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Nabatov, Simon String Trio: Situations (Leo Records)

As much a composed work as a work of improvisation, pianist and composer Simon Nabatov's String Trio with Garteh Lubbe on viola and Ben Davis perform six Nabatov compositions, chamber jazz works that express in both buyouantly intricate and languourosly beautiful abstraction, each piece leaving room for each player to improvise and express themselves.

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Simon Nabatov-piano

Gareth Lubbe-viola

Ben Davis-cello

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UPC: 5024792082629

Label: Leo Records
Catalog ID: LEOR826.2
Squidco Product Code: 25812

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: UK
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at the LOFT, in Cologne, Germany, on November 21st, 2015, by Christian Heck.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Nabatov's chamber music calls for a kind of string player only recently arrived, who is equally comfortable with complex scores and the challenges of improvising. These conditions are happily met by violist Gareth Lubbe and cellist Ben Davis, who participate brilliantly in Nabatov's compound vision - the dialectics of possibilities, the brace of the new in the embrace of the known. In a single piece, the trio moves from manic-chaotic through spiky school-of-Vienna pointillism to roller-coaster improvisation that thins out to something that might play blissfully in the background of an impossibly high-end Brazilian beach bar. Together Nabatov, Lubbe and Davis mark out fresh and delightful terrain, whether it's taut reverie, ecstatic turmoil or zones and conditions that resist any kind of naming."-Leo

"Here is a variation on the orthodox piano trio, brought together by the pianist for their skill in construing his ideas from his intricate scores, as much as for their knowledge of improvisation in the langue of the avant-garde. Classical qualities and whims, along with improv, colour the music, all of which compositions are by Nabatov.

Unsurprisingly, given their form, these are of 'jazz chamber music' dispositions, though thinking back to the pianist's classical roots, it would not be unrealistic to name any one of them a divertimento (a work primarily designed for the entertainment of both the listeners and the performers). The instruments pass between gloom and grace, sluggish airs, wraithlike discourses and spurred animations.

Abstract, audio-based presentation procedures often associated with present-day classical music are married with expressive performance which brings about a full sense of motion from metamorphosis to metamorphosis.​There are unforeseen instants of quiet, underlaid by a tightness in the throat, awaiting the next move, wherever it might take us. Simon Nabatov is an outstanding jazz composer and pianist and this album surely sees him reaching for the top of his powers."-Ken Cheetham, Jazz Views

Get additional information at Jazz Views

Artist Biographies

"Simon Nabatov's musical education began at the age of 3, his father, himself a musician, being the first teacher. The Central School of Music and Moscow Conservatory were the next steps. After the whole family emigrated and settled in New York in 1979, Nabatov continued his studies at the Juilliard School Of Music. By that time his interest and involvement in jazz and improvised music grew strong enough to make them his main activity.

Since then he performed and recorded with many fine musicians such as Paul Motian, Tony Scott, Sonny Fortune, Kenny Wheeler, Alan Skidmore, Herb Robertson, Louis Sclavis, Charles McPhearson, Billy Hart, David Murray, Paul Horn, Ricki Ford, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Dresser, Barry Guy, Gerry Hemingway, Jim Snidero, Herb Geller, Dave Pike, Attila Zoller, Matthias Schubert, Barry Altschul, Vladimir Tarasov, John Betsch, Ed Schuller, Arto Tuncboyaci, Adam Nussbaum, Paul Heller, Jay Clayton, Ron McClure, Mark Feldman, Drew Gress, Phil Minton, Michael Moore, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Wolter Wierbos, Paulo Alvares, Gareth Lubbe, Ben Davis and many others.

He enjoyed continuous work with Ray Anderson Quartet, Arthur Blythe Quartet, Perry Robinson Quartet, NDR Big Band (Hamburg,Germany), Steve Lacy - Simon Nabatov Duo, Nils Wogram Quartet, Nils Wogram - Simon Nabatov Duo, Matthias Schubert Quartet, Matthias Schubert - Simon Nabatov Duo and Klaus König Orchestra.

