Simon Lasky is one of those musicians that has been successfully able to put one foot firmly in both the Classical and Jazz world without compromise. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that trait’s of the classical genre appear in both his playing and compositional style. The compositions and arrangements are tightly structured and at times symphonic in nature however at the same time organic and natural. Simon’s playing style displays the technical discipline of a classical pianist mixed well with the freedom of a jazz musician.
In the liner notes Simon states that he has always enjoyed “…those big moments in music, the build up of tension, then a climax followed by the release..” and goes on to mention the great symphonic works of Mahlar, Bruckner and Messian as inspiration. He rightly states that it’s not possible to achieve this symphonic effect with a 6 piece combo however the concept of tension and release can be heard throughout the album both in the compositions themselves and the improvisations.
I can remember in my student days, a lecturer answering when asked about the certainties in life “that the only three things you can be sure of in life are death, taxes and the fact the guitar and piano never work together.” Of course, this was meant in jest and has been proved incorrect by Herb Ellis and Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Jim Hall etc. On “About The Moment” Simon Lasky and Luca Boscagin also prove this statement incorrect. The two consistently stay in their own lane giving each other the room to move while at times coming together creating a seamless composite. The opening theme of the first track on the album “Dancing in the Rain” is a perfect example.
Bassist Pete Billington, is strong throughout the album providing together with Sophie Alloway (drums) a rock solid base for the ensemble and when requested, stepping out with a number of beautiful melodic solo’s for example on “She Said” and “Chasing Shadows”. The addition of the special guests Kuljit Bhamra (tabla) and Fergus Gerrard (percussion) without doubt add value to the line-up, these two together with Alloway provide a rhythmic bed that is omnipresent throughout the album but never intrusive. The third guest on the Album is Phillip Achille (harmonica) who provides a melodic kaleidoscope adding to the albums sound-scape.
It’s a difficult task finding any negative points on this album, however if there is one it would be the placement in the track listing of “Mila’s Song”. This solo piano track differs so much in style from the compositions on the rest of the album that in my opinion, the placement within the track list breaks the flow of the album.
After listening not only to “About the Moment” but also Simon’s previous release, “Story Inside” it’s clear to see Simons development not only as a composer but also as a pianist. All in all “About The Moment” is a wonderful album that will appeal to a large jazz audience. Highly recommended.
1. Dancing In The Rain
2. She Said
3. Mountain Spirit
5. Intro to Close to Ecstasy
6. Close to Ecstasy
7. Mila's Song
9. Chasing Shadows
10. New Day
Luca Boscagin (acoustic & electric guitars)
Pete Billington (fretless and electric bass)
Sophie Alloway (drums)
Kuljit Bhamra (tabla)
Fergus Gerrand (percussion)
Philip Achille (harmonica)