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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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Since Forever

Naim NAIMCD 124



1. Since Forever
2. No War Nowhere
3. Even in the Evening
4. I Know You Know
5. In a Silent Way
6. More Often than Not
7. Simple Psalm
8. Same Difference
9. Ways of Seeing
10. What's the Magic Word?
11. Song of the Sea
12. Beginning / Middle / End

Fred Simon - Piano
Paul McCandless - Soprano sax, oboe, English horn, bass clarinet, duduk
Steve Rodby - Acoustic bass
Mark Walker - Drums, percussion

There is a style of jazz typified by the group Oregon which is far away from extrovert jazz, trad groups or foot-tapping big bands. It might be categorised as "chamber jazz", although this may give the wrong impression of a cold, detached music. In fact Fred Simon here produces music which is warmly emotional without being noisy or flashy.

The comparison with Oregon is apt, as the album also includes multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless - a long-time member of Oregon - as well as drummer Mark Walker, who has played with that group. The bassist (and co-producer with Fred) is Steve Rodby, familiar from his work with Pat Metheny, which is another assurance of melodic music.

All the tunes are compositions by pianist Fred Simon - except for Joe Zawinul's In a Silent Way, which is a tune that seems to slip through my fingers whenever I try to grasp it. The opening title-track is dedicated to folk singer Pete Seeger: "the great musician and humanist", says Simon. The tune sets the mood for an album which is steadily effective despite its understatement. Paul McCandless is instrumental (in more ways than one) in this success: interpreting Simon's inventions on a variety of instruments, most notably the oboe. And Simon's compositions all have a placid melodic appeal which repays repeated listening.

I won't describe every track in detail, as you should buy the album for yourself! But I particularly like the buoyancy of No War Nowhere and the airiness of More Often Than Not. In any case, the mood of the music is fairly consistent throughout: unhurried, tranquil, with the sort of imperturbable atmosphere that can often be found in the work of such composers as Delius and Vaughan Williams. Some listeners may dismiss it as bland or sentimental but I love it.


Tony Augarde 

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