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Tcha Limberger - Herman Schamp: Guitar Duo: Standards

Raul d'Gama Rose By

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Sometimes it takes people a few extra revolutions of the earth to catch onto the art of certain musicians. The stunning repertoire of the young Gypsy multi-instrumentalist and composer, Tcha Limberger is a case in point. A prodigious talent from his very early years, when he performed with the family band Di Piotto's, Limberger has made waves with his mature artistry on guitar and violin, as well as with his sensitive vocals. His last two albums for the British label Lejazzetal—Bura Termett Ido (2009), by Tcha Limberger's Gypsy Orchestra, followed by the path-breaking A Hajnali Csillag Ragyog: Laments, Czardas and Szaporas from the Transylvanian region of Kalotaszeg (2009), by Tcha Limberger's Kalotaszeg Trio—created a stir in European artistic circles. Although the geographical isolation of America may account for the limited recognition of Limberger's genius, added to that the fact that Gypsy, Hungarian and Transylvanian music may be confined to aficionados of the music of Béla Bartók.

However, with Standards, Limberger combines the Gypsy repertoire of Django Reinhardt with the American songbook. In these seven duets with Holland's legendary classical and jazz guitarist, Herman Schamp, the two musicians take the melodies apart, remaking them in stunning new fashion. The near-ceaseless improvisations on classic songs such as Jimmy McHugh's "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," Joseph Kosma's "Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves)" and the Reinhardt classic, "Nuages" are simply staggering. Kosma's tune, "Clair de Lune" has its melody all but recast anew, and it is the flutter of occasional oblique phrasing that gives the song its original shape. In fact there are times when it would appear that the guitarists create from one brain, so attuned are they to each other. But something elemental sets each guitarist apart from the other.

Limberger's accents are soulful and come from his vernacular. The inflections are subtle. Notes are elastic, and bent to suit deeply felt emotions. His phrases are far from linear, and leap like mythical beings from peak to peak, sometimes plunging into musical troughs that mimic the earth's stupendous topography. Schamp is more statuesque in his approach to the songs, yet his choice of notes borders on the spiritual. His expression and dynamic is like a force of nature that rises and falls in counterpoint to Limberger's. The result is two voices entwined like a double-helix, pirouetting as each sighs with ponderous feeling and shrieks with unfettered joy.

Perhaps Standards' most fascinating aspect is the way it unfolds. Songs seem to unfurl like diaphanous fabrics, as the melodies and harmonies are woven with special attention to sound and silence. This is a formidable album that takes on the tried and most tested avenue of the Art of the Standard, and breaks new ground in its approach to melody and harmony in a truly memorable fashion.

Track Listing: Blues en Mineur; Claire de Lune; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Les Feuilles Mortes; Sweet Chorus; Douce Ambiance; Nuages.

Personnel: Tcha Limberger: guitar; Herman Schamp: guitar.

Title: Standards | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced

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