New Jazz-inspired release celebrates the kinship of two musical genres
Following the release of their first album in 2016, which featured in the hit US TV show The Walking Dead and reached #4 in the UK Specialist Classical Charts following its issue on vinyl for Record Store Day 2017, the LSO Percussion Ensemble returns with a new jazz-infused album of music by Gwilym Simcock, Steve Reich, Chick Corea, Makoto Ozone and Joe Locke.
Recorded live in the Jerwood Hall of LSO St Luke’s in London, Quartet Quintet centres around its two name-giving compositions which also represent the musical homeland of their composers. One is the world premiere of Quintet, a five-movement suite by the Welsh pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock that pulls inspiration from seminal jazz fusion acts Steps Ahead, Yellowjackets and Weather Report. The other is Steve Reich’s 2013 composition Quartet for two vibes and two pianos. The album also includes new interpretations of classic pieces by Jazz legends Chick Corea, Joe Locke and Makoto Ozone in arrangements by Joe Locke and ensemble member Simon Carrington.
Neil Percy, Principal Percussionist of the London Symphony Orchestra, said: “What an incredible musical journey this has been for the group. To be able to include the music of Steve, Chick, Joe, Makoto and Gwil is a personal dream come true. We always had a vision of where we wanted to take the group musically, but this album hugely exceeds my personal expectations, and for that, I’m truly grateful to the gentlemen named above, but also Simon, Sam, David, Philip, Gwil and Joe Havlat for their absolutely ‘stellar’ playing!”
Gwilym Simcock said: “With this suite, I wanted to take my own approach to combining together the two worlds of ‘classical’ and ‘jazz’ music. There are many composers and performers in the world who operate in this area, and the interesting thing for me is that we all approach it in our own personal way. I like the music to contain plenty of improvisation, as this is such a spontaneous and vibrant area to explore, but also for this to fit within the realm of the composition as a whole, so hopefully, it isn’t always obvious where the two disciplines meet. What is more important to me than this is the overall ‘arc’ of the music. I wanted each movement to be a little story in itself, but then hopefully the listener is taken on a journey through the course of the suite as a whole.
“It’s an absolute knockout!! This is what I love about the freedom of music. You can hear the same music in so many different ways and that can only bring your imagination to much, much bigger state.” – Makoto Ozone
I was also mindful of the fact this work would be documented alongside the Reich suite, so I wanted to take a suitably different approach – in order to make a hopefully enjoyable contrast within the programme of the concerts and this album.
Needless to say, it is wonderful as a composer to have such fantastic and open-minded musicians to write for, and this work was written very much with these specific musicians in mind. We all put in a large amount of work to make the music flow and bounce in the way that I wanted it to, and I’m extremely grateful to all of the guys for achieving this. I really hope you enjoy listening to it.”
“This is music which cannot be neatly categorized or pigeon-holed. Its brilliance lies in the very genre-blurring it celebrates and the ease with which all musicians involved navigate it. In trying to describe it, one word does come to mind, though – excellent.” – Joe Locke
Quartet Quintet was released on the London Symphony Orchestra’s LSO Live record label on 6 March 2020. It is available to stream and download from all major digital music services, as well as on CD.
“Congratulations on a brilliant performance! It’s very gratifying to hear my composition so well performed by the LSO Percussion Ensemble. Mallets forever!” – Chick Corea
About the LSO Percussion Ensemble
The LSO Percussion Ensemble was founded in 2015 by members of the London Symphony Orchestra’s percussion section. Its members include Neil Percy, Sam Walton, David Jackson, Simon Carrington, Joseph Havlat and Philip Moore. Previous recordings on the Orchestra’s label include an album of music by Steve Reich (LSO5073 Reich: Sextet, Clapping Music & Music for Pieces of Wood) and the world-premiere recording of Roll Over Beethoven by John Adams, performed by group members Philip Moore and Joseph Havlat.
About Gwilym Simcock
Winner of many awards for his playing and composition Gwilym Simcock moves effortlessly between jazz and classical creating a sound that is very much his own. He works with orchestras, choirs, big bands, small ensembles and musicians from all areas of music including jazz, folk, pop and classical combining through-composed elements with improvisation.
Described as a pianist of ‘exceptional’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘dazzling’ ability, he is renowned for his solo performances, releasing a Barclaycard Mercury nominated solo album ‘Good Days at Schloss Elmau” on ACT in 2011 which was lauded as “dazzlingly fresh”, “world class”, “stupendous” “phenomenal” “a cause for huge celebration”. His music is widely acclaimed as ‘engaging, exciting, often unexpected, melodically enthralling, complex yet hugely accessible’, and above all ‘wonderfully optimistic’.
Gwilym is often on radio and TV including The Proms on BBC2 TV, as guest presenter on ‘Saturday Classics’ and “Composer of the Week” on BBC Radio 3, and with the finalists at the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year Awards on BBC4 TV. In 2018-9 he is Artist in Residence with the NDR Big Band in Hamburg.
In 2014 he released two highly acclaimed albums on ACT, “Instrumation” with the City of London Sinfonia and “Reverie at Schloss Elmau” a duo with his long time collaborator bassist Yuri Goloubev. His latest release “Near and Now” (2019) is a highly acclaimed solo album dedicated to some of his early influences. Gwilym co-leads Anglo-American Supergroup ‘The Impossible Gentlemen’ (with Mike Walker, Steve Rodby and Adam Nussbaum) who were nominated as Best Ensemble in the 2013 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. He regularly tours the world with US guitar legend Pat Metheny’s quartet with Linda May Han Oh and Antonio Sanchez. He is Professor of Jazz Piano at his alma mater The Royal Academy of Music.
“No young musician outside the pop world has moved as fast into the upper reaches of his profession as Simcock”. – Stuart Nicholson, Observer
Steve Reich: Quartet*
Chick Corea: Duet Suite, Arr. Simon Carrington
Joe Locke: Her Sanctuary
Makoto Ozone: Kato’s Revenge, Arr. Simon Carrington
Gwilym Simcock: Suite for Percussion Quintet*
(*Performed by the LSO Percussion Ensemble & Gwilym Simcock. All other pieces performed by the LSO Percussion Ensemble.)