GWILYM SIMCOCK PIANIST & COMPOSER
A virtuoso pianist and imaginative composer, Gwilym Simcock is a leading artist on the European music scene. Trained as a classical pianist from his youth, at the age of fourteen he turned his attention to jazz and composition, putting his musical foundation to work in a quest for a new and original sound. That his endeavor has borne fruit is confirmed by a myriad of awards, including the UK's Parliamentary Jazz Awards and the BBC Jazz Awards designation as “Jazz Musician of the Year.” Moving effortlessly between classical and jazz forms, he has been described as reminiscent of Keith Jarrett, complete with “harmonic sophistication and subtle dovetailing of musical traditions.” Pianist and composer Chick Corea called him "a creative genius."
The range of his work both as pianist and composer are testament to the depth of his musicianship. His solo performances include those recorded on the albums Blues Vignette (Basho) and Good Days at Schloss Elmau (ACT) which was chosen by the most prestigious music award in the UK, the Mercury Prize, as "Album of the Year." Duos include those with such artists as violinist Thomas Gould, bassist Yuri Goloubev, and pianists Leszek Mozdzer and Michael Wollney. He co-leads the Anglo-American quartet The Impossible Gentlemen with whom he has released three albums. For the past two years, he has been the pianist in Pat Metheny's quartet joining bassist Linda Oh and drummer Antonio Sanchez. He has been commissioned to write new works for dancers, choirs, small ensembles, big bands and large orchestras and continues to be in demand as a composer and arranger.
"Simcock’s reputation as a great pianist has been building since his early twenties. Now 30, he enters the pantheon with this solo set, beautifully recorded in a German studio overlooking the mountains, which lays out the full panoply of his breathtaking gifts. Though a magnificent improviser, jazz doesn’t quite cover what he does. Echoes of Ravel, Debussy, Chopin and Bach harmonise with those of Peterson, Shearing, Evans and Jarrett. The impression is of the whole of musical history having been profoundly absorbed and utilised as fuel for his spontaneous art. Add to this a thrilling rhythmic precision, structural rigour and an ability to express an essentially romantic conception with the full range of pianistic colours and timbres and the result is an extraordinary recital by a major talent."
CHRIS INGHAM, MOJO, REVIEW OF "GOOD DAYS AT SCHLOSS ELMAU"
"Gwilym Simcock is a stupendous improviser and a remarkable musician all round. He was a teenage classical piano prodigy when he discovered jazz and now, at 29, he has collected most of the British jazz awards going. But, left alone with a piano, he creates music which is neither jazz nor classical but simply itself. It's hard to ignore the expectations raised by labels, but it's worth the effort because there's so much to listen to in these eight pieces, especially the melodies buried inside his harmonies and the mercurial changes in mood and texture."
DAVE GELLY, THE OBSERVER (LONDON), REVIEW OF "GOOD DAYS AT SCHLOSS ELMAU"
"It’s joyful stuff in every sense, having the excitement and barely contained enthusiasm of spontaneous dance and shout, but a deep and satisfying spiritual joy also. That he has achieved this understanding at so young an age suggests there is a lot more profound music to come in what is already a remarkably rich and fruitful career, despite its brevity (remember, this is only Simcock’s third recording under his own name!)."
PETER BACON, THE JAZZ BREAKFAST (UK), REVIEW OF "GOOD DAYS AT SCHLOSS ELMAU"
"Further evidence of the young pianist’s abundant talents is revealed on two CDs that range from interpretations of standards and Grieg through to his own suite for cello and piano plus jazz compositions. Solo and with his trio, he can dazzle, blurring distinctions between jazz and classical. You can hear a debt to Keith Jarrett, particularly on a bravura version of On Broadway, and perhaps Brad Mehldau, too. Nevertheless, a powerful individual voice is emerging."
JOHN BUNGEY, THE TIMES (LONDON), REVIEW OF "BLUES VIGNETTE"
"Gwilym's an original. A creative genius."
CHICK COREA, AMERICAN PIANIST AND COMPOSER
FULL LENGTH SOLO PERFORMANCE AT FONDATION LOUIS VUITTON (PARIS)
"THESE ARE THE GOOD DAYS" (GWILYM EXPLAINS AND PERFORMS)
"THESE ARE THE GOOD DAYS" — BARCLAYCARD MERCURY PRIZE 2011