The Impossible Gentlemen -]|[- THE IMPOSSIBLE GENTLEMEN -(MP3)- [Basho Records, 2011] – Album Review –
Last year I was introduced to and blown away by the music of British composer/pianist Gwilym Simcock’s “Blues Vignette.” On this occasion, I’m thrilled to present you to another splendid project by this truly amazing composer titled “The Impossible Gentlemen” just recently release on Basho Records.
“The Impossible Gentlemen” is comprised of eight lyrically explosive gems which vary in depth, style and texture. Of course, this is why I adore composer Gwilym Simcock’s music. This album features four wonderful players from two generations Simcock (30) on piano, along with guitarist Mike Walker from Manchester (Born in 1962), veteran bassist Steve Swallow (70) and drummer Adam Nussbaum (55) rounds out this cast of intriguing players.
“Laugh Lines” the first of four compositions pen by guitarist Mike Walker opens the session. This jewel appropriately sets the pace with tenacious interplay that is possibly a pathway for the ensemble to begin with what I describe as simply intoxicating dexterity displayed by these seasoned players.
The bluesy undertones of “Clockmaker” draw you into the intimate side of Walkers compositional voice. The melody is quite simple yet it moves with grace and spontaneity to give room for his cohorts to explore the underlying qualities hidden in the core of the music which swells generously beyond expectation.
The versatile Simcock composes the first of three contributions titled “You Won’t Be Around To See It.” At first, his sound took me in an unlike direction I originally encountered on “Blues Vignette.” Of course, this is without a doubt a welcome journey because he’s able to make an attractive transition compositionally which he channels his voicings with a plethora of distinctive and thought-provoking nuances.
On “Wallenda’s Last Stand,” Walker’s mesmeric and breathtaking tone is unexpectedly plush. The irony of it all, his morphing touch is reminiscent of another fascinating guitarist beckons you into this atmosphere that fits comfortably in this unrestrained musical landscape. “Gwil’s Song” penned by Simcock mirrors the harmonic and melodic textures of the aforementioned piece confirms why they’re collaboration works seamlessly.
Once you hear “Play The Game” there’s no question why the legendary Chick Corea has given Simcock the highest honor and respect to his talent and gift as composer and player. This piece holds it’s on collectively to give this infallible cast an opportunity to spread their proverbial wings with exquisite and furious interplay that calls for the attention of anyone who loves music to be engulfed their sound.
The blues intense “Sure Would Baby” by drummer Adam Nussbaum is absolutely a great way to close the set. The variety and versatility of songs embodied throughout is blueprint for those who might otherwise decide to play it safe is a signature by this ensemble to say it’s alright to do your thing artistically! “The Impossible Gentlemen” the project is worth the price of admission. Although there’s nothing impossible for these artist 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. —Rob Young | Reviewer