His own projects and activities included, since three decades, hundreds of solo recitals.In the early 90s Nabatov founded the trio with the bassist Mark Helias and the drummer Tom Rainey; the quartet "Nature Morte" with the British vocalist Phil Minton, multireed-player Frank Gratkowski and trombonist Nils Wogram (both from Germany); and the quintet including his trio plus the violinist Mark Feldman and the trumpet player Herb Robertson.In 2003 another trio was formed, with the cellist Ernst Reijseger and the drummers Michael Vatcher (and later Michael Sarin).

As co-leader Nabatov played and recorded in duos with Steve Lacy, with the German tenor sax player Matthias Schubert, American drummer Tom Rainey, Dutch drummer Han Bennink, German trombonist Nils Wogram, Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger and the Dutch pianist Misha Mengelberg, just to mention a few. His current duo partners are the South-African born viola player and vocalist Gareth Lubbe, the Turkish clarinetist Oguz Buyukberber and the Brazilian pianist Paulo Alvares.

In the 1999-2000 season a large-scale radio production project (co - sponsored by WDR and Bayer AG) saw him write and record over 6 hours of music for solo piano, duo (with the American reed player Michael Moore), his trio, the quartet "Nature Morte" and the quintet. Beginning of 2000 the Swiss label HatHut Records brought out the first recording - the trio release "Sneak Preview". The next three recordings, quartet "Nature Morte", quintet "The Master and Margarita" and solo "Perpetuum Immobile" have been released by Leo Records.

Two more CD´s - " Chat Room" ( duo with Han Bennink ) and "Autumn Music" ( trio with Ernst Reijseger and Michael Vatcher ) were brought out by this independent English label.The next project produced by WDR in 2004 was a 90 - minute piece " A Few Incidents" based on the texts of Russian writer Daniil Charms. The octet included Phil Minton, Frank Gratkowski, Nils Wogram, Ernst Reijseger, Cor Fuhler, Matt Penman, Michael Sarin and Simon Nabatov. Leo Records released the recording of this composition in 2005. Together with "Nature Morte" and "Master and Margarita" it completed the "Russian Trilogy", 3 musical projects based on the Russian literature.

In 2009 Nabatov, sponsored by the Cologne culture institutions, completed a 5-day project called "Roundup" (involving M.Schubert, N.Wogram, E.Reijseger and T.Rainey), resulting in 3 CD's released on Leo Records: quintet "Roundup", a trio with E.Reijseger and M.Schubert - "Square Down" and another one with N.Wogram and T.Rainey - "Nawora".

Starting around 2000, parallel to his jazz activities, Simon Nabatov developed a deep interest for the culture and music of Brazil. This led him to study the Portuguese language, travel number of times throughout the country and learn a great deal about a number of different musical genres.

Some of the more structured activities in that field were a CD release "Around Brazil" on the ACT label (2006), and the two-months long Goethe-Institut "Artist-in-Residence" in Porto Alegre, which allowed Nabatov to learn more about the regional "musica gaucha". Since 2007 he often performs his solo program based on Brazilian music.

In the recent years Nabatov also delved into the field of electronic music, learning MAX/MSP programming environment; in April 2013 he premiered his new solo program for piano and computer, developed together with the German composer and electronic music specialist hans w. koch. In December 2016 excerpts from this program made up a half of the program of his most recent CD "MONK 'N' MORE".

Another musical adventure of the recent years was Nabatov's solo program dedicated to the music of the great jazz composer and pianist Herbie Nichols. Leo Records released a highly acclaimed CD of that program, and the PanRec label brought out a DVD.2015 saw Nabatov realize a four-part project "...still crazy after all these years" (celebrating 25 years in Cologne), which resulted in forming 4 new trios: with two young Cologne musicians Stefan Schoenegg and Dominik Mahnig, with Andre de Cayres and Rodrigo Villalon (dedicated to Brazilian music), with two giants of improvised music Barry Guy and Gerry Hemingway, and a trio with two string players, Gareth Lubbe (viola) and Ben Davis (cello). The first documentation of the project - Simon Nabatov Trio "Picking Order" was released August 2016 on Leo Records. Other 3 releases are planned for 2017.

