The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra will celebrate International Jazz Day on Sunday 30 April by playing the final date of its upcoming “Release” tour with pianist-composer Gwilym Simcock at Aberdeen Music Hall, writes Rob Adams.
Gwilym Simcock, a recent touring partner of Pat Metheny’s and a musician who was described as “ a creative genius” by the late Chick Corea, no less, has written a new programme of music, entitled Release, especially for the tour. In addition to featuring Simcock himself, the work will see the SNJO expanded to include Aberdeen-born guitarist Graeme Stephen and the distinguished percussionist Steve Forman.
“We’re really pleased to welcome Steve onto this tour,” says SNJO director, saxophonist Tommy Smith. “He’s an incredible asset to the Scottish scene, having left the Los Angeles studios, where he recorded with everyone from Sarah Vaughan to the Beach Boys, Art Garfunkel and James Taylor, initially to study composition here in Scotland. He now shares his vast experience with students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow and features in bands including Mezcla.”
Smith is a long-time admirer of Simcock, having first heard him play a solo piano concert some years ago. “I was transfixed and loved every minute,” says Smith, who is looking forward to sharing Simcock’s Release with the SNJO’s audience and adding it to the orchestra’s extensive repertoire.
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Simcock, for his part, is thrilled to be working with Smith and his musicians.
“It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to write for such a brilliant, world-famous ensemble,” he says. “As a composer, you want your music to be realized to the highest level, so I’m extremely excited by this commission and thrilled to be able to play it and hear it being played by the SNJO.”
The “Release” tour opens at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on 27 April and continues at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (28) and Gardyne Theatre, Dundee (29) before finishing up in Aberdeen on the 30th.