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Purley, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Purley, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Latin World


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This band has not uploaded any videos




INTO THE RAINBOW Review Feb 2007

A lovely tribute to the late visionary/founding member of the UK Smooth Jazz sensation Acoustic Alchemy. Kymaera is comprised of Webb’s original partner, Alchemy co-founder Simon James, along with guitarist Shane Hill and a handful of highly accomplished British musicians including bassist Dave Markee, percussionist Michele Drees, trumpet and flugelhorn player Dick Pearce and saxophonist Dave O’Higgins. The group has been recording since 1997 and has released five albums to date with INTO THE RAINBOW marking the ensemble’s U.S. debut on Sheridan Square Records. Nick Webb was a fantastic songwriter and had an incredible knack for melody. Alchemy fans will enjoy this tribute, as there are some wonderful pieces that Webb was able to contribute to prior to his passing in 1998, such as the project’s title track and earlier tunes that he co-wrote with James during their collaboration. In addition, Nick Webb’s long time writing partner and current AA band leader Greg Carmichael guests on INTO THE RAINBOW, while two of his contributions are included (the Carmichael/James offering “Desert Rose” as well as the Webb/Carmichael classic “Hearts In Chains”). Plus, you’ll discover several outstanding Kymaera originals, such as the Latin-tinged “Rosina,” and the smooth and inviting “The Last Resort.” It’s not surprising that Simon’s Kymaera is cut from a similar cloth as Webb’s Alchemy in that a melodic, soulful guitar is front and center. INTO THE RAINBOW is a beautiful dedication from one guitar player to another. ~SANDY SHORE


"Friday, November 14, 2008, 16:00"

Friday, November 14, 2008, 16:00

4 stars

I didn't know what to expect at this gig but certainly not an introduction from Sylvia Syms, the actress that you remember best from Ice Cold in Alex. She was obviously a fan of Simon James, a guitarist of beguiling dexterity, singer Lynieve Austin and guest percussionist Job Verweijen and after their concert I could understand why.

The Warehouse was full, with an audience that appreciated the evocation of Southern Spain from a guitarist who while looking like most suburban Brits had far greater expertise than the four chords of many pop groups.

His partner Lynieve Austin had composed many of the songs with James and obviously her heroine was the great Ella Fitzgerald, when she gave us a superb A Night in Tunisia. We started with flamenco, the music from Andalucia, and then on to an original composition, Wedding Singer, based on gypsy dances at wedding festivals. Lynieve then sang in Spanish, the beautiful Una Pena Quita Pena, which translated means 'a sorrow may cure a sorrow' - sounds much better in Spanish. We had a Samba, a Rumba and I liked the composition The River, a sort of journey of our lives, first softly and then violently like a mighty flood.

There is a tendency to think of percussion as crash, bang, wallop, but the equipment of Verweijen gave lie to this, producing rhythms often gentle but certainly hypnotic - the rustle of trees, bird cries, the lap of water, or was it simply my imagination.

We had improvisations from Since You Went Away, The Autumn Leaves and I loved the catchy 1,2,3,4,5 chorus. The well-deserved encore at the end was Nature Boy. My conclusion was this is a very talented group that love to make music.

Peter Steptoe
- The Croydon Advertiser


Simon James with Acoustic Alchemy -

album - Early Alchemy on GRP (1991)

Kymaera -

album - Rio Moods (tribute to Jobim) MCI (1997)
album - The Music Of George Michael Prestige/Elite (1998)
album - Into The Rainbow, String Jazz (2000) Sheridan Square US(2007) Prestige/Elite UK & Europe (2007)
album - California Dreamin Union Square (2002)
album - Smooth Jazz, Union Square (2006) with Lynieve Austin

Simon James -

album - Azahar solo Flamenco and Spanish guitar, Barking Green (2007)

Many tracks on compilations and available for download.



Kymaera began as an idea for a project Shane Hill and I (Simon James) were working on and which, when it came to fruition, we felt needed a band reflecting the approach we had taken to the music. The project was the instrumental arrangements of George Michael songs celebrating his historic third Ivor Novello Songwriter of the Year award. It seemed appropriate that the band should reflect that: the best of British musicians to play the best of British songwriting. Shortly afterwards we were asked to do the same thing for the Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim; with the invaluable help of Corcovado Music, Jobim’s publishers, the two albums were finished within months of each other and released in 1998.

Simon James among many other things co-founded Acoustic Alchemy with Nick Webb, twice nominated for Grammys they have sold over a million albums to date though Simon left some years ago.