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Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Lighthouse Trio in Hong Kong.13th October 2009

Tim Garland (reeds), Gwylym Simcock (pno), Asaf Sirkis (perc.)
I caught the amazing Lighthouse Trio at the Luxe Hotel in Kowloon last night and can truly say they are the band to see at the moment. Not only do they play exquisitely, but with real passion and a sense of danger - always a must for me in any music - but this was vertiginous danger. Their rapport and ensemble is just so sorted, though they escape catastrophe in one mighty bound every time.
This is a fusion of virtuosic playing and 6th sense sensibilities that can only be heard to be believed. Tim Garland on bass clarinet and B flat saxes, Gwylym Simcock on the hotel’s Yamaha acoustic grand and Asaf Sirkis playing his eclectic array of percussion are musicians of supreme skill and talent of course, but as an ensemble it is hard to think of another which could reach the level of the bar they’ve set.
Much of the material was from their excellent CD “Libra” – an absolute MUST for discriminating music lovers. Tim’s original compositions presented a mix of inspirations, ideas and concepts, and the additional material ranging from a homage to The Beatles’ “Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night” to Miles Davies/Bill Evans’ “Blue in Green,” segueing into the outrageous “Tango,” gives you a clue to the soundscapes created.
The peerless Gwylym Simcock spent quite a while virtually inside the piano using it as an extra percussion kit and vibration chamber to create extraordinary and beautiful complementary sounds, but it was on the keys that he was, simply, stunning. In raging tempests of notes and rhythms, delicate little fragments and crazily soaring lines he extended the composition ideas to the farthest reaches of the imagination. Just when you thought it was out of control, Tim and Asaf joined him seamlessly with unison melodic and rhythmic threads; it was you who’d lost it, not them. Asaf Sirkis is clearly a unique percussionist in this field. The trademark Udu, his wonderful clay pot of a “drum+bass” was absent due to the dangers of transport and the sheer weight of the thing not being welcome on aeroplanes, but it was replaced by the novel Hang Drum, a kind of pentatonic steel pan but with a delicate ring of its own. It featured, exquisitely, in “Old Man Winter,” mesmerising the audience with its ethereal sound.
With such a creative guy in command of a percussion empire, expectations were high of course, but Asaf exceeded them within moments of putting hand and stick to skin and steel; his playing was dazzling, subtle, imaginative and compelling throughout the gig.
The Hong Kong International Jazz Festival has to be congratulated on selecting the Lighthouse Trio as the UK representative, and all credit goes to them for their choice; but surely not even they could have known just what a dazzling jewel they’d discovered. They do now. Fabulous stuff!
Mark Monument.

1 comment :

Lance said...

Thanks Mark. Please feel free to contribute more reviews from around the world! Your descritption of this gig brought back memories of the trio playing a lunchtime concert at Newcastle Uni. earlier this year. Absolutely incredible stuff proving that today's contemporary sounds can still retain a degree of musicality.

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