Label Basho Records
Release Date: 1st July 2016
Title "Let's Get Deluxe” Artist The Impossible Gentlemen
Catalogue Number SRCD 51-2
Let’s Get Deluxe, the third album on Basho Records from transatlantic contemporary jazz supergroup The Impossible Gentlemen, captures a substantial but organic evolution in the group’s sound. Co-leaders Mike Walker and Gwilym Simcock consciously moved to broaden the instrumental palette at the earliest stages of the writing process, using melodies and counter melodies to create an intricate narrative.
By the time the group came to recording, the music had already been thoroughly road-tested on tour, with Gwilym Simcock making increasing use of keyboards in addition to the piano. On the finished album, Simcock demonstrates his virtuosity as a multi-instrumentalist, contributing parts on tuned percussion, French horn and flugel horn. This is not the only change, however. Saxophonist and clarinetist Iain Dixon steps in, further to augment and enhance the arrangements. Given his wide-ranging expertise across the woodwind spectrum, and his long-standing working relationship with Mike Walker, Iain was the obvious choice to fulfil this role.
Walker and Simcock have successfully made this new step in the group’s journey without compromising the often joyful and intense feeling in their music that has so far characterised their sound. They also make use of the abundant talents in the group as a whole. The new approach required careful attention to detail and the overdubbing of new parts, for which the skills of 14 Grammy award winning producer Steve Rodby proved essential. Drummer Adam Nussbaum continues to drive the band with energy and resourcefulness, as well as providing subtle variations in texture.
The music on Let’s Get Deluxe continues to veer further away from conventional ideas of ‘jazz’ and is influenced by great American artists such as Pat Metheny (with whom Simcock is now touring) and Steely Dan. The American inspirations are neatly counterbalanced by British influences too, including an acknowledgement of the far-reaching inspiration of the late John Taylor. Although written before his passing, the group have been performing ‘It Could Have Been a Simple Goodbye’ as ‘A Simple Goodbye’ in tribute to him. There is also the group’s distinctively British sense of humour, from the album’s mischievous title to Walker’s wordplay in many of the track titles. The Impossible Gentlemen remains a collaborative venture in both music and spirit.