Geoff Castle Trio: Moving On

The Nucleus and Paz veteran made an album with his piano trio and Italian singer Marta Capponi in 2018, two years before his death


Geoff Castle’s Moving On came about through a short series of support gigs at Ronnie Scott’s. The pianist, who died far too early at the age of 70 in January 2020, was encouraged to record the songs he’d refined there with his trio and the result was this fine example of both his compositional and playing skills. Several of the tracks are augmented by the vocals of Italian singer Marta Capponi. Castle also chose well in his choice of rhythm section accompanists in the form of bassist Mark Rose and drummer Emiliano Caroselli.

Castle, was of course, a key figure in British jazz for many decades. His career started in 1967 with NYJO, from where he progressed to Graham Collier’s band recording three albums with the bassist/composer. Recruited by Ian Carr for his Nucleus outfit he became a mainstay of the band, recording seven albums with Carr including Out Of The Long Dark (Capitol, 1979) and Old Heartland (MMC, 1988). All the while Castle was also performing and recording with the Latin-tinged group Paz led by Dick Crouch. Castle also recorded albums under his own name and with his band Strange Fruit. In the early 2000s he was instrumental in re-forming a version of Carr’s band under the name Nucleus Revisited as a tribute to Carr.

Capponi’s wordless vocals are employed on the ethereal opener Manhattan Dawn whilst on the instrumental A Hidden Gem it’s apparent that Castle has, for this entire set, abandoned his more usual deployment of electric piano and synthesizer in favour of acoustic piano. The poignant title track benefits from a memorable melody and Castle’s deft, swirling soloing. The Heart Of Summertime sees Capponi delicately scat singing over fours countered by, Caroselli’s drums. Marianne movingly recalls the lyricism of Castle’s most wistful compositions. The closer, Live Wire offers an indelible hook and more graceful piano from Castle. This gorgeous album is available as a limited edition 12” vinyl and digital download only and the inclusion of Capponi’s sublime vocals is worth the admission fee alone.

Manhattan Dawn; A Hidden Gem; Moving On; The Heart Of Summertime; Marianne; Blue Mood; Ever In Love; Sundance; Live Wire (44.29)
Castle (p); Mark Rose (b); Emiliano Caroselli (d); Marta Capponi (v). Greenford, Middlesex, autumn 2018.