Gypsy jazz has had a resurgence of late with Hot Club bands and Django Reinhardt-style guitar strummers and pickers popping up in major cities world-wide. Philadelphia boasts one of the hottest of these bands Hot Club of Philadelphia. More than a Django cover band, this group adds a gypsy twist to a multitude of tunes including those from the Great American Songbook on their CD Wrap Your Trouble In Dreams.
Led by a master of the genre, guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig, this band pulls from many talented Philadelphia area musicians including Joe Ellis playing pleasing percussive guitar rhythms behind Wahrhaftig's blazing notes. Joe Arnold on violin and Bob Butryn on clarinet round out the gypsy style with Jim Stager's bass keeping time.
Wahrhaftig is a master at his craft. Playing on a reproduction of Django's Manouche guitar manufactured by English guitar maker Belleville, he glides seamlessly along the fret board making his playing seem effortless. Yet playing that many notes in a measure is anything but effortless; rather it is the mark of an experienced, well-practiced and well-studied musician who has a deep love for this music.
Highlights on this CD include Denise King's beautiful, clear voice on the standards "Someone To Watch Over Me," "Nature Boy," and the title song "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams." The Reinhardt tune "Nuages" is passionately sung by Phyllis Chapell and the band faithfully waltzes through Reinhardt's "Chez Jacquet."
In a tribute to one of his guitar heroes,Wes Montgomery, Wahrhaftig ends the CD with a beautiful solo of the standard "While We Were Young." based on a Montgomery arrangement. It is a fitting ending to a highly listenable CD highlighting multiple talented musicians from the Philadelphia jazz scene.
Track Listing: Song d’Automne; Exactly Like You; La Gitane; Someone to Watch Over Me;
Tchavolo Swing; Nuages; Nature Boy; You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To;
Chez Jacquet; Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams; While We’re Young
Personnel: Joe Ellis, guitar; Bob Butryn, clarinet; Jim Stager, bass; Barry
Wahrhaftig, guitar; Joe Arnold, violin; John Matulis, accordion,
Howard Alden, guitar; Denise King, vocals; Alex Siniavski, guitar; Phyllis Chapell, vocals; Rick Yescalis,
guitar; Carlos Rubio, flamenco guitar; Bob Butryn, flute; George
Manney, conga; Stan Slotter, trumpet; Dave Cianci, trombone
I love jazz because it's sophisticated, international, atmospheric yet free, cool and warm.
I was first exposed to jazz through the sultry voice and flawless swing of my mother.
I met Mark Murphy, David Linx, Kurt Elling, and Youn Sun Nah.
The best show I ever attended was Youn Sun Nah in Paris.
The first jazz record I bought was Native Dancer by Wayne Shorter and Milton Nascimento
My advice to new listeners: open your mind and your ears, forget about structure, feel the textures.
Go see live music and keep buying CDs!