Geoff Simkins Trio
The Verdict, Brighton
Sunday 18th June 2017
Local legend Geoff Simkins hasn’t released an album under his own name for a number of years, so it was great to see him launch his new album at The Verdict in Brighton, accompanied by the two other musicians on the CD, Nikki Iles and Dave Green.
With some beautiful and sensitive playing from Nikki Iles on the introduction to Julie Styne’s Make Someone Happy and a playful and soulful solo on Elsa.
Simkins, often providing extra backing to some inspired and delicate soloing by bassist Dave Green.
Ending the set was a joint-composition entitled For DJC, dedicated to guitarist Dave Cliff, which began with a Herbie-inspired piano introduction that merged into a beautiful ballad reminiscent of Sam Rivers.
The second set began with one of Bill Evans’ most challenging compositions,Interplay, highlighting Simkins’ ability to play complex tunes but add genuine warmth to them.
The complexity continued with the composition Mooch Too Early, Josh Rutner’s Respect Sextet’s hybrid of Bird’s Moose the Mooche over the chords of Bill Evans’ Very Early.
By way of contrast, they then performed Nelson Cavaquinho’s Beija Flor as a gentle bossa nova.
With Lee Konitz’s Subconscious-Lee, Geoff excelled at what he does so well: fast and fluid bebop lines across the entire range of the instrument with rhythmic punctuations.
Always one for finding hidden gems, Geoff’s choice of the Earl Zindars’ waltz Sareen Jurer, made famous by Bill Evans, was the climax of the second set and once again featured a beautiful solo by Dave Green, followed by an encore of How Deep Is The Ocean.
The album, In a Quiet Way, is out now on the Symbol label.
Geoff Simkins, alto saxophone; Nikki Iles, piano; Dave Green, double bass.