Simcock & Goloubev Reverie at Schloss Elmau ACT **** RECOMMENDED
There’s a Slavic atmosphere in Gwilym Simcock’s solo phrasing on ‘Pastoral’ in just a note or two that almost conjures Komeda's ‘Svantetic’ at the beginning of Reverie at Schloss Elmau that’s new, a tantalising prelude to this quite beautiful duo record.
Yet the surroundings are familiar as it’s a return to the imposing Bavarian retreat of Schloss Elmau for the pianist snowy in the album picture and where the Impossible Gentlemen player found himself recording in March with bassist Yuri Goloubev and where Simcock recorded his solo album Good Days at Schloss Elmau, released in 2011. On Reverie… there’s a selection of material written separately by both Simcock and bassist Goloubev, who also joins Simcock on April 2014’s expansive chamber orchestral Instrumation release.
Reverie... is an intimate immaculate record rhapsodic, heartfelt, and true, the piano/bass format ideal for a chamber jazz setting, as Jasmine, Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden’s subtle duo explorations released in 2010, went some way to prove. Clues in the track titles lead directly and naturalistically to the prevailing sentiments and moods at work, instrumentals that evoke without a hint of varnish lost romance, “shades of pleasure”, and above all wistful day dreams, the reverie in the title. Goloubev has gorgeous Miroslav Vitous-like tone and sumptuous melodic resource and the excellent sound quality of the album enhancing the natural reverb at the Schloss is its match, while Simcock plays in a style that is way beyond the manifestations of the virtuoso that he has long been recognised as. There’s an instinctive ease and joy in his playing say in the exuberant Jarrett-esque flourishes of ‘Antics’, and above all the ‘flow’, to adopt the title of the seventh track, so rarely experienced on record.