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Record Label Profiles

Dreyfus Records: Crossing Continents with Music

By Published: August 26, 2010
Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine is a melodic modernist who received his breakthrough by playing with trumpeter Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
trumpet
on the album Live in Bologna 1985 (Dreyfus, 1985), a classic in the Dreyfus catalog. Concert in Capbreton (Dreyfus, 2010) is a fine example of Catherine's ability as a superior colorist. In the company of bassist Hein Van de Geyn, drummer Joe LaBarbera
Joe LaBarbera
Joe LaBarbera
b.1948
drums
and pianist Enrico Pieranunzi
Enrico Pieranunzi
Enrico Pieranunzi
b.1949
piano
, Catherine explores a program of old and modern standards, with the ballad "Change," written by Van de Geyn, thrown in for good measure. The concert starts with the Chet Baker signature song, "My Funny Valentine." Here, Catherine creates an impressionistic mood piece, stretching lines bathed in reverb, while Pieranunzi makes a shimmering carpet of bell-like tonalities resound in the background. "My Foolish Heart," another signature piece played by LaBarbera's former employer, pianist Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
, is played with lightly swinging lyricism, and the rest of the concert also sticks to a program of ballads, with Kurt Weill's "Speak Low" ending the set. Concert in Capbreton shows Catherine as a reflective guitarist who gives plenty of room to his fellow players while, at the same time, managing to bring the warm sound of his instrument into focus. The combination of piano and guitar isn't always a successful one, with the guitarist often disappearing between the chords of the piano, but Catherine and Pieranunzi is a perfect partnership. Both are lyrical musicians who are interested in sound and space and together they create an environment where advanced group communication is the highest priority.

Sara Lazurus with Biréli Lagrène's Gypsy Project

It's All Right With Me

Dreyfus Records

2007

Compared to Philip Catherine, Biréli Lagrène is a very different guitarist. In terms of style, Lagrène plays a stunning kind of gypsy guitar in the tradition of the legendary Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt
1910 - 1953
guitar
. On the album It's All Right With Me, he teams up with elegant singer Sara Lazarus, winner of the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Vocal Competition, and it's a match made in heaven. Lagrène's rollicking, folkloric licks suit the singer's sophistication perfectly, giving tunes such as "Taking a Chance on Love" and "Down with Love" a vibrating freshness. The latter is particularly impressive, with the guitarist's lightning fast runs matched by the potent phrasing of Lazarus. Together they engage in a musical dialogue where the songs twist and turn in a joyful celebration of life. However, there is also time for more subdued moments, as when a string section accompanies the singer on a softly sighing version of "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning." The Dreyfus catalog boasts some very strong singers, including Anne Ducrus and Terez Montcalm, but no one is more versatile than Lazurus, who is an eminent swinger, a sensitive balladeer and an accomplished stylist interested in a broad range of musical traditions.

Richard Galliano

French Touch

Dreyfus Records

1999

A special musical tradition lies at the heart of the artistry of accordion player Richard Galliano. He is steeped in the genre of musette, a kind of French ballroom music that emerged in early 20th century France. However, Galliano is also something of a romantic eclectic who isn't afraid to bring flavors from around the world into his jazzy folk-music. This is clearly heard on the opening track on the album that is considered one of his masterpieces: French Touch (Dreyfus, 1999). Here, Galliano kicks off with a warmly swinging version of Brazilian master Hermeto Pascoal
Hermeto Pascoal
Hermeto Pascoal
b.1936
piano
's composition "Bébé."

Elsewhere, he delivers a virtuosic version of Michel Legrand's "You Must Believe in Spring," changing convincingly between tempi. Helping him out are two solid rhythm sections, with Jean-Francois Jenny-Clark and Rémi Vignolo sharing the bass duty and Daniel Humair
Daniel Humair
Daniel Humair
b.1938
and Andre "Dede" Ceccarelli taking care of the drums. emphasiz lies on the waltz, but Galliano never grows stale in the treatment of his instrument. He makes it laugh, sing and cry like a human voice. He never loses sight of the empathic display of feelings that connects his art with a romantic aesthetic, conveying the image of amorous lovers sitting in abandoned cafés on a starlit night. There's a chamber-like intimacy about Gallliano's music that serves it well. It is modern French folk-music of the highest order.

Mingus Big Band

Gunslinging Birds

Dreyfus Records

1995


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