Peckham in Spring is the first jazz album from British bassist-composer Paul Kimber, and already we can hear his trademark attractive melodies, open, accessible harmonic structures, and sensitive, warm-hearted ballads.
This is the album that introduced us to the atmospheric Celtic anthem, Slieve Loughshannagh, the exuberant Happy, and the boppish remake of Autumn Leaves – Swing Thing. Featuring the assured and inspiring sax playing of Ben Castle, the gorgeous piano of Nick Lacey, and the first class drum and bass duo of Phil Crabbe and Paul Kimber, this record was released to immediate critical acclaim in 1996.
Peckham in Spring is a very personal record, the Peckham of the title being the area of South London I’d lived in for a decade when I wrote the music. I was keen to produce something uplifting in an area which had received a lot of bad press, and to encapsulate something of the very positive experiences I’d had while living there.
The actual tune, Peckham in Spring, was in fact a compilation of two different sections from two different songs, which never quite worked until I put them together in one piece. It’s accompanied in the album booklet (which features artwork specially created by Jonathan Kearney to accompany each track) by my paraphrase from the biblical Song of Songs – ‘the winter is past, the rains are over and done… the time of singing has come.’
The other track with specific geographical associations is Slieve Loughshannagh, named after one of the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland, where I grew up. The music was inspired by the beauty and openness of the area. The personal nature of the compositions continues with The Flying Joey, Ben’s Groove and Confidence, all of which were written for specific people. The title Must be a Boon was conceived to answer W. S. Gilbert’s interrogative ‘Is life a boon?’, and 9 O’Clock Midnight, is a straightforward ballad, ‘for that particular time of day’…
Happy, I hope, is self-explanatory.
‘Auspicious in the extreme’ The Times
‘A highly desirable record….definitely recommended’ Jazz Journal International
‘As fresh a sounding jazz set as you’re likely to hear….beautiful, effortless playing’ Musician
‘An absolute must….a class act all round’ Cross Rhythms
‘Admirable concision and directness….a well honed sense of empathetic cohesion’ Cadence Magazine USA
Ben Castle – tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet
British Jazz Award winner Ben Castle, is one of Britain’s leading saxophonists, and a busy and gifted composer, arranger and band-leader. He has worked in a bewildering range of genres, and with an astonishingly large number of artists. From Acker Bilk to Amy Winehouse, via Dizzee Rascal and Diana Krall, taking a detour with Jamie Cullum and Jools Holland, and back home again in the company of Sting and Stan Tracey, he is very much in demand.
Nick Lacey – piano
Pianist Nick Lacey is the perfect colleague in this recording. His experience performing in many styles, ranging through jazz, classical, pop and celtic, coupled with his sensitivity to musical direction and emotional temperature, add a huge amount to the album. A sought after theatre musical director, Nick has played, arranged and composed for many artists including Lulu and Michael Ball. He is too modest to tell you about the gold disc on his wall, and is currently recording and touring as a member of Sadie and the Hotheads.
Phil Crabbe – drums
Phil Crabbe is a drummer active on the London freelance and session scene. With a varied musical training including time spent at Berklee College, and a performance degree in Timpani & Percussion from The Royal College Of Music, Phil also studied with Dave Hassell, Bob Armstrong, Jim Blackley, and Michael Skinner.
Phil’s playing and recording credits include:
NYJO, Salena Jones, Gloria Gaynor, Petula Clarke, Cilla Black, Odyssey, The Nolans, Joe Longthorne, Haircut 100, Mica Paris, Ms Dynamite, Joss Stone, Lemar, Mari Wilson, Heather Small (M People), Sabrina Washington (Misteeq), Beverly Knight, Lee Ryan (Blue), Paul Jones (Manfred Mann, The Blues Band), Mavis Staples, The Drifters, The Platters, The Miracles, The Ben Castle Quartet and The London Philharmonic Orchestra.
TV credits include: French & Saunders, The Lenny Henry Show, Alexi Sayle’s ‘Stuff’, The Comic Strip, Robbie Coltrane TV specials, Spitting Image, Songs Of Praise and London’s Burning, along with numerous radio broadcasts, and jingle sessions.
Paul Kimber – double bass, composer
Paul Kimber was born in Northern Ireland and studied double bass with Barry Young and Tom Martin. As an orchestral bassist he has held co-principal positions at ENO and the LPO, and currently shares the section principal job at the Royal Opera House. He has also appeared as guest principal with most of the orchestras in London.
He has played on hundreds of film, TV, library, CD, sampling and jingle sessions, from Harry Potter to James Bond, and Dad’s Army to Downton Abbey.
Paul has had a long-standing involvement in jazz performing and writing, having recently completed a five-year run of a weekly duo residency in London’s west end with guitarist Nick D’Oliveira, played many gigs with his own quartet, and released critically acclaimed albums. He has also appeared alongside many jazz notables including Tony Coe, Nikki Iles, Jean Toussaint and Troy Miller.
Paul doubles on bass guitar, performing in jazz, studio, musical theatre and orchestral settings.
As a double bass soloist Paul has appeared in a variety of venues, including London’s Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Halls, and the Royal Opera House’s Crush Room. His ‘3 Miniatures’ for double bass and piano, have been published by Recital Music.
Other writing projects have included compositions, and many arrangements and orchestrations, commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BT Scottish Ensemble, Kidenza Childrens’ Concerts and Ragdoll Worldwide.
Album design, and extensive original booklet art by Jonathan Kearney