With the release of This Way, Acoustic Alchemy’s first album under Higher Octave/Narada Jazz’s association with Blue Note Records, guitarists Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale celebrate a remarkable two decades since 1987’s Red Dust and Spanish Lace established the British ensemble as an ever evolving, powerhouse force in contemporary jazz.
Their thousands of fans around the world may be feeling nostalgic, but the duo--while keeping their trademark acoustic guitar synergy front and center--is clearly committed to forging ahead, following the laid back pop-soul vibe of American/English (2005) with their most aggressive and swinging, hard rocking and artfully jazzy disc to date. Complementing performances by familiar Acoustic Alchemy recording and touring members Terry Disley (piano), Snake Davis (sax), Fred White (keyboards and trumpet), Julian Crampton (bass) and Greg Grainger (drums) are special guest appearances by smooth jazz stars, trumpeter Rick Braun, saxman Jeff Kashiwa (who has toured with the band and appeared on 2001’s Aart) and keyboardist Neil Cowley, a member of jazz groove band (and Narada Jazz/Blue Note labelmates) Down To The Bone.
While Carmichael and Gilderdale composed the majority of the songs and produced several tracks at Gilderdale’s home facility 9 Miles High Studio in York, England, others were produced at various studios on Carmichael’s home turf of London and at Hansa House Studios in Bonn, Germany, where many of the band’s classics were recorded, produced and mixed over the years by longtime associate Klaus Genuit. In addition to Genuit’s three tracks, This Way includes six others produced and engineered by Richard Bull, who began working with AA on 2000’s The Beautiful Game. Two tracks, the trippy and sensual “Out of Nowhere” and the snappy, neo-soul driven “Now I’m On My Way” were mixed by legendary mixer Steve Hodge (Usher, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige).