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SUBJECT: Impossible Gentlemen with Steve Rodby Back to Subjects
Jul 10 2013
at 4:54 PM
Impossibe Gentlemen are touring later this year and Steve Rodby is the bass player. They seem to swap between him and Steve Swallow with the remaining three members being permanent; Mike Walker on guitar, Gwilym Simcock on piano and Adam Nussbaum on drums. I’ve seen them twice before, both times with Swallow, both times really excellent and I would highly recommend the band to any fans of PMG. Walker is perhaps the least well known (especially outside of the UK where he’s from) but he is a great guitar player who has his own style and approach, occasionally with hints of Scofield and PM. Looking forward to hearing Steve Rodby in a different setting.
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Jan 02 2014
at 1:03 AM
Bookmark and Share Thanks for the pointers to the reviews (have you reviewed any Laurence Hobgood?), and the heads-up on the upcoming Simcock/Goloubev, "Reverie at Schloss Elmau," dj. I’ve only sampled it, but it sounds very nice. Yuri’s arco, imo, is on a par with McBride. To my ears, Gwilym is closer sonically to Mehldau, though in places from time to time he does emulate Keith, both solo and in trio.
Jan 01 2014
at 4:42 PM
Bookmark and Share For those interested, here’s a review of Gwilym’s Blues Vignette - as naut says, a wonderful recording: He’s got a new duo record coming, with bassist Yuri Goloubev, on ACT (where Simcock’s solo releases have been, after Blue Vignette), that is also highly recommended. You can also read a review of Lighthouse here: (one of my favorite records of 2013). Gwilym first emerged, also with Tim Garland, in a terrific chamber jazz trio called Acoustic Triangle, along with British bassist Malcolm Creese (most recent recordings: Resonance: and 3 Dimensions:, and also played in Bill Bruford’s Earthworks (sadly, other than a spot on one of the drummer’s Video Anthologies, they never got to make a record together). He’s a really focused, driven guy who has managed to carve out a real space for himself since first emerging a decade or so ago. If he’s involved in a project, I’ll always at the very least check it out...and so far, I’ve yet to be disappointed.
Dec 27 2013
at 6:17 PM
Bookmark and Share Been listening to a lot of one of the prime Gentlemen: Gwilym Simcock. Right now, it’s "Blues Vignette," a superb 2-discer of solo piano, a classical piece, and a disc of trio work that is most excellent. Of late I’ve also listened to "Good Days at Schloss Elmau" and "Lighthouse." Both are terrific. I don’t know who it was in here that turned me onto the Gentlemen and Simcock, but it sure is a blessing. Gwilym’s easily ascending to the upper reaches of my favorite pianists. For the amount of exquisite music you get on "Blues Vignette," I can’t recommend it highly enough. Wow!
Dec 14 2013
at 3:44 PM
Bookmark and Share Harn, Swallow has a new quintet, released a terrific album last year called Into the Woodwork (, but that’s not what has drawn him away from Impossible Gentlemen, nor does Rodby in publicity shots mean permanence. Swallow has also been busy touring with Steve Kuhn (terrific trio with Joey Baron) and, as is often the case with musicians trying to make a living these days, they can’t just hitch their horse to one wagon; they’ve gotta be involved in numerous projects, since very few get to tour extensively, the way Metheny does. So my understanding is that when Swallow is unavailable, Rodby is the fifth Impossible Gentlemen, and is set to work on current tour commitments. But that doesn’t mean Swallow is out of the picture, and I hope he’s not, because as great as Rodby is (and he is), the two albums the group has released demonstrate, imo, a very special chemistry, so it would be a shame to lose that...again, as good as Rodby is (and as great a job as he did producing the new record and sitting in on two tracks). But back to Swallow: I’d strongly recommend Into the Woodwork as well as his latest with life partner Carla Bley, Trio, with Andy Sheppard. It’s the first time Bley has released an album on ECM proper (rather than Watt, distributed by ECM), and it’s the first time she’s relinquished producer chores to someone else, in this case Manfred Eicher, and it’s made a tremendous difference. I love Bley’s discography, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes a different set of ears can bring things out of a musician that they may not realize is possible when they’re self-producing, and Trio makes that abundantly clear. It’s still Bley, with a trio that’s been working together periodically for many years (though this is only their second album together just as a trio), so the chemistry is there, but I think Eicher really brings out some very special qualities here.
Dec 13 2013
at 5:03 AM
Bookmark and Share You’re right, dj: Love it. It’s a wee bit more subtle than the first album, but seems to have great dynamics on first listen. I think I’ll shuffle both discs and see if I can pin which tracks are from which album, not knowing either very well at this point. Both are fine, fine records, of course. I still say Swallow would be a hoot to hang with....
Dec 13 2013
at 2:57 AM
Bookmark and Share More UK dates in 2014, I notice they’re playing at the Liverpool Jazz Festival in February. All the publicity photos feature Steve Rodby so it seems like he is a full time member now. Doesn’t Steve Swallow have a new quartet? Anybody heard them?