Simon Nabatov performed and recorded numerous pieces of chamber music, some of them written specially for him: "Piano Concerto "Baba" by the American pianist/composer Kenny Werner, "Sonata for violin and piano" by the Irish bassist/composer Ronan Guilfoyle,"Trumpet Sonata", "Cello Sonata", "Trio for flute,cello and piano" by the Swiss reed-player/composer Daniel Schnyder. He also performed and recorded some of the more known "crossover" works, such as "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin (NDR Symphony Orchestra Hannover,1998) or "Concerto for Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra" by Rolf Liebermann (NDR Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, Hamburg,1996).

Nabatov was among the winners of the 3rd "International Great Jazz Pianist Competition" in Jacksonville, USA (2nd prize) in 1985, and of the "Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition" in Paris, France (3rd prize) in 1989. In 1987 he was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Simon Nabatov made numerous radio productions for most of the major European broadcasting companies: WDR, NDR, HR, BR, SFR, Radio France, Radio Zürich, Radio Ireland etc.

He played on countless international jazz festivals including Paris, Antibes, Helsinki, Zagreb, Nevers, Berlin, Dublin, Cork, Vilshofen, Bergamo, Groeningen, Vilnus, Karlsbad, Genua, North Sea, Brugge, Voss, Bergen, Riga, Vilnius, Ulrichsberg a.m.o.

Simon Nabatov gave concerts and workshops in over 60 countries, he appears on ca. 70 recordings, and his own music and projects are documented on over 25 CD's and 3 DVD's (all DVD's on PanRec).

He has taught at the Folkwang Hochschule (Essen), Musichochschule Lucerne (Switzerland) and at the International Jazz and Rock Academy (Remscheid).2012 - 2014 he was the substitute professor of Jazz piano and Ensemble at the Conservatory of Hannover, Germany.

Since 1989 he resides predominantly in Cologne, Germany, but keeps an apartment and a part of his heart in New York."

-Simon Nabatov Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"South African born violist and overtone singer, Gareth Lubbe, appears as soloist and chamber musician throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and America. After several years as principal violist of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, he accepted the post of professor at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Germany where he now has a studio of viola students from around the world. He is a regular guest artist and teacher at festivals such as Stellenbosch in South Africa, Kuhmo in Finland, and O/Modernt in Sweden amongst many others. As an acclaimed overtone singer, Gareth gives performances and lectures around the world. Prominent composers have written works for his voice, and his vocal skills have been recorded for radio, films and computer games.

In 1994 Gareth had the honour of playing for Nelson Mandela on the day he became the first democratically elected president of South Africa. This transformative moment ultimately led him to Community H.E.A.R.T, an international organisation founded by the freedom fighter and anti-apartheid activist, Denis Goldberg. Its primary concern is to help constructively change the lives of the African people and the way the world perceives their continent.

Early Life

Born on March 11th 1976 in Johannesburg, also known as eGoli (Zulu - "City of Gold"), Gareth received his first musical education on the Piano and Violin at the age of four. The Japanese violin school of Shinichi Suzuki-san happened to have a branch around the corner from Gareth's house and it was Nicolette Solomon who essentially introduced him to the world of string instruments. He later went on to study with Pienaar Fourie and made his violin debut with orchestra at the age of nine followed by numerous prizes at national competitions. As pianist his true love for chamber music and a greater polyphony was awakened under the guidance of Glynis Bannister, Hester Beukes and Prof. Joseph Stanford, appearing with various ensembles and orchestras.

Growing up as a privileged white child during apartheid, in a church which did not allow black or coloured members, Gareth only started to get a realistic impression of his country at the age of 13 when the schools finally opened their doors to all the cultures of the rainbow nation. A defining and pivotal moment in his early career was during his final year of school at the Pro Arte Alphen Park Highschool in Pretoria whilst studying with Annemarie Swanepoel: together with a couple of fellow class mates, he performed at the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela, entertaining world leaders such as Ezer Weizman and Yasser Arafat with German classical music.

After studies in South Africa, he went on to study in Germany with Peter Matzka, Gorjan Kosuta, Barbara Westphal and the Alban Berg Quartet, amongst others.

