Probably best known these days as Head of Jazz at Trinity-Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, pianist Simon Purcell has performance credits as leader and sideman dating back to the mid 80’s, including appearances with the likes of Red Rodney, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Stan Sulzmann, Jean Toussaint and Julian Arguelles. During the late 80’s and early 90’s Simon’s fluent and inventive playing could be heard with a wide variety of artists, including recordings made with singers Cleveland Watkiss (“Green Chimneys”) and Anita Wardell (“Women have Standards”). His own bands, which sadly have remained unrecorded, have included the likes of UK artists Julian Arguelles, Christine Tobin and Steve Watts. As well as a performer of some skill and invention, Simon is also a very well established and highly respected educator. Between 1987 and 2005 he was professor of jazz piano and improvisation at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was appointed Head of Jazz at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in September 2005. As well as all that he also co-directed the Glamorgan Jazz Summer School (formerly the Barry Summer School) and in between times, has acted as a consultant to Birmingham Conservatoire, been educational director of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland and in 2006, received the prestigious Parliamentary Jazz Award for Jazz Educationalist of the Year. This is actually Simon's last term as head of the Jazz course at Trinity Laban (although he will continue to teach there) and so we thought it would be a nice idea to celebrate his 12 years at this prestigious establishment with a special evening of music. So tonight Simon will be bringing to the Club his enormously impressive sextet, "Red Circle", packed with some of the finest and most respected musicians in the UK, Chris Batchelor-trumpet, Julian Siegel-sax, Oli Hayhurst-bass and Gene Calderazzo-drums. This promises to be a special night and for anyone interested in contemporary UK jazz a must.
“Simon Purcell.…gifted contemporary jazz pianist” Time Out