Gwilym Simcock and Yuri Goloubev

Duo Art: Reverie at Schloss Elmau

Gwilym Simcock (piano) and Yuri Goloubev (bass) have provided an outstanding duo recording entitled, Duo Art: Reverie at Schloss Elmau (ACT 2014). The teaming up of the UK pianist Simcock and the Russian double-bassist Goloubev is a wonderful combination of two musicians that are confident improvisers that blend the language of jazz and classical to yield elegance that is very entertaining. Both were classical music prodigies and have world-class techniques on their respective instruments and have enjoyed a career path in the concert hall.

Russian born Yuri Goloubev is a true rarity and exception in the musical world. In the early part of his career he performed in many of the world’s most prestigious venues with the likes of Rostropovich and Bashmet, Galway and Quasthoff as principal bassist for the world famed “Moscow Soloists” recording for such labels as EMI and SONY Classical (including one Grammy nomination). In 2004, Goloubev moved to Milan, Italy and devoted himself to jazz; performing at major festivals such as: Montreux Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz, London Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz, Perth Festival, Jazzahead and more, additionally, recording for jazz labels ACT, Universal and Basho.

Yuri Goloubev's playing is featured on over 80 albums, including several CDs as a band leader and composer. Goloubev has collaborated with such orchestras as: Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro alla Scala and Orchestra Filarmonica Toscanini and conducted workshops in Ireland, United Kingdom, USA, Croatia, and Italy. From 2007 to 2009 Goloubev was a faculty member of Centro Professione Musica in Milan (CPM). In 2010, Goloubev was appointed the jazz double bass professor at Trento Conservatory (Italy).

Schloss Elmau, in Bavaria, was the recording venue for pianist Simcock's solo album Good Days at Schloss Elmau (ACT Music, 2011). Duo Art: Reverie at Schloss Elmau is the first duo CD for either player, although they have played and recorded together in many ensembles over the years including trios with drummers James Maddren and Asaf Sirkis. On Duo Art: Reverie at Schloss Elmau the two effortlessly and mutually supports each other on nines selections that are comprised of eight originals and one cover from the classical bass repertoire, Bottesini’s “Reverie.” Of the eight originals Simcock wrote five and Goloubev contributes three. Both composers create a harmonic landscape that is built upon the melding of classical and jazz. Melody is always of the utmost importance and the creative use of space result in an overall relaxing project that is fresh and filled with subtle virtuosic playing.

“Pastoral” starts the program and sets the mood for the entire project with its 19th century classical influence molded with jazz embellishments and the intense listening the two share while playing. “Non-Schumann Lied” the title says it all and Simcock’s playing is full of beautiful sonorities and conveyed with a great touch. Goloubev’s bow work on “A Joy Forever” is beautiful and “Antics” flurries with the language of jazz conveyed with fresh phrasing and touch by both players.

The cut, "Lost Romance," originally written for accordion by Goloubev transfers effortlessly as a romantic ballad for bass and piano, whereas "Antics" is fittingly fidgety and finds the two exploring an enjoyable quicker tempo. "A Joy Forever," brings the rich bow work of Goloubev’s arco lines back to the forefront. "Flow" a fluid selection that find Simcock’s right hand work exploring all the subtle points of the rich harmonic territory with Goloubev arco work exploring the high register of his bass with precision and clarity. "Reverie," written for piano and double bass by the 19th century Italian composer Giovanni Bottesini, is performed beautifully.

Simcock’s playing and contribution to the jazz cannon will certainly open ears (especially in the states) with his startling technique and command of a language and the blending of classical and jazz traditions while his name is starting to be mentioned as being among the very best in the world. Goloubev’s playing is a sound of beauty with impeccable technique and heartfelt feel. Duo Art: Reverie at Schloss Elmau is excellently recorded and produced and will be a welcomed addition to anyone’s music library. The mixing of classicism and jazz makes this wonderful recording stand out.

Track Listing: Pastoral; Lost Romance; Shades Of Pleasure; Antics; A Joy Forever; Non-Schumann Lied; Flow; Vain Song; Reverie.

Personnel: Gwilym Simcock: piano; Yuri Goloubev: bass.

Record Label: ACT Music

Style: Modern Jazz

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H. Allen Williams