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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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TIM GARLAND /
GWILYM SIMCOCK /
ASAF SIRKIS

Lighthouse

ACT 9525-2

 

 


1. Space Junk [4:29]; 2. Weathergirls [6:18]; 3.One Morning [8:59]; 4.Above The Sun [7:34]; 5.The Wind On The Water [5:04]; 6.King Barolo [9:18]; 7.Wax Lyrical [7:48]; 8.Devilled [3:49]; 9.Tawel Nawr (Quiet Now) [3:16]

Tim Garland (soprano & tenor sax, bass clarinet), Gwilym Simcock (piano, melodica on 1), Asaf Sirkis (drums, percussion, hang drum)

Recorded, mixed and mastered By Curtis Schwartz at Curtis Schwartz Studio, Ardingly, West Sussex, UK. Recorded 22-24 November, 2011, mixed and mastered December 2011. [56:17]

 

The name Lighthouse is inspired by the St.Mary’s Lighthouse that stands 500 metres off England’s north east coast near Whitley Bay and not far from the Scottish border. It is close to where the composer and saxophonist Tim Garland set up home after being appointed as composer-in-residence at nearby Newcastle University. It was Garland’s idea of presenting live some of his compositions on bass clarinet that he recorded inside the lighthouse and later orchestrated that gave birth to the Lighthouse Trio once he had recruited his former student at the Royal Academy of Music in London pianist Gwilym Simcock, along with Asaf Sirkis, that magical drummer who has played as hand drummer with Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble to such well deserved acclaim. It was for this trio that Sirkis created a specially developed drum kit that is capable of producing some amazingly surprising sounds resulting in a trio that sounds far greater than the sum of its parts. All the tunes are originals with the overall impression being one of wonder at the inventiveness and pure musicality of them, each highly catchy, making you want to play the disc over and over again. Gwilym Simcock is a fantastic pianist who plays with the assuredness that comes from a lifetime of playing but is there in spades right now. Tim Garland is such a wonderful player whichever of the three instruments he tackles on this disc, his tone warm and beautifully round, and Sirkis’ percussion and drumming is the final vitally essential ingredient that completes a musical alchemy that adds up to a hugely satisfying experience. The cd kicks off with a great fast and furious funky number called Space Junk after a satellite that broke up and fell to earth in 2011 in pieces the size of a fridge. The use of a melodica is perfect for this little tune giving it a metallic sound akin to a honky-tonk piano straight out of a pub and which accurately describes the metal fragments as they hurtle earthbound. It certainly grabs your attention and the second track Weathergirls is another great tune and one that all three musicians had a hand in writing and is well described in the liner notes as being “Breezy, bright with occasional stormy patches” – couldn’t put it better if I tried. Track three One Morning is a beautiful and beautifully slow ballad that showcases Asaf Sirkis’ undoubted talents in hand drumming, accompanied by Simcock’s wonderful pianism and Garland’s silky, lyrical tenor sax. Above the Sun is a tune influenced by flamenco and a “reply to a previous Lighthouse tune, Bajo de Sol” say the players, and as bajo means below in Spanish the reference is clear and the tune is another winner. The Wind On The Water describes “Midnight walks along a Northumbrian beach. ‘Lucky’ barks at the luminous waves that reach for us under the stars and a giant moon” and anyone who knows beaches like those near Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne, aided by Garland’s wonderfully lilting soprano sax, can well imagine the scene with those wonderfully wide expanses of sand lapped by the north sea, and, if you don’t then get your tickets booked! King Barolo is dedicated to Malcolm Creese, founder of Acoustic Triangle a classical/jazz trio that these musicians have also worked with and whose generosity following gigs often extends to the opening of a bottle of Portugal’s famous and inky black, gorgeously luscious wine, Barolo, a perfect wine to quaff whilst listening – again if you haven’t tried it now’s the time to do so while this number is spinning in your player! Wax Lyrical is Simcock’s tribute to Stan Sulzman the great British saxophonist who he has enjoyed working with over the years and who has been an inspiration to him. Slow and thoughtful, this tune shows Simcock’s delicate treatment in the piano role while Garland’s mellifluous soprano sax gently accompanies and Sirkis’ restrained drumming points out the calm embodied within the piece. We’re brought right back to earth with Devilled a frenetic little number which is another tribute, this time to Bill Bruford, drummer with Yes/King Crimson and Prog Rock pioneer, whose band Earthworks both Tim Garland and Gwilym Simcock have worked with. The disc is nicely rounded off with Tawel Nawr (Quiet Now) “A little bedtime story” bearing a welsh title in a nod to Simcock’s origins and 3minutes and 16 seconds of gentle, blissful music to send you off to sleep happy that a trio like this exists and the hope that The Lighthouse Trio continues to shine its beacon out to help illuminate the world of jazz for many years to come!

Steve Arloff



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