141

The Robin Nolan Trio: Mediterranean Blues

By

Sign in to view read count
The Robin Nolan Trio: Mediterranean Blues Every now and then a performer achieves success in the music business without the ‘benefit’ of a major record company. The Robin Nolan Trio is one such story. Drawing their initial style and repertoire from the Django Reinhardt-inspired “gypsy jazz” movement, the group’s genesis dates to 1991 when Nolan, a student at London’s famed Guildhall School of Music, met bassist Paul Meader. With the addition of Anthony Williams on rhythm guitar, they formed a trio dedicated to performing the music of Reinhardt. Beginning with cafés and small jazz clubs in the early ‘90s they’ve managed to work their way toward international renown. They’ve also played at several of the most prestigious international jazz festivals, including the Montreal, Barcelona, North Sea and Django Reinhardt jazz festivals, making their U.S. debut at the Tropical Heat Wave Festival in Tampa, Florida. (They’ve even made into the silver screen: two of the songs included here, “And Then There Were Three” and “From The Banks Of The Odra,” were featured in the Joan Chen film Autumn In New York, starring Richard Gere and Wynona Ryder.)

The Trio also released six self-produced CDs between 1994 and this year, selling them at gigs and through the Internet. The record companies aware of the group’s popularity and A & R men came sniffing around, but their silver-tongued appeals fell on skeptical ears: “It is a very weird business after all, full of very weird people. To begin with most of these people can't play an instrument and their respect for you is based on how much cash you might or might not make them,” according to Nolan. “This gets a little confusing for everybody involved when they start telling you what is good and what is not good for your music, based on the latest marketing figures . . .”

Fortunately, not all record companies are driven by the bottom line. One notable exception is Refined Records, a small in San Francisco-based jazz label “dedicated to furthering the art of acoustic performance,” according to the label’s press release. When Refined Records head J. Robert Roy heard the Robin Nolan Trio playing on Amsterdam’s famous Leidseplein, in 1995 he knew that they would be perfect for his new label.

Mediterranean Blues serves as an excellent introduction to both the label’s philosophy and the music of RNT. Though they began as an acoustic trio in the “gypsy jazz” tradition mentioned above, The Robin Nolan Trio isn’t content to merely recreate Django-style swing. Song titles like “Luna Tango,” “Bolero Blue,” “Bar Del Pi” and “El Puente” indicate the strong Latin influences, and Latin percussion and dance rhythms are prominently featured in the group’s music. Bassist Paul Meader, who provides tasteful accompaniment and well-conceived contrapuntal solos, ably supports Nolan’s skillful and imaginative playing. Both are given plenty of room to stretch out on the eight-minute “Song For Carolyn” and the Beatlesque “Friar Park,” composed in honor of George Harrison. (Harrison was an early champion of RNT and often books the trio to entertain in his home.)

For those of us with a taste for jazz that still has le joie de vivre, this is an album for you, full of romance and refinement.

Good jazz ain’t dead, it’s where you find it.


Track Listing: Mediterranean Blues, Friar Park, Song For Carolyn, And Then There Were Three, Luna Tango, Bar Del Pi, From The Banks Of The Odra, Bolero Blue, El Puente, Trouble In Paradise, Where Do We Go From Here?

Personnel: Robin Nolan-solo guitar, Paul Meader-bass, Kevin Nolan-rhythm guitar, Jan P. Brouwer-rhythm guitar, Nema Lopes-percussion

Title: Mediterranean Blues | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Refined Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Of The Musical" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Musical
by Paul Naser
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "8th Window" CD/LP/Track Review 8th Window
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Reflections in Cosmo" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections in Cosmo
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations" CD/LP/Track Review Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Live In The South Bronx" CD/LP/Track Review Live In The South Bronx
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 31, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.