Simon Spillett

squareSquare One
(limited edition 12” 180g vinyl LP, Gearbox GB 1512)

It’s great to see this record pressed by Gearbox Records, specialists in vinyl releases, exclusively on 180g vinyl, and this music, steeped in 1950s and ’60s bebop as it is, deserves to be heard in the format of the time.

Simon Spillett is known for his extensive knowledge of the ’50s/’60s British jazz scene and his admiration of Tubby Hayes. Indeed his last record was something of a tribute to that great white hope of British bebop and there’s still plenty of links to Tubby Hayes on this latest release. For this outing Spillett is accompanied by an outstanding band of luminaries composed of John Critchinson on piano, Alec Dankworth on bass and Clark Tracey on drums.

Simon Spillett

Simon Spillett

The record kicks off with a dynamite, ridiculously funky version of Dizzy Reece’s tune Shepherd’s Serenade from his Blues In Trinity LP, which originally featured Hayes on tenor and was released on the Blue Note label. Indeed this record is, in places, a bit like listening to a long-lost Blue Note record, and Spillett’s own excellent bluesy tune Square One does nothing to dispel this feeling.

The delicate ballad Yesterday I Heard the Rain slows things down and the second side springs into life with a no-holds-barred take on A Night in Tunisia. The ale-loving Jimmy Deuchar’s nonchalant sounding Bass House features some incredibly nimble bass by Alec Dankworth and classy keyboards by John Critchinson.

Cole Porter’s In the Still of the Night closes the record, Clark Tracey responding, with on-the-button percussive pulses, to Spillett’s trade-mark powerful high-speed tenor solos.

Categories: LP review

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10 replies

  1. No sure why it’s so great to see this ‘exclusively on vinyl’. Why no simultaneous cd issue? I’d have bought it but like many others dumped my turntable years ago.

  2. You can get it on CD at my gigs.

  3. Gearbox Records is a vinyl record label. We only release music on vinyl because it sounds better and anyway, we really like vinyl! We also appreciate that musicians need to sell their music at gigs to bolster their income. That’s why there is a CD version of this album that’s only available to buy direct from Simon on the road.

  4. Incidentally, you might enjoy this video trailer of Simon’s album

  5. Thanks for the responses but I’d like to see Peter Bacon explain his reasoning.

    • The review isn’t by me – it’s my guest reviewer Laurence Jones, His reasoning is there in the first par. He says it’s appropriate that Simon’s music has been released on vinyl because it is steeped in the style of a time when all there was was vinyl. Makes perfect sense to me. By the way, Simon’s previous releases are available both on CD and download, to the best of my knowledge.

  6. Simon Spillett will be at the Jazzlines Free Session at Symphony Hall on September 27th at 5pm.

  7. I know Steve has cds available. I bought Sienna Red and thought it was great which is why I’d like to hear the new one. I totally respect the right of the artist to market his music how he likes but saying ‘you can only buy my cd if you go to a gig’ doesn’t seem a winning strategy to me.

    Your argument on ‘exclusively vinyl’ (notwithstanding that LJ has his facts wrong) seems to be that any music based on the vinyl era should only be appear on vinyl. That makes no sense at all.

  8. Ric,
    I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed ‘Sienna Red’ but am sorry that you aren’t in favour of the LP option for ‘Square One’. As Adam has said already Gearbox Records are a vinyl only label with a style and ethos that respects the classic jazz that I happen to like. For the record – no pun intended – I’m very happy that they’ve signed me! Just to make things a little clearer, and to eliminate any confusion over marketing “strategy”, a CD version is available exclusively at my gigs, housed in a mini-slip case with exactly the same cover art as the LP and, of course, featuring the same music as on the vinyl. I’d also like to point out that the LP is ALSO available at gigs – and it’s selling too!
    ‘Square One’ is a limited edition and I’m confident that I will record more music, in both the digital and LP format, in the future.
    If you come to a gig, please do come and say hello.
    Best wishes

  9. How goes the Tubbs book Simon? Brian

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