I Should have a Party" CD/LP/Track Review The Blues and I Should have a Party
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 14, 2018
Read "Baby It's Cold Outside" CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "My One And Only Love: Live at Theater Gütersloh" CD/LP/Track Review My One And Only Love: Live at Theater Gütersloh
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 11, 2018
Read "Plunged" CD/LP/Track Review Plunged
by John Sharpe
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "Life at Nectar's" CD/LP/Track Review Life at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "Throw Tomatoes" CD/LP/Track Review Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018