Viola & Teaching

In 2005 Gareth began a career as principal viola player, firstly at the Royal Flemish Philharmonic in Antwerpen, Belgium under Phillipe Herreweghe and two years later on the same position at the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig in Germany under the baton of Riccardo Chailly. During his eight years in that orchestra, he started to explore the realms of musical-education at the Leipzig "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" conservatory and in 2013 was appointed as Professor of Viola at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen as successor of Vladimir Mendelssohn. He is on the international faculty of the annual Chamber Music Festival in Stellenbosch which brings together up to 400 young students from across Africa and other parts of the world. He is also a regular guest at international festivals and masterclasses in Finland, England, South Korea, Japan and Brazil amongst others. Focus of mind and awareness of body, resonance and 'flow' are the guiding points in all his teachings.


Multi-phonic vocal techniques and viola playing go hand in hand with Gareth. As overtone singer, he performs and gives active lectures around the world, translating the phenomenon of overtone singing into the possibilities of sound production on one's own instrument. In 2011 he held regular overtone-singing workshops with the Thomas Boys Choir in Leipzig which resulted in performances with the choir next to J.S. Bach's grave in the Thomas Church.

Gareth has performed as overtone singer at the Salzburger Festspiele and was invited by the Goethe Institute to perform at an ethnic festival in the Altay mountains of southern Siberia where this polyphonic vocal technique has always been a vital element of the music of that region. Composers have written music for Gareth's overtone singing, including Sören Nils- Eichberg and, most recently, award winning german composer Bernd Franke who composed 'Fynbos' for overtone singer and string orchestra (Stockholm 2016). His voice has been recorded for computer games and he has appeared in international films and radio programmes.


Gareth's various projects have led to work with artists such as Hayden Chisholm, Rebecca Horn, Hugo Ticciati, Dame Evelyn Glennie, the Finnish ensemble 'Pipoka' and many more. His most recent album release is a duo with the Jazz pianist Simon Nabatov. 'Lubatov' (Leo Records) is based on their shared territories of knowledge and interest in new music, modern classics and improvised music. Gareth is very much at home in the world of improvisation, and one of his annual highlights is performing on the compost organ as member of the Agricultural Symphony at the 'Stelzen Festspiele bei Reuth' amongst the meadows and fields of the Vogtland mountains of east Germany. Together with artistic director and multi- instrumentalist, Henry Schneider, as well as the sound artist Erwin Stache, Gareth uses the festival as a podium to unify all genres and styles of the arts and make music with any object from a spade to a cluster-assembly- milking machine."

-Gareth Lubbe Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Ben Davis is a cellist from the United Kingdom known for his improvisation. His group Basquiat Strings was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2007. He is a member of the F-IRE Collective.

Ben Davis' self-stated aim is to make "alternative string music that people want to listen to". His group, Basquiat Strings, originated as a standard string quartet (two violins, a viola and a cello). Only later did cellist Davis decide to add double bass "to strengthen the rhythmic accompaniment". Basquiat Strings were nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize.

Ben Davis studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and later at the Banff School of Fine Arts with Dave Holland.

He has since pursued a varied musical career encompassing classical, world, pop, early music and jazz. He has performed with Django Bates, Hassan Erraji, The Dufay Collective, Evan Parker, Christine Tobin, Steve Buckley, Huw Warren, Jason Yarde, Kylie Minogue, Julian Joseph, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and the R. S. C. He has recorded with Claire Martin, Jamiroquai, Ingrid Laubrock, Oriole, Julia Biel, Patricia Kass, D-Influence and the Ben Davis Group, which was featured on BBC Radio 3's Jazz On 3 programme. He recently completed a world tour with the French super-star, Patricia Chass and also formed The Jazz Cello Trio featuring Phil Robson. Ben Davis also teaches jazz cello and has led workshops for kids."

-Wikipedia (

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Track Listing:

1. Situation 1 Unfold-fold 11:37

2. Situation 2 Reverie 8:49

3. Situation 3 Stern Looks 8:51

4. Situation 4 Sunrise Twice 8:33

5. Situation 5 Temper Issues 6:28

6. Situation 6 Meta Morph 10:37

Related Categories of Interest:

Leo Records
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Trio Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Chamber Jazz

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