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Hugh Coltman: Who's Happy?

Angelo Leonardi By

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Trasferitosi a Parigi nel 1999 dopo la separazione dal gruppo rock blues The Hoax, il cantante inglese Hugh Coltman ha realizzato una carriera solista con varie collaborazioni (tra cui quella col pianista Eric Legnini e le cantanti Krystle Warren, Vanessa Paradis e Mayra Andrade) più un temporaneo ritorno con la vecchia band.

In terra transalpina incontra un ottimo successo come ha dimostrato il suo precedente disco dedicato alle canzoni Nat "King" Cole (Shadow Songs of Nat King Cole, La Planque 2014). Da allora Coltman ha mostrato maggior interesse per il jazz (ricordiamo una collaborazione con Erik Truffaz) ed opera in quella terra di confine con il pop e il soul che va di moda oggi.

Who's Happy va in questa direzione focalizzando l'attenzione per gli aromi jazzistici di New Orleans: jazz tradizionale, soul, blues, riferimenti ritmici ai Caraibi. Come il precedente su Nat Cole, anche quest'album è stato realizzato in collaborazione col chitarrista Freddy Koella (già con Bob Dylan, Willy DeVille, Dr. John e altri).

Gli autori hanno dichiarato di ispirarsi anche ai Los Cubanos Postizos di Marc Ribot, a Rubén González e alle atmosfere di Swordfishtrombones di Tom Waits ma di questo per la verità non c'è molto. La musica resta sul piano epidermico, con suggestioni che delle musiche afro-americane prendono la forma, più che la pregnanza espressiva. Tutti i brani —eccetto un paio-sono scritti da Hugh Coltman, che s'esprime con voce gradevole e buon gusto. Abbiamo apprezzato in particolare l'impronta soul di ”Resignation Letter” e la ballad ”Lady Bird”.

Track Listing: Civvy Street; Sugar Coated Pill; The Sinner; It's Your Voodoo Working; Ladybird; New Park Street; Hand Me Downs; All Slips Away; Resignation Letter; Sleep Late; Little Big Man.

Personnel: Hugh Coltman: voice; Freddy Koella: guitars, mandolin, violin, claps; David Torkanowski: piano, wurlitzer, hammond; Gael Rakotondrabé: piano; James Singleton, Sylvain Romano: upright bass; Raphaël Chassin: drums, percussions; Ray Moore: clarinet, saxophones; Frédéric Couderc: clarinet; David Boswell: trumpet; Rick Tolsen & Jerry Edwards: trombone; Matt Perrine: sousaphone, upright bass; Sweetie Carter, Yadonna Wes, Krystle Warren & Melissa Laveaux: voice; Caroline Fontanieu: claps.

Title: Who's Happy? | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Okeh

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