This ensemble are one of the various
groupings Simcock performs in, and have recently released an album,
Blues Vignette, on Basho Records.
Both the music and the dancing were improvised
and the audience had the opportunity to see and hear these talented
performers interacting with each other live on stage.
Charnock is a veteran of the modern dance world, having
co-founded DV8 with Lloyd Newson, but the taut physical discipline of
his fast-paced and energetic jazz dance routine would have been the
envy of someone half his age. With confidence and elan, he interacted
with the audience, and with virtually every item on the stage.. At
times the grand piano, centre stage, was used as a sculptural object
which Charnock danced around, underneath and beside, a little
reminiscent of Richard Alston's famous Soda Lake solo. At other times
he wrapped himself in the curtains, with just his tapping feet
Although the performance was light-hearted and entertaining, in DV8
tradition taboos were broken at almost every moment, with simulations
of sexual intercourse, masturbation, injecting drugs and snorting
cocaine. Somehow this was done in a way which always remained comic
parody rather than bad taste, humour pervading the proceedings at all
Traditional boundaries between audience and performer and between
musicians and dancer were broken with the same abandon; at one moment
Charnock sat down beside Simcock on the piano stool and suggested they
swap roles. Simcock, ever cool and laconic, obligingly made way.
Latecomers were accosted and a running commentary was made on the music.
An audience member's back was adopted as a bag; the aisles and even
the seating formed performance space and in an exhilarating close to
the first half, a ladder at the rear was incorporated into the vertical moves.
The second half opened with an
instrumental set, with Yuri Goloubev on double bass and James Maddren
on percussion joining Simcock. We were told Goloubev
had arrived from Italy only a little earlier that same day after a series of delays due
to the adverse weather conditions, but this was not apparent from his
calm and skillful playing.
Simcock is a gifted and original soloist, with the accolade of being
the first ever jazz musician to be a BBC New Generation Artist. The influences of Keith
Jarrett, Chick Corea and Mark-Anthony Turnage are all clear in his work, but he
has his own distinct voice. In addition to his acclaimed solo work, he
performs in ensembles ranging from the trio heard tonight through to
big bands. It was fascinating to gain this wider insight into his versatility
as a musician through both his ensemble work and solo playing.
The trio worked well together and the balance between the different
instruments and musicians was pleasing. As with the first half of the
evening, the performers were clearly enjoying themselves and their
enjoyment was infectious, resulting in an entertaining and uplifting evening.
The London Jazz Festival continues over the next fortnight. at a range
venues throughout the capital. The Southbank Centre showcases more
innovative choreography and physical theatre in its forthcoming
Move Weekend, 26-28 November 2010.
For tickets and further information see: SouthbankCentre.co.uk
For more on the London Jazz Festival see: LondonJazzFestival.org.uk
- Juliet Williams