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The Impossible Gentlemen

THE IMPOSSIBLE GENTLEMEN
THE IMPOSSIBLE GENTLEMEN

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Label Basho Records
Release Date: June 6th 2011
Title "THE IMPOSSIBLE GENTLEMEN”
Artist The Impossible Gentlemen
Catalogue Number SRCD 36-2
Barcode: 0832929003622

Gwilym Simcock - Piano
Mike Walker - Guitar
Steve Swallow - Bass
Adam Nussbaum - Drums

Tracklisting:

  1. Laughlines 5:13
  2. Clockmaker 9:15
  3. When You Hold Her 11.03
  4. You Won’t Be Around To See It 7:35
  5. Wallenda’s Last Stand 7:30
  6. Gwil’s Song 8:42
  7. Play The Game 7:37
  8. Sure Would Baby 6:30

Total time - 63:36

The Anglo-American jazz ‘supergroup’, The Impossible Gentleman features internationally acclaimed British piano sensation Gwilym Simcock, Salford guitarist and UK treasure Mike Walker and American bass and drums superstars Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum. The result is nothing less than remarkable with four unique talents, all superb players in their own right, coming together to create something new and powerful. The band was born when Walker, having played in a project "Ropes" with Adam Nussbaum at the Manchester Jazz Festival in 2009 came up with the idea of putting this band together. The longstanding partnership of Nussbaum and Swallow goes back nearly 30 years and with a rhythm section this robust and intuitive the only unknown for Walker was Simcock.  Despite both hailing from Manchester, Simcock had moved to London to pursue his studies and subsequent career without the musical opportunity to work with Walker. Given their musical interests it was inevitable that they would get together at some point and the opportunity Walker presented was too tempting for Simcock to pass up.

Critics and audiences alike raved about the band’s mini-tour last spring. Here then is the result of that inspired meeting, a debut recording and a further twelve date UK tour in June.

For Walker, the strength of The Impossible Gentlemen is in the individuality of the players. Each musician's distinctive voice is paired with an openness that allows them to put the music first and encourages the improvisers to express themselves. In Walker’s memorable phrase ‘They have deep pockets. They improvise. They put the music first”, while Simcock notes that the other three guys have such strong identities as musicians as well as people.... they stamp their 'sound' on the music, and I feel that that comes across every second of the music they make!”. 

The Impossible Gentleman opens with three Mike Walker compositions including the challenging, fast-moving Laugh Lines, a piece that perfectly captures Walker’s penchant for free-flowing music full of odd time signatures and unusual forms but which nonetheless offer the perfect launch pad for some superlative playing from all the quartet. Indeed the interplay throughout the album is of the highest order, passionate and unforced, but always riveting, as in the luminous Walker tune Clockmaker and the graceful Wallenda’s Last Stand (dedicated to the great German-American tightrope walker). Elsewhere the band explore three Gwilym Simcock compositions including You Won’t Be Around To See It, a tongue in cheek reworking of Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise, which Nussbaum drags to unexpected places with his drive and intelligence. The gentle, beautiful Gwil’s Song features fine solos from Swallow and Walker and Play The Game is driven by Nussbaum’s powerful drumming and features a burning solo from Walker. Here, as elsewhere, the mutual trust between the musicians is omnipresent. This trust allows the whole band and the individuals to shine, resulting in some of the most profound, luminous, listening jazz to be cut on either side of the Atlantic this year. Indeed, to give the last word to Walker: “The guys don't do things by halves. They go for it.”

 

22/12/2011 Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast

NO 4 IN THE FAVOURITES OF 2011
The first recording by this perfectly balanced transatlantic band – guitarist Mike Walker and pianist Gwilym Simcock from this side of the pond; drummer Adam Nussbaum and electric bassist Steve Swallow from the other side – builds upon and confirms what those of us who heard them playing live in the spring of 2010 already knew: that it’s one of the most exciting and satisfying collaborations for a very long time. There is also, for me, a particular joy in hearing Mike Walker finally getting some of the attention and acclaim he so thoroughly deserves.

18/06/2011 Rob Young, The Urban Flux

Although there’s nothing impossible for these artists to achieve with this jewel, it encompasses a compelling tapestry of diverse and challenging songs and equally as important it gives plenty of room to those who play them.
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16/06/2011 John Fordham, The Guardian 4 stars****

...from byzantine contemporary bebop to raw, Hendrix-like guitar blues by way of Pat Metheny's lyricism and Gwilym Simcock's mercurial compositions and piano virtuosity. Simcock, Salford guitar master Mike Walker, bass guitarist Steve Swallow and drummer Adam Nussbaum sidestep every supergroup pitfall by sounding as integrated and mutually responsive as if they'd been together for a decade.
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14/06/2011 Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann

At last, a super-group that works. “The Impossible Gentlemen” is an exceptional album, one that combines accessibility and melodic sensibility with a high degree of musical sophistication.

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14/06/2011 Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast

The first recording by this perfectly balanced transatlantic band – guitarist Mike Walker and pianist Gwilym Simcock from this side of the pond; drummer Adam Nussbaum and electric bassist Steve Swallow from the other side – builds upon and confirms what those of us who heard them playing live in the spring of 2010 already knew: that it’s one of the most exciting and satisfying collaborations for a very long time.
Read More

10/06/2011 Jack Massarik, Evening Standard 4 stars ****

the standard of improvisation and all-round musicianship is superb throughout. Simcock's versatility is no secret but Walker is a revelation, covering all bases from the cool neobop intensity of Laughter Lines to the warm chorded balladry of Wallender's Last Stand and the hot Santana-like lyricism of You Won't Be Around to See It. The day he forsakes his beloved Salford for London or New York, other guitarists should look out.

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07/06/2011 Peter Bevan, The Northern Echo

The interaction and mutual support is a joy throughout

07/06/2011 Kenny Mathieson, The Scotsman 4 stars

the interaction between four diverse talents is a constant treat, whether on gentle, exquisitely textured explorations like Walker's increasingly expansive When You Hold Her or Simcock's Gwil's Song, or up-tempo material, exemplified by Walker's Laugh Lines or Simcock's Play The Game. They close with Nussbaum's sinuous blues, Sure Would Baby.

05/06/2011 Dave Gelly, Observer

Each one is a virtuoso, but that's taken for granted. It's the interplay between them that matters, the way every nuance fits magically into the ever-changing pattern. And it's not all action and energy either; the duet between Simcock and Walker in "Gwil's Song" is the most sensuous sound imaginable. Absorbing.

04/06/2011 Ivan Hewitt, Daily Telegraph 4 stars ****

This is simply a first-rate jazz album by an Anglo-American quartet which is unimpeachably mainstream. It’s terrific.

03/06/2011 Roger Thomas, BBC Music Magazine 5 stars

Packing more into eight tracks than many could manage in that number of albums ...it’s simply outstanding

30/05/2011 Chris May, AllaboutJazz

"This shimmering jewel of style and substance is jazz at its most exalted, and simply has to be heard. Here's a crude and approximate map reference, but one that gets close to the buried treasure. Imagine guitarist Pat Metheny's trio masterpiece, Day Trip (Nonesuch, 2007), add a pianist of commensurate genius, and you are banging on the disc's front door. It is that good".

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25/05/2011 Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise 4 stars****

One of the most refreshing debut albums for a long time

19/05/2011 Bebop Spoken Here

compelling CD
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11/05/2011 London Jazz

this is a classy, elegant but punchily accessible album, and a great appetiser not only for their forthcoming June UK tour, but also their London Jazz Festival appearance in November.
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