CD review – Entre Ciel et Terre

December 12, 2006

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This is the latest CD from Angelo Debarre and Ludovic Beier which was released in October 2006. You will probably have read my reviews of their previous studio CDs Entre Amis and Come Into My Swing and know how excellent those are. This one continues that very high standard and perhaps even raises it. many of the tunes are more arranged than on the previous CDs with some very inventive twists to familiar tunes. The CD leaps into life with ‘Caravan’ taken at a cracking pace. Less familiar Django tunes, such as Rue Vingt-Six and Hungaria, get outings and there is a version of Donna Lee taken at a speed approaching that of light. All the playing is top notch but there is a passage in Ludovic Beier’s solo on Django’s Tiger which I play over and over again trying to convince myself it’s true – it sounds as though the accordian has taken off by itself and everyone else is tryng to catch up yet it is also completely musical. My only slight reservation is that Angelo Debarre is listed as playing all guitars (except for one track where his youngest son plays rhythm guitar) which means there must be a fair amount of multi-tracking in the studio, something I don’t feel is right for this type of music, but if I hadn’t read the sleeve notes I don’t think I would have noticed.

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CD review – Come Into My Swing by Angelo Debarre & Ludovic Beier

November 4, 2006

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This CD chronologically came before Entre Amis but I heard it later. Usually a review of ‘more of the same’ might be thought damning but here it is the highest of praise because it means that it is a CD of some of the best gypsy jazz guitar and accordeon playing around. Once again it is a simple line up of lead guitar, accordeon, rhythm guitar and double bass but the playing is anything but simple. There is a good mixture of Django standards and original compositions, the latter being so good that there is no noticeable difference as you listen though the tracks. Some highlights for me were What is This Thing Called Love (with the bebop head Hothouse tagged on the end) and a very spritely rendition of Stomping at Decca. Highly recommended.


CD review – Entre Amis by Angelo Debarre & Ludovic Beier

November 2, 2006

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This is a very hot gypsy jazz CD. Everyone I have played it to have been completely blown away by the playing and have wondered why they have never heard of Ludovic Beier (most have heard something of Angelo Debarre). The band is a straight gypsy jazz lineup with Angelo Debarre on lead guitar, Ludovic Beier on button accordeon, with two rhythm guitars and a double bass. The tunes are mainly gypsy jazz standards (Douce Ambiance, Yeux Noirs, Troublant Bolero, China Boy) with a few originals including solo tracks by each of the lead musicians. Angelo Debarre is on excellent form as usual playing anything from blisteringly fast swing through to ballads with a beautiful solid tone and clear articulation. I had not heard Ludovic Beier until this CD and he is a complete revelation, I have never heard an accordeon played like this. He too can play at amazing speed but the thing I was most impressed with was his thematic development in solos – taking a little motif and carrying it through a number of different chords changes. When trading 4s and 8s with he appears to be able to reproduce anything that Angelo plays at will. These players are astonishing virtuosos who never lose sight of the fact that they are playing music – very highly recommended


CD review – Source Manouche by Marcel Loeffler

October 24, 2006

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It is always worth going back to a CD which on first listening doesn’t appeal. I bought this CD because there was link to it on Amazon from other Bireli Lagrene CDs I had been viewing. It was a busy day and I just selected the two tracks with Bireli and listened to those, they were good but they were accordion and electric guitar as a duo and they weren’t in the mainstream gypsy jazz style. I rather forgot about the CD until a couple of weeks ago when I was tidying up our house and I found it again, I put it on and listened whilst I went about my work. There are a rather eclectic selection of tunes and styles (a vocalist singing ‘Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho’ anyone?) but there are many great gypsy jazz tracks with some great playing by Marcel Loeffler on accordeon and Yorgui Loeffler on