Contributing editor (jazz) Tony Andrews writes .....
When I was first asked to write occasional Music Review by Howard Popeck one of my first attempts was to feature The CD Hidden Colours by the amazing David Rees Williams Trio. Although the Trio had been together since 1988 with David on piano, Neil Francis on electric bass and Phil Laslett on Drums they were introduced to a wider audience by The BBC Show Late Junction around 2001.
He hardly appears on youtube but here is a link to a brief glimpse of his virtuosity.
After the show Late Junction they were inundated by requests for more information on how to hear more of the Trio and how/where to buy their CDs. As a result of this the BBC made the decision to record and release Hidden Colours on The Late Junction Label and it was highly reviewed in the major newspapers and specialist music journals at the time.
I obviously bought Hidden Colours and currently own three copies because I could never leave a copy in a record sale; it just seem a crime against music not to snap it up. Hidden Colours reached Number 2 in The HMV Classical Charts in 2002 which is a statement of just how important this recording is in the Classical/Jazz Crossover genre.
Since its release, DRW and his talented (beyond belief) trio have released many more outstanding CD's including Timescape (2004), Thinking Allowed (2007), Back from Before (2010) and Full English in 2012.
I have them all. I find it very difficult to find a favourite but my most played is Timescape. Why? Because I love the track Bethlehem Down written by Peter Warlock. Bethlehem Down was written for a newspaper competition to create a new Christmas Carol ….. and it won.
Unfortunately Peter Warlock is alleged to have used the prize money to drink himself to death. If true then, such a waste of such an immense talent. I have seen the David Rees Williams Trio live so many times and I always walk away stunned at the excitement and creativity of the musicianship, but even more so of the arrangement by David which combine the best in classical music with stunning Jazz influences.
I had the great pleasure of seeing The Trio at The Chapel within The Chelsea Hospital where The Chelsea Pensioners reside back in 2012. This venue did have a Classical Festival but I have not heard of anything since that DRW Concert. It was a very secretive affair catering for Hospital supporters only. I only got to know of this via DRW.
Anyway, the packed chapel was silent in awe of what they audience were hearing. I had the great pleasure to accompanied to this concert by Rebecca Stewart who is The Concerts Manager from Cadogan Hall in Sloane Square and Romy Summers who had studied piano with David. Both were speechless with the performance - enhanced by the total originality of the arrangements.
I am hoping to Interview Rebecca online with when Out To Lunch Starts in June 2017. In the interim, the following link gives you a flavour. http://www.cadoganhall.com/tour-dates/out-to-lunch-2016
David has a new CD release on the 28th April and I was very fortunate to be sent a pre-release copy to review. Classically Reminded is to the accepted high standard of the previous releases. The musical selection is mainly by Johann Sebastian Bach but with two pieces by Domenico Scarlatti. These being Sonata in D and Sonata in F minor.
Every track is a masterpiece to my ears and to choose favourites again is so difficult but ….. if I have to then ….. I must. I love the Gigue no5 in G major, Prelude in B minor from The Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 and Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring just because it is so tuneful.
The recording quality is stunning as all The DRW Trio CD's. So - a perfect addition to any audiophile collection. I was very fortunate to also be in the audience for The Christmas Special of The BBC In Tune in 2012 where The Trio played to a packed house at The Radio Theatre in Portland Place and gained many new fans. As far as I am aware, there are no publically available recording of that specific performance during which they played three numbers and then one as a combined effort with the whole group of guests including a choir.
You might find http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01p3nwj to be of interest.
They are regulars on In Tune and will be heard again soon I believe - so listen out and it is a wonderful BBC program to listen to everyday. Classically Reminded is available on Amazon or from Champs Hill Records catalogue number CHRCD128.
I cannot recommend this CD highly enough and it will enhance your life if you are a true lover of music but with a difference. The DRW Trio are doing live concerts over the next few months so go to their website and pop along to see just how good they are. Check https://davidrees-williams.com/ for details.