Jul 05 - Jul 07, 2013
The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley welcomes contemporary instrumental jazz band Acoustic Alchemy. Band members are Greg Carmichael (nylon guitar), Miles Gilderdale (steel/electric guitars), Greg Grainger (drums), Fred White (keys), and Gary Granger (bass). Set times Tuesday and Wednesday 7:30, Friday through Sunday at 7:30pm, and Friday & Saturday at 9:30pm. Doors open at 5:30pm.
The story of Acoustic Alchemy has always been about innovation and adaptability, pushing the limits of the acoustic guitar’s potential by embracing a spectrum of musical styles ranging from straightahead jazz to folk to rock to world music and beyond. In the nearly 25 years since their first recording, the UK-based group has crafted a sound that maximizes the potential of not only the acoustic guitar but also its electric counterpart, and in so doing they’ve explored the subtle corners where jazz, pop, world music and other genres intersect.
The next step in this ongoing journey is Roseland (2011), their most recent recording, an album that was four years in the making. Roseland was recorded in Gilderdale’s newly constructed home studio in York, England, a place where the band could be creative without the pressure of a ticking clock. “We used the studio as a place to write,” says Carmichael. “We would just throw ideas at each other. You try things as you go along. That’s the beauty of having your own studio. You can try an electric guitar solo here, a steel-string solo there, a trombone solo somewhere else, whatever you like. It may have taken us a little longer, but if something didn’t work, it didn’t matter. We just tried things until we found what did work.”
While they may call themselves Acoustic Alchemy, Carmichael and his creative partner and co-pilot, Miles Gilderdale, exercise plenty of creative license by injecting generous elements of electric guitar into the mix on Roseland. This sonic edge comes courtesy of Gilderdale, who was an electric player first and foremost before joining the band in 1996. Together, Carmichael and Gilderdale explore elements of jazz, rock, country and reggae – all of which makes for an album that’s both eclectic and yet cohesive at the same time.
Through it all, the overriding mission of Acoustic Alchemy has been to reach the broadest possible audience by pushing the potential of instrumental music to embrace a broad spectrum of styles without being limited to any specific genre. “For a lot of people, instrumental music is just a sound that plays in the background,” says Carmichael. “But we put a lot into it – not just with this record but with every record we’ve ever made. I’d like to think that after all these years, we’ve learned how to take people on a journey. A lot of our fans have said that we do that for them. As long as they keep coming back, and as long as they want to stay on that journey, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
Dimitriou's Jazz Alley
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