Acoustic Alchemy is a British contemporary instrumental and smooth jazz band formed in England in the early 1980s (c. 1981), originally fronted by acoustic guitarists Nick Webb and Simon James. The band is currently fronted by Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale.
During the 1980s, there was little grateful audience for this form of music in the UK, and the big players in the genre were all American. The pioneering sound of two duelling acoustic guitars — Simon James on nylon and Nick Webb on steel — was a fresh touch on the genre, often backed up by a double bass, percussion, and occasionally string quartet The Violettes. A couple of records were pressed by Webb, but at a considerable loss. In the mid-1980s, James left the band; in the 1990s he would go on to form Kymaera, a similar, albeit more Latin oriented band. In 1985, Webb then discovered Greg Carmichael, a guitarist with a London pub band called The Holloways (not affiliated with the current indie band of the same name) who became James’ successor.
Positive Thinking (1998) was to be Acoustic Alchemy’s last album with original frontman Nick Webb. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer prior to starting work on it, and sadly got progressively worse throughout the project. In the end, he could only offer inspiration, as he was too weak to play at recording sessions. Nick Webb died on February 5, 1998. However, the album was perceived as one of the band’s best.
Wind of Change
Playing For Time
The Beautiful Game
This Way – Who Knows