Jazz Epicure: Broadway Delicacies (2005)

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How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Jazz Epicure: Broadway Delicacies
It was on a cold January night in the middle of a blizzard that Bill Bridges, Stéphane Allard, and Lew Mele holed up in a house to lay down some music. They stuck close to a "fragrant kitchen, which could have had some bearing when it came to giving this recording a name.

The musicians were certainly inspired. Not only did they swoop down on a diverse and interesting band of tunes, they played them with the right blend of zest and breeziness, without neglecting the inherent sentiment that some of the music evokes.

Allard is a limber violinist. He gears into the melody, his strokes broad and vibrant as he colours with some fine nuances. He flies into high gear as he gets into "Forty Second Street, urged on by a flurry of chords from Bridges. Swing does its thing, and this is a fine introduction, but there are deeper moments later on. They slow down the tempo of the "Merry Widow Waltz but they keep the undercurrent of the beat. Allard mixes lush strokes that enrich the melodic canvas with quick scampers and scurries that add the cross currents. Bridges lends a subtle air to "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, his notes descending like soft snowflakes, with Mele playing the melody in consonance, opening the vista for Allard to add the final lyrical layer. This sure is a fine album: warm, cozy and happy!

Track Listing: Forty Second Street; Ol Man River; Puttin On The Ritz; Blue Moon; Merry Widow Waltz; I Want to be Happy; Bewitched; Summertime; Wunderbar; Makin Whoopee; It Might as Well be Spring; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; I Got Rhythm; Send in the Clowns.

Personnel: Stphane Allard: violin; Bill Bridges: guitar; Lew Mele: acoustic bass.

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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