In a celebration of the music of Django Reinhardt, Biréli Lagrène uses his virtuostic technique to interpret classic songs from several different jazz eras. The album's title track, by Denzil Best, was one of bebop's early anthems. Reinhardt originals recall the swing tradition that the gypsy guitarist espoused, while fresh originals honor his memory with a personal nod.
"Move" places the quartet in an up-tempo meeting of the minds. Lagrène and saxophonist Frank Wolf improvise at length over the tune's basic theme with their hands on fire. Rhythm guitar and double bass provide in-step support as Lagrène and Wolf churn the waters of improvisation. "Cherokee" moves at a fiery pace with similar results. On soprano, Wolf sparkles with lightning-fast speed, while Lagrène's fingers move in a blur of animated motion. Their cohesive rapport provides a tight sequence of events.
Slow ballads such as Reinhardt's "Nuages" and his "Danse Norvégienne" allow their melodies to float gently. Lagrène's quartet captures the essence of Django Reinhardt completely, as the foursome reaches inside and brings out heartfelt passion. The emphasis, of course, is on the virtuosity of lead guitarist Lagrène and saxophonist Wolf. Because they've chosen to reform the Gipsy Project as a quartet, their sound proves light, mellow, and swinging. The combination of genuine passion for Reinhardt's music and the artists' virtuosic displays makes Move a real winner. Highly recommended, it's bound to affect our readers similarly, with a high regard for what jazz can do for your soul.
Track Listing: Un Certain je ne Sais Quoi; Melodie au Cr
Personnel: Bireli Lagrene- guitar; Frank Wolf- alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Diego Imbert- bass; Homo Winterstein- guitar.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.