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Bireli Lagrene: Blue Eyes

Jim Santella By

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This straight-ahead jazz session from guitarist Bireli Lagrene, pianist Maurice Vander, bassist Chris Minh Doky, and drummer Andre Ceccarelli features songs identified with Frank Sinatra. It was recorded in June 1997 as a tribute to the singer who influenced each of the quartet's members as they were growing up and listening to music from all around the world. Audiences know Lagrene, a 31-year-old Frenchman who was born to a Gypsy family, as a mainstream guitarist in the Django Reinhardt tradition. On this session Lagrene sings four of the songs; his vocal quality and phrasing are remarkably similar to that of the late Frank Sinatra.

The individual tracks offer much opportunity to hear the individuals: Chris Minh Doky has an appreciable bass solo on "It's Alright With Me," drummer Ceccarelli trades fours on "A Foggy Day," pianist Vander stretches out on "Here's That Rainy Day," and of course Lagrene's guitar graces each song. The highlight is a version of "Come Fly With Me" that runs more than seven minutes and fits in solo work from each artist. Highly Recommended.

Track Listing: A Foggy Day; Witchcraft; The Lady is a Tramp; I've Got a Crush on You; My Kind of Town; I've Got You Under my Skin; It's Alright With Me; You Make Me Feel So Young; Come Fly With Me; Here's That Rainy Day; Luck Be a Lady; April in Paris; Autumn in New York.

Title: Blue Eyes | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records

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