Simon Purcell - piano, compositions
Julian Siegel - saxophones
Chris Batchelor - trumpet
Steve Watts - double bass
Gene Calderazzo - drums
With special guest:
Liane Carroll - vocals (track 9)
Produced by Simon Purcell & Alex Bonney
Mixed by Alex Bonney
Mastered by Peter Beckmann
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
released November 10, 2014
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Red Circle is the debut release from pianist, composer and educator Simon Purcell, currently the Head of Jazz at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music in London. Purcell originally came to prominence during the UK jazz boom of the 1980s with his band 'Jazz Train' (with Martin Speake, Cleveland Watkiss, Dale Barlow et al), a quartet with Julian Arguelles (Loose Tubes), numerous appearances with or opposite visiting American artists at London's Bass Clef Club and occasional weeks at Ronnie Scott's.
As a passionate educator and thinker about music Simon's musicianship increasingly served educational ends, contributing to the development of jazz education in the UK (awarded Jazz Educator of the Year by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group). Now after nearly three decades of teaching in London's top conservatoires, this long overdue debut marks Simon's return to a more active performing career.
Purcell’s band is comprised of some of the most important contributors to the UK’s creative music scene during the last two decades. They’re also a bunch of old friends with years of playing experience and in this spirit the music was recorded in one room with no isolation between instruments, giving the album a ‘live date’ feeling. The rhythm section is made up of double bassist Steve Watts (Printmakers, Loose Tubes, Iain Ballamy) and Gene Calderazzo (Partisans, Pharoah Sanders, Joey Calderazzo, Zoe Rahman) dating back to the Bass Clef days. Julian Siegel (Partisans, Joey Barron, Kenny Wheeler, Django Bates, John Taylor) and Chris Batchelor (Big Air, Loose Tubes, Brotherhood of Breath, Hermeto Pascoal) are robust and individual musical personalities providing conceptual counterpoint that ensures the music-making is always more than the sum of the parts. As a result the intention behind the material (all by Purcell) is less about complex themes, instead providing attractive contexts for improvisation where these artists can masterfully stretch out.
While citing British pianists John Taylor, Pete Saberton and Gordon Beck as important influences, this music is very much informed by the universal traditions of jazz and improvised music from across the globe. Listen also for the 'bonus' track featuring the incomparable & soulful Liane Carroll.
"An expansive, clever record... The thoughtful intricate themes are mysteriously inviting, organically accommodating the players' characterful contributions... Purcell leads and plays with a benign wisdom."
★★★★ MOJO Magazine (Album of the Year list)
"The quality of the playing and compositions makes it stand out from the crowd. To think that Purcell has waited nearly 30 years from his initial emergence to record a debut CD this good is utterly extraordinary."
★★★★½ All About Jazz (Album of the Year list)
"Recorded ‘live’ in one room, this is jazz which is both tightly structured (from Purcell’s original compositions) yet endlessly free in improvisation."
"A fine debut."
★★★★ UK Vibe
"Evocative moods and firm structures add a fresh twist and the band's musicianship is first rate."
"One of the most accomplished homegrown acoustic jazz releases of the year so far. The head of jazz at Trinity-Laban’s first album for Whirlwind, the best UK indie jazz label for a while now in terms of the quantity and quality of its output, there’s something timeless about the appeal here in much the way that you can listen to an old Wayne Shorter record and it still seems modern and relevant, the collected wisdom of a lost time where the music sums up the pensive mood but celebrates the musical abandon so persuasively."
No other album of anything close to this quality will be released before the end of the year, so I can safely say this really is one of the three best albums of 2019 (Brad Mehldau's 'Finding Gabriel' & Rachel Grimes' 'The Way Forth' are the other two). Wonderful compositions, gorgeous voice, superb musicianship #simplyfabulous John Ferguson