Monday, August 02, 2010

Howlin' Gwil and Big Mike Walker - Manchester Jazz Festival Day Five

Simcock/Walker/Swallow/Nussbaum, Royal Northern College of Music. 27th July 2010

Following Monday night's Jazz on 3 taster, the Simcock Walker Swallow Nussbaum group were over at the Royal Northern College of Music for a full set on Tuesday. It seemed like the entire North West jazz community were here for this sold out gig, as well as a few from Midlands and South. It was clearly a key gig to be at, with guitarist Mikes Walker always attracting a loyal crowd, pianist Gwilym Simcock now making significant waves, and bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Adam Nussbaum being of legendary status.

Clockmaker once again opened the set, with Swallow delivering another sweet and memorable solo. The sad and achingly beautiful 'When You Hold Her' was the highlight of the first set, Walker's guitar feedback wails perfectly capturing the calling anguish of the tune's sentiment. Nussbaum was especially bracing on another superfast take on 'Laughlines', all the while remaining rock steady and true throughout both sets.

Nussbaum came forward to introduce 'Hey Pretty Baby', one of his contributions to the group's songwriting efforts dedicated to the great blues legends such as Howlin' Wolf and T-Bone Walker (and Big Mike Walker as Nussbaum added). Down deep grooved it was too, being a slow burner based on a simple blues riff. Walker roared with some weighty thick and long bent BB style notes. The set ended appropriately with a smiling and tender version of Swallow's 'Ladies in Mercedes'. Simcock soared throughout the two sets with highly energised and fullsome solos. Walker wasn't as on it tonight as I know he can be, and was clearly a little underpowered, but still produced many great moments. All in all, a great night at the RNCM and a great success for the Manchester Jazz Festival with such a good turnout and response from the audience.

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