|L-R: Steve Rodby, Gwilym Simcock, Mike Walker, Adam Nussbaum, Iain Dixon|
The Impossible Gentlemen
(RNCM. Manchester Jazz Festival. 26th July 2016. Report and photographs by Adrian Pallant)
Something of a Northern homecoming for guitarist Mike Walker and pianist/keyboardist Gwilym Simcock, a great buzz of excitement preceded the album launch of The Impossible Gentlemen’s third release, Let’s Get Deluxe, at Manchester Jazz Festival last night. Looking back from the stage of the RNCM Theatre, every one of the steeply-tiered seats appeared to be filled, and a warm expression of appreciation greeted this ‘international supergroup’ as they took up their positions. Alongside US colleagues, bassist Steve Rodby and drummer Adam Nussbaum, the name of Iain Dixon has now been added, providing a seamless woodwind and synth addition to the Gents’ distinctive musical character.
The new recording is stacked with layered instrumental textures (most notably Simcock on French horn), yet their live interpretation was a triumph, as revealed in the bright, opening prog-guitar groove of title track Let’s Get Deluxe. Grungy, late-night Dog Time (which Walker explained didn’t quite cut it in his straight Salford accent, but rather pronounced “Dawwwg Tahhhm”) is already an album standout – but here, the guitarist coaxed the most wonderful howls and caterwauls from his fretboard as it melded with Simcock’s double-banked Nord organ tremolo, before erupting into a full-bodied blues rocker with contrasting, mysterious episodes.
A special evening to savour – and a classy album to own. The Impossible Gentlemen’s tour continues at Pizza Express, Dean Street, this Sunday and Monday (31st July, 1st August).
Adrian Pallant is a proofreader, jazz writer and musician who also reviews at his own site ap-reviews.com
LINK: Feature / Interview with Gwilym Simcock and Mike Walker about the making of the album Let’s Get Deluxe