The Impossible Gentlemen

Released in 2011

Jazzwise Top 10 Releases of 2011




The new Anglo-American quartet was assembled by Gwilym Simcock and Mike Walker, both musicians with strong Mancunian associations. Pianist Gwilym Simcock studied music at Chetham’s School of Music and performed at the RNCM often during his time in Manchester, while guitarist Mike Walker was born in Salford and has been a regular on the northwest jazz scene since the 1980s, at the same time playing with international luminaries and building a reputation as an inventive and versatile jazz guitarist.  The lineup with Swallow and Nussbaum is very new – they only played their first date in May this year.  Mike and Gwilym had met several times during Gwilym’s time in Manchester but had never got round to playing together. The idea germinated in 2008 when Gwilym met Swallow and Nussbaum whilst they were in the UK. Steve Swallow has played bass with many of the jazz greats, particularly Carla Bley. Adam Nussbaum (drums) has also collaborated with a long list of musicians, including Sonny Rollins and Dave Liebman, and he and Steve Swallow have played together on a whole range of projects.

Track Listing:

1. Laugh Lines (Walker) 5:11

2. Clockmaker (Walker) 9:17

3. When You Hold Her (Walker) 11:06

4. You Won’t Be Around to See It (Simcock) 7:38

5. Wallenda’s Last Stand (Walker) 7:29

6. Gwil’s Song (Simcock) 8:43

7. Play the Game (Simcock) 7:36

8. Sure Would Baby (Nussbaum) 6:29


Gwilym Simcock: concertina (5), piano

Mike Walker: guitar

Steve Swallow: bass

Adam Nussbaum: drums

Recorded at Curtis Schwartz Studio

Produced by Gwilym Simcock and Mike Walker

Recorded, Mastered and Mixed by Curtis Schwartz


Simcock by placing him alongside the rhythm team of Swallow and Nussbaum whose collective approach to the groove is perhaps more unequivocal to anything he has previously regularly worked with, it should not overshadow the contribution of bandleader Mike Walker, whose musical achievements have tended to be somewhat overlooked by a London-centric jazz scene. His playing on ‘Laugh Lines,’ his own complex yet dancing theme, is handled with easy precision and balance and his solo – as they are throughout this album – are models of logic and concision. Like the finest sportsmen in the beautiful game, he always seems to have the time and timing to achieve his ends. Swallow and Nussbaum are exemplary throughout, a pairing that came together in the late-1970s and have taken delight in seeking out each other’s musical company ever since. They set the bar high for their two English bandmates, who respond with some of their most inspired playing on record. With tour dates stretching into 2012, there is already talk of another album, which will be eagerly anticipated. Meanwhile this downpayment makes this one of the most refreshing debut albums for a long time. 

Stuart Nicholson (Jazzwise)