Album Review: Geoff Simkins Trio – In A Quiet Way

Geoff Simkins Trio

In A Quiet Way

(Symbol Records)

 

    Geoff Simkins’ love of more obscure (but beautiful) repertoire shines through on this album, beginning with Make Someone Happy, which opens with a lovely solo piano intro by Nikki Iles.

    The gently played waltz Elsa is one of two compositions by Earl Zindars on the album, and also one of the catchiest tunes, on an album full of beautiful melodies and solos.

    Fans of Nikki Iles will know of her love for the music of Kenny Wheeler and this is represented here by Wheeler’s Old Ballad, which Wheeler recorded on his own trio album, One of Many, with John Taylor and Steve Swallow. Dave Green’s double bass on this track blends beautifully with the piano.

    An uptempo version of Lee Konitz’s Friend-Lee sees bassist Dave Green duetting with Simkins before the piano enters. This is West Coast-style bebop at its best, with Simkins, Iles and Green in full flight.

    Nelson Cavaquinho’s delicate bossa nova Beija Flor is introduced by Dave Green’s full-sounding bass with Iles entering before Simkins plays the melody followed by Iles’ solo full of flourishes and beautifully punctuated chords.

    The upbeat Nobody Else But Me is introduced with bass and piano and is yet another understated and beautifully played tune.

    Sareen Jurer is the other Earl Zindars tune, another one made famous by Bill Evans and another gentle waltz and one of the few tracks on the album to feature a bass solo.

    Mooch Too Early, Josh Ruttner’s hybrid of Moose the Mooche set to the chords of Very Early is a tricky and quite quirky experimental juxtaposition that works well.

    For DJC, dedicated to Dave Cliff, is a gentle modal piece and a fitting tribute to the guitarist.

    The album has a good balance of contrasting tunes as well as variations on the solo/duo/trio format and is recorded in such a way as to capture the tone and unique sound that each member of the band has.

 

Charlie Anderson