Dec 10 2013
at 6:00 PM
Bookmark and Share You’re gonna love it. I think having Rodby as a producer (and, on two tracks, bassist) has really pushed the group even further out of their individual comfort zones than on the first record (which smoked). This is definitely on my list for one of the year’s best....! Best! Dave
Dec 09 2013
at 4:49 PM
Bookmark and Share Mystery solved! Thanks, dj. Just got "Internationally Recognised Aliens" and look forward to hearing it...SOON! Cheers.
Dec 08 2013
at 9:22 PM
Bookmark and Share That’s not harmonica, it’s melodica, the same thing Donald Fagen plays in Steely Dan, in this case played by Impossible Gentlemen pianist Gwilym Simcock. Mystery solved! Best! Dave
Nov 28 2013
at 4:22 PM
Bookmark and Share Does anybody here know who plays harmonica on the first Impossible Gentlemen record? I couldn’t find anything at their website or googling. (Swallow looks like he’d be a major hoot to hang out and play music with.)
Nov 08 2013
at 3:51 PM
Bookmark and Share I just love Eddie Gomez. The later stuff with Bill Evans just does it for me. Love his tone, his ideas. I think he was ideal with Bill Evans, just ideal. I really like the later Bill Evans stuff, towards the end. What a complete jazz titan. So, yes, knowing Eddie Gomez, if he told you the pizza was good, you better damn well believe it is good.
Tom Rudd
Nov 06 2013
at 10:33 AM
Bookmark and Share John, Some day i wish i could visit the venue for a show. All kidding aside. I love Pizza and I Love jazz. So put them both together with a couple of pints and i am all smiles!~
Nov 04 2013
at 4:28 PM
Bookmark and Share Tom - you’re not the first to raise a metaphorical eyebrow at the concept of Pizza Express and jazz. It’s actually a rather pleasant small jazz club that punches above it’s weight. Even Pat has been a visitor there. Beer is a bit pricey though. Cheers John.
Tom Rudd
Nov 01 2013
at 6:13 AM
Bookmark and Share Well if it’s good enough for Eddie Gomez it’s good enough for me. only kiddin’ around John . Cheers Tom
Oct 31 2013
at 5:12 PM
Bookmark and Share Tom - I thought better of you. None other than Eddie Gomez endorsed their pizzas when he played there. Cheers John.
Oct 29 2013
at 2:58 PM
Bookmark and Share "Tom Rudd"-I remember back in the day,they had a pizza place called "J. Burns Pizza and Pipes". You could actually hear this guy play old time show tunes on a big Wurlitzer pipe organ while you ate your pizza.It was pretty cool in an old timey way.There you go,an orchestrion connection of sorts!
Tom Rudd
Oct 29 2013
at 6:57 AM
Bookmark and Share Can’t wait for this wonderful group to come to the states. 4 nights at Pizza Express huh? I suppose that’s better than doing a gig at McDonalds.
Oct 27 2013
at 1:54 PM
Bookmark and Share Just an FYI, the group’s recent record, Internationally Recognisable Aliens, was reviewed at All About Jazz:
Oct 16 2013
at 1:14 PM
Bookmark and Share I saw them last night in Manchester, they were really on form, they played to a packed audience in the Royal Northern College of music’s main theatre. The band were in great spirits and having fun I urge you to listen to their new album Steve Rodby has produced this album and I think he plays bass on two of the tracks, Steve Swallow playing bass on the other six. It’s just a very strong quartet with their own compositions and great playing around. They are doing a UK tour and end in London I think at pizza express next week with a 4 night residency. Steve was in good spirits and I managed to catch up with him at the end and had a good chat.
Oct 11 2013
at 6:21 AM
Bookmark and Share Truly outstanding gig. Four great musicians looking like they are having a good deal of fun. Spoke to Steve Rodby in the interval and said it was a long way from PMG to a 100 seater club in Dorking. He said he was loving having the opportunity of playing with people of such virtuosity. Anybody in UK or Eurpoe who gets the chance I recommend you try and get to see them over the next few weeks.
Sep 27 2013
at 3:35 PM
Bookmark and Share Anybody going to the Watermill Jazz gig on October 10th?
Jul 18 2013
at 4:35 PM
Bookmark and Share They are the best "unknown" jazz band around. I saw them a couple of years ago with Steve on bass supporting Steve Swallow’s band with Carla Bley and I thought they were by far the better band. Mike is a great guitarist in the bluesy jazz tradition, sometimes with echoes of Sco. Nussbaum is one of those drummers when something happens all the time and Symcock is a consummate pianist. When they play, they have so much fun. Drop everything and see them if they’re near. Cheers John
Jul 16 2013
at 4:57 PM
Bookmark and Share Saw them with Swallow last year. Excellent band. Very nice guys too. Hope they’ll come to Holland.
Jul 15 2013
at 7:36 AM
Bookmark and Share I found their website (wth sondtracks) : Looks like they only touring in England
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