The Squid's Ear Magazine

Noble, Liam / Geoff Simkins: Lucky Teeth (FMR)

Referencing the unusual 1896 feat of catching a turnip dropped 270 feet from a bridge by a member of the troupe The Royal Zanettos, the duo of London pianist Liam Noble and Geoff Simkins perform the slightly less daring but equally fascinating feat of performing a lyrical jazz concert at The Vortex in Dalston in 2022, for a mix of originals, standards and traditional tunes.

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product information:

Label: FMR
Catalog ID: FMR 659
Squidco Product Code: 33361

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: UK
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded live at The Vortex, in Dalston, UK, on October 26th, 2022, by Alex Killpatrick.


Liam Noble-piano

Geoff Simkins-saxophone

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"One fine Sunday my partner and I were meandering through the peaceful, overgrown paths of Brighton's Victorian extra-mural cemetery when we happened upon a memorial stone to one Albert "Zanetto" Bale, a music hall artiste and member of a family known as "The Royal Zanettos". Some on-line enquiries uncovered this detail about another family member, George......

"Because he was the tallest of the Bale brothers George is easy to recognise in many photos. In some later close-ups it looks as if he may have had "lucky teeth" with a slight gap between the front two. If so, it may have helped to hold the fork on which he caught turnips".

I had assumed that this was part of some sort of eccentric stage act but further research yielded the information that in 1896 George, with a crowd of 5000 watching, actually stood underneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge and caught a turnip (dropped 270 feet from the bridge) on the prongs of a fork clenched between his teeth.-Geoff Simkins

"Playing this music is not quite as dangerous as catching an accelerating vegetable on a fork, but there are parallels.

It's enjoyable, but challenging. From a distance it is unclear what is happening and why. But on stage its a life or death situation. There are good and bad days. You have to make something happen over and above the act itself. A good set of strong teeth can be beneficial.

But luck is only part of either story. A gap in between teeth does not a turnip catcher make. There's work to be done, practice and thought, and this recording is a celebration of that work."-Liam Noble

Artist Biographies

"After studying music at Oxford University, and jazz at the Guildhall in London, Liam Noble started to build a reputation of note playing with Stan Sulzmann, Anita Wardell, John Stevens and Harry Beckett. His first CD, a solo entitled "Close Your Eyes" was released in 1994, and contained a mix of standards, originals and improvisations. This mixture of approaches has characterized his music ever since. In 1997 he joined the Bobby Wellins Quartet, the rhythm section of which continues today as the Liam Noble Trio, recently documented on the 2009 CD "BRUBECK", gaining an almost unprecedented 5 star review in The Guardian. In 2001, "In The Meantime", released on Basho Records, explored longer compositional forms and unorthodox improvisational structures, and April 2002 saw a commission from Birmingham Jazz resulting in a song cycle based on Japanese Death Poetry. Noble plays keyboards and samples throughout, marking a new foray into electronica inspired by artists such as Aphex Twin and Arto Lindsay. In 2004, following a Cheltenham Festival gig the previous year, Liam recorded the acclaimed "Romance Among The Fishes" on Basho Records with guitarist Phil Robson and the New York rhythm section of Drew Gress and Tom Rainey on bass and drums respectively.

Liam's working relationship has continued with Tom Rainey in the free improv trio, "Sleepthief" with Ingrid Laubrock, with an album released in September 2008, and a second, "The Madness Of Crowds" in 2011. Other frequent collaborators have included Christine Tobin, Paul Clarvis and Julian Siegel. His growing reputation as a free improviser has also resulted in recent performances with Mary Halverson, Marc Ducret, Mat Maneri, Evan Parker, Okkyung Lee and Peter Evans. In June 2011 he was featured on a recording by Zhenya Strigalev with Larry Grenadier, Tim LeFebvre and Eric Harland. His newest project is an expanded trio with Chris Batchelor and Shabaka Hutchings. As a kind of summation of the diverse areas in which he works combined with a compositional eye for structure, this new group was highly praised at its premiere performance at the Cheltenham Jazz festival in 2012. Liam holds posts as Lecturer in Jazz at Birmingham Conservatoire and Trinity College of Music. He has published 4 volumes of transcriptions of the Bill Evans Trio, and a book of original compositions "Jazz Piano; An In Depth Look at the Styles of the Masters", both published by Hal Leonard."

-Liam Noble Website (

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"Geoff Simkins (born 13 October 1948) is a British jazz musician who plays alto saxophone.

Simkins started playing jazz in his early teens. His first instrument was drums, but he quickly changed to the alto saxophone. He turned professional in 1977.

His early work included time with the Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra and the Temperance Seven, but his principal stylistic influences have been the American alto player Lee Konitz and tenor player Warne Marsh.

Geoff has played at concerts, clubs and festivals in all parts of the UK, in Europe and beyond. He often works with American musicians who are visiting the UK, and over the years this list has grown to include Art Farmer, Bobby Shew, Al Cohn, Tal Farlow, Slide Hampton, Warren Vache, Al Grey, Kenny Davern, Bill Berry, Al Casey, Howard Alden, Ruby Braff, Bill Coleman and Conte Candoli. He has recorded with UK tenor player Danny Moss and with US trumpeters Billy Butterfield and Yank Lawson. Since the 1980s he has worked regularly with UK guitarist Dave Cliff.

Geoff is also a respected teacher, and as well as running improvisation courses in Brighton, UK, he has been a regular tutor at the famous Glamorgan Jazz Summer School in Wales (now discontinued, but later held at Trinity College of Music in London and, from 2012, at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff). In 1994 he was invited to be a tutor at the Czech Jazz Summer School and appeared at clubs in Prague and on Czech Television."

-Wikipedia (

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Track Listing:

1. Stella By Starlight 7:17

2. Lucky Teeth 7:01

3. Warm Valley 9:25

4. Save A Prayer 7:26

5. Careful 5:00

6. Black Waterside 6:38

7. Eiderdown 7:31

8. Memories Of Tomorrow 7:42

9. When You're Smiling 5:19

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Piano & Keyboards
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Duo Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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