BBC PROMS COMMISSION
WORLD PREMIERE 9TH AUGUST 2008 BBC PROMS
WITH THE GWILYM SIMCOCK TRIO AND THE BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY CHARLES HAZLEWOOD
Gwilym Simcock is dazzling poet of the keyboard
By Fiona Maddocks, Evening Standard 11.08.08
"Gwilym Simcock, 27, dazzling poet of the keyboard and Radio 3 New Generation Artist, has been catapulted from basement-club obscurity to Saturday night Proms stardom. As Jamie Cullum urged recently: "Catch Gwilym while you can still see him in venues without ushers".
Too late. The Red Coats were out in force.
In a weekend packed with premieres, Simcock's Progressions wins the prize for enlightened commissioning. This half-hour work combines the BBC Concert Orchestra with his own inspirational trio: Phil Donkin double bass, Martin France drums and Simcock himself. A stiffly traditional sounding piano concerto morphs into a noisy, rhythmically rich climax with extended improvisations and a short, bullet-shot ending".
"Pianist Simcock, bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Martin France played immaculately, as ever, in the improv sections of Simcock's Progressions for Piano and Orchestra". The Guardian
"The main premiere of the evening was Gwilym Simcock's 25-minute Progressions for piano and orchestra, which sought to fuse principles of jazz, including passages of improvisation, with the semblance of a bravura piano concerto. It was soft-centred music, with, in the smoochier bits, a sultry harmonic vocabulary redolent of the English 20th-century romantic, John Ireland, but there were also keyboard flourishes and propulsive rhythms that Simcock dispatched with aplomb". The Telegraph
"Gwilym Simcock is the new golden boy of jazz/classical fusion. A classically trained pianist, he plays with his own band (Phil Donkin, double-bass, Martin France, drums), and at the weekend found himself with the BBC Concert Orchestra in tow as well. Progressions was his new 20-minute, single- movement piano concerto, which fused with apparent ease the classical concerto format and the improvisations of jazz". The Times
"Simcock is one of the great jazz players of the day. He's British, and it'll be interesting to hear classical music influenced by jazz. And then he's a real cat playing his own stuff as well. That'll be cool, man." Nigel Kennedy, Radio Times
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