Guitarists Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale celebrate a remarkable two decades plus 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. Carmichael explains the energy is the result of a natural chemistry he’s developed with Gilderdale over the years since Gilderdale (formerly a backing guitarist with the band) became Carmichael’s full partner after the passing of founding member Nick Webb in 1998 and the release that year of Positive Thinking.
The road to instrumental stardom began when Webb and Carmichael provided the one- off-in-flight entertainment for a Virgin Airlines England to America flight, in search of an elusive recording contract; they often liked to say they “played their way to America”. Signed to the MCA Master Series label by Tony Brown, their popularity took off in conjunction with the rise of the New Adult Contemporary radio format.
Acoustic Alchemy’s early MCA albums—starting with Red Dust and Spanish Lace and continuing with 1988’s Natural Elements and 1989’s Blue Chip—were all later re- released on GRP. One of the band’s most remarkable recordings was 1996’s live in the studio date Arcanum, which featured new arrangements of classics, a few new tracks, and full orchestration. Recorded over three days at Pinewood Film Studios in England (home to all the James Bond films), the sessions were filmed by director Aubrey Powell for a television documentary of the band, released on video as Best Kept Secret; GRP re-released this on DVD in July, 2006 with extra archived live performance and documentary footage. In 2002, Acoustic Alchemy also released Sounds of St. Lucia, a CD/DVD live concert package based on a performance recorded by BET television. Acoustic Alchemy recently released in conjunction with Universal Music The Very Best of Acoustic Alchemy Vol 2 which they will be promoting throughout 2009.