The Occasional Trio : Live In Berlin Vision Of Sound Records VOSCD-005
“Simon Vincent is a modern composer who often works with electronics and other experimental sources. Occasionally he also performs as a jazz pianist with his trio under the moniker, The Occasional Trio’. Despite his ‘long haired’ and academic background, Simon’s jazz playing is often rough and blues centered, which he then colors with the abstractions of his more avant-garde leanings. Possibly it is because he performs mostly in Europe and the UK, that Vincent is not better known in the US, but this is one pianist that stateside jazz fans would really appreciate if they would give him the chance. Simon points to Monk, Brubeck and Mingus as influences. The Monkness shows up in Vincent’s rough dissonant approach, the Brubeck leanings lead to big block chords played in odd rhythms against his backup players, and you can hear Mingus in Simon’s tendency to take the blues into outside improvisations. His latest album, “Live in Berlin”, was recorded live because in Simon’s own words, “In front of an audience you tend to stretch out and take risks on the spur of the moment which makes the music more exciting, and makes it breathe and come to life.”
Simon’s partners on here include bassist Roland Fidezius and drummer Kay Lubke. Fortunately there is very little gratuitous solos for the other two, instead, all three players keep at it non-stop for the duration of the concert in constant interplay and communication. Given Simon’s diverse musical background you can expect a rather eclectic set from this free wheeling trio. The group’s tendency towards hard hitting bluesy bop shows up on “Blues in Fink”, “Well You Shouldn’t” and “Sweedad’s Pastry”. More lyrical and sensitive post bop approaches s appear on “Raindrops in June” and “Every Moment of Every Day” and an ability to freely improvise in modern idioms can be found on, “Portsmouth Blue” and “Prayer unto the People and unto the Land”.”
Jazz Music Archives
“Released on his own Vision Of Sound label, pianist and composer Simon Vincent’s Live in Berlin is a collection of live recordings from two shows in 2018 and 2019 at the Schlot Jazz Club, Berlin, Germany. In the liner notes, Vincent acknowledges the risks of live performance recordings, but at the same time, he states in the liner notes with conviction that: “The studio gives you the possibility to concentrate on details, but you may lose a certain spontaneity, whereas concerts allow you to stretch out and take risks on the spur of the moment in front of a live audience…. (and) that’s exactly where I believe music becomes exciting, where it breathes and where it truly comes to life.”
Well said. And this album certainly does come to life. Vincent and his Occasional Trio offer up a set of ten Vincent originals that exhibit great variety, from fast, lively pieces such as the opening “Blues In Fink,” to reserved, thoughtful ballads such as “Every Moment Of Every Day.” There is even an abstraction which borders on atonality (“Prayer To The People And Unto The Land”) which, judging from the audience reaction, was bit of a surprise.
Vincent has picked some worthy sidemen for this outing. Roland Fidezius handles the bass duties and Kay lübke the drums. While not the center of the music, they both certainly help Vincent gather the energy needed to bring the numbers to life. However, the center is Vincent himself, a pianist who knows how to cover the keys from high to low, add modal and rhythmic variety, and propel the music with great flourishes and attacks.
While it is difficult to compare this trio to, say, the great standards trio of Keith Jarrett or the classic Bill Evans trio, Vincent certainly achieves a level of cohesion with his bandmates which deserves recognition. Key to this is his confident, muscular playing. Take for example his work on “Sweedad’s Pastry,” where he spanks the keys and hammers accents, or his effort on “Blues In Fink,” where he adds Thelonious Monk-like blues lines outside the chords which establishes a head-nodding foot-tapping vibe.
Incorporated in the diverse program are a handful of ballads which show what Vincent can do when he takes it down a bit. Listen to his pastoral opening of “Carousel” or his graceful playing on “Every Moment Of Every Day.” There is a subtle joy in his phrases, made possible by his quick and nimble fingers. Bassist Fidezius does more than just keep up with Vincent. While providing a sturdy walk to many of the numbers, his solos and his fingerings high up the neck of the bass, a technique he employs for emphasis, perfectly coincide with Vincent’s efforts. And drummer Lubke establishes his bona fides with all-over drumming, rim shots, and work with the brushes and the bass pedal (check out “Well You Shouldn’t”), providing a peppy rhythmic footing.
While this live set certainly delivers, one hopes to hear more from Simon Vincent’s The Occasional Trio. At the very least, the music on Live In Berlin makes that imperative.”
All About Jazz
“Perhaps UK pianist and composer Simon Vincent’s greatest musical influence is Karlheinz Stockhausen. Indeed he received a postcard reminder from the influential German composer to “balance your music”. Balance is something that Vincent certainly adheres to, especially in terms of the variety of projects he immerses himself in. Fascinated by stereophonic sound from an early age, this live recording has him returning to his conventional jazz trio setting across two Schlot club Berlin dates late in 2018 and April 2019. Brubeck is a hero and Vincent’s other settings include 2017’s solo ‘Stations of the Cross’ meditations, electro-acoustic commissions, the EMW Experimental Orchestra and more. These original pieces are peppered with about as much variety one could fit into 11 tracks across two concerts. There are periods of Cecil Taylor like freedom, swinging blues, hard bop blues, a ballad and a waltz for good measure. The recording retains the small but enthusiastic audience reactions which adds to the energy of the trio. The trio is made up of Roland Fidezius bass and newcomer Kay Lubke drums. The highlight is a piece written by the trio “Well, You Shouldn’t”. More than a tip of the hat to Monk, it was composed when the trio included drummer Rudi Fischerlehner. It opens with a Lubke drum solo that slots into a delicious groove prior to the entry of Fidezius and followed by Vincent. The dynamic trio proceed to swing heavily around Vincent’s thundering block chords. The unleashed spontaneity could not be more pronounced than when Lubke chooses a tambourine in the final “Portsmouth Blue’”. “
Jazz And Beyond
“Simon Vincent’s latest album, released on his own label, Vision Of Sound, is a collection of live recordings from two shows at the Schlot Jazz Club, Berlin. A mixture of tracks from previous albums as well as new compositions, it offers great variety, from fast, lively pieces such as the opening Blues In Fink, to reserved, thoughtful ballads such as Every Moment Of Every Day.
Vincent cites one influence as Thelonious Monk, and this can certainly be heard across the album, particularly through some of the chord voicings and dissonant passing notes in Carousel and Portsmouth Blue.
The Occasional Trio consists of Vincent, bassist Roland Fidezius, and drummer and new addition to the band, Kay Lübke. Lübke opens the fourth track, Well, You Shouldn’t (Monk again) with a dynamic and energetic improvisation before being joined by the band in a quick, angular bebop style composition.
On bass Fidezius provides calm, minimalistic rhythm on Raindrops In June, as well as complex walking-bass lines on Tender Love and Sweedad’s Pastry. The trio is able to shift style and mood suddenly between tracks, and the result is an enjoyable and engaging recording.
The interplay between the three musicians is very accomplished, and the standard of musicianship is high throughout. Considering that the album was recorded live, the dynamics and balance are great as each instrument ebbs and flows throughout. Fans of the traditional piano trio format will enjoy this release, as it mixes both the classic and the contemporary very well.”
Jazz Journal UK
The Occasional Trio / Live In Berlin – pianist Simon Vincent’s trio, featuring Roland Fidezius on bass and Kai Lübke on drums, recorded this album at the Schlot Club in Berlin over two nights – creating intense music with free spaces for improvisation, based on compositions by Vincent. The trio is tight and swings amazingly, treats ballads with lyrical interplay and giving the audience their emotions through music. Harmonic and melodic adventures worth checking out!
jazz around the world once more ..
“Exuberant and dynamic, intimate and lyrical, Vincent’s beautiful, carefully prepared compositions are full of sophisticated melodies and endearing harmonies.”