What do you get when you put together the talents of bassist Steve Swallow, pianist Gwilym Simcock, guitarist Mike Walker, and drummer Adam Nussbaum? Well, The Impossible Gentlemen of course! Hailed as the 'Anglo-American jazz supergroup' by some, The Impossible Gentlemen certainly have the pedigree to back up that statement, and their self-titled debut more than lives up to the accolades.
Opener "Laugh Lines" busts out of the gate with some intense, complex lines from Walker and Simcock, while Swallow & Nussbaum burn like mad underneath. It's an impressive start to the CD, and if you like complex yet majestic jazz, this track will hook you right in. "Clockmaker" is a more traditional jazz piece, complete with some lovely melodies and Simcock's wonderful piano lines. This segues into the emotional "When You Hold Her", a heart tugging piece that features a yearning, rock tinged guitar solo from Walker. The band gets into some serious post-bop on the ominous "You Won't Be Around to See It", a Simcock piece that smolders and burns, featuring some biting guitar from Walker and the pianists serpentine melodies. The guitarist really lets loose on the wild "Play the Game", unleashing some monstrous blues-rock solos while Simcock furiously lays down the melodies amidst some thunderous rhythms from Swallow and Nussbaum. They close it out with Nussbaum's "Sure Would Baby", a dark number featuring some molten rock solos from Walker amidst intricate rhythms from the rest of the band. I was reminded of some of Terje Rypdal's classic material on this one!
This is dramatic, challenging, but most importantly, very fun to listen to stuff here from The Impossible Gentlemen. It's not often that these so called 'supergroups' live up to expectations, especially in the jazz world, but this one certainly does. Make sure you don't miss out on this fine CD.
1. Laugh Lines (Walker) 5:13
2. Clockmaker (Walker) 9:15
3. When You Hold Her (Walker) 11:03
4. You Won't Be Around To See It (Simcock) 7:35
5. Wallenda's Last Stand (Walker) 7:30
6. Gwil's Song (Simcock) 8:42
7. Play The Game (Simcock) 7:37
8. Sure Would Baby (Nussbaum) 6:30