Jazz CD Reviews

Fred Simon – Remember the River – Naim

Paul McCandless on reeds highlights this trio with all original compositions

Published on October 26, 2007

Fred Simon – Remember the River – Naim
Fred Simon – Remember the River – Naim CD081, 55:15 *****:

(Fred Simon, piano; Paul McCandless, reeds; Steve Rodby, acoustic bass)

Seeing the name of the standout soloist of the group Oregon first attracted me to this very pleasing CD.  McCandless has a wonderfully lyrical, long-lined approach to melody no matter whether he’s playing his oboe, English horn, soprano sax, bass clarinet or even the penny whistle he toots on one of these tracks. Bassist Rodby keeps the ensemble’s underpinnings moving along smoothly. I wasn’t familiar with pianist-composer Simon.  Turns out this is his fifth album of his original compositions, he has another trio CD with McCandless and guitarist Teja Bell, and he did an album of his solo piano arrangements of Brian Wilson songs, “The Music of the Beach Boys.”

Another reviewer identified his inspiration coming from jazz, the Beatles and European Impressionism.  That says it right there, and no wonder his pieces immediately appealed to me.  Another factor is the great clarity of the sonics.  The album was recorded in a concert hall of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and its engineering standards are of the very highest – or it wouldn’t be released under the auspices of  UK high end component-maker Naim.  The general mood of the CD and its instrumentation may remind one of the ECM jazz sound, but there is also a warmth, optimism and dreamy quality about all the music which is not often found in the ECM stable.  The titles alone give a hint of this.

TrackList: Kore (O Love, where are you leading me now?), Remember the River, Double Dream, December Together, Time Will Tell, Revolver, Folks Songs of the Cold War, Listen to the colour of your dreams Pt. 1, Miracle Enough, Listen to the colour of your dreams Pt. 2, WWJTD, Isabel.

 – John Henry

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