Simon Roth is a multi-instrumentalist, improviser, curator and composer whose work straddles the Contemporary and Traditional. He is known first and foremost as a drummer and grew up within a family of musicians in a house between an old forest, the M25 and the Metropolitan line, immersed in Big Band Jazz, Free Improv, Classical music, Klezmer, 1960s Pop and a well worn tape of the Metropolitan Police Big Band performing The A Team Theme Tune, which was the sound of adventure in the form of press rolls and brass swells. Since then he has toured across Europe, North and South America and Asia. UK Performance highlights include Ronnie Scott’s International Piano Trio Festival, South Bank Centre, Kings Place Festival and opening of the EFG London Jazz Festival. Other festival appearances include Latitude, Green Man, Shambala and Wilderness.
He has written for and led groups such as Mayday Project, Stories and Land of If and collaborated with Mercury-nominated folk singer Sam Lee, experimental punk band Magnus Loom and multi-award winning vocalist Lauren Kinsella. Simon was a longstanding member of Elliot Galvin’s trio and Ghanaian-inspired band Vula Viel. In 2017 he toured the UK with legendary US saxophonist Chris Potter as part of ten-piece chamber ensemble Inner City Ensemble, premiering Chris’ original music. Simon’s music has been performed at the BBC Proms and broadcast widely on national radio and he has appeared on critically acclaimed recordings by Elliot Galvin Trio, Engines Orchestra, Vula Viel, Lauren Kinsella’s Thought-Fox, Zosia Jagodzinska, Resolute, Raph Clarkson’s Dissolute Society and Fran & Flora. His most recent commission was for the Romanian State Department of Puppetry and Teatrul De Păpuşi Puck for The Singing Hat, directed by Rachel Warr.
Simon has worked across theatre, dance and film, with productions for Turner Contemporary, Happy Days International Beckett Festival, Sefiroth, Rich Mix and London Jewish Film Festival. He also set up and ran the cross-arts platform Pop-Up Circus, a grassroots multi-disciplinary arts organisation that gave a platform to emerging artists across all disciplines, staging exhibitions and live events in non-traditional venues including a steel workshop, abandoned music hall and railway staircase. Pop-Up Circus has since evolved into the interactive arts party Soapbox Circus.
As well as being a freelance musician and educator, Simon has also worked as a producer, programmer and curator. He produced Laura Jurd’s debut record Landing Ground and as a music programmer at JW3 he curated multi-disciplinary events around Jewish themes and culture, planned and facilitated international projects, managed budgets, promotion, artist liaison and event production.
He is currently collaborating with Nonclassical associate composer/producer Dan Samsa on his latest 360 surround project at Deptford Albany. Simon is active with Rory Simmons’ Dolphy Septet and also with Resolute featuring poet Gboyega Odubanjo. This year they toured their new album in the UK supported by Arts Council England. Simon is also a passionate educator, with over ten years experience teaching music, drums and delivering music workshops, most recently with Mindful Music, Jewish Music Institute and Sage Gateshead. He is a regular workshop leader and teacher with Play for Progress, a charity working with unaccompanied minor refugees and asylum-seekers.
London Jazz News.
“Fine drummer & young conjuror of surprises”
John Fordham, Guardian
“An overflow of creative juices, with each musician allowed the freedom to express their personality through a selection of finely tuned angular grooves and intricate melodic writing”
Jazz UK on Stories
“A heartening impression of the quixotic, optimistic and generously shared energies of London’s young artistic community.”
John Fordham, The Guardian on Pop-Up Circus
“A collection of rising stars on the British Jazz scene.”
Jez Nelson, BBC Radio 3
“These musicians are undoubtedly devoted to their art … the collision of sonorous rhythm and a backdrop of chaos make for a fervid debut.”
The Sunday Times on Thought-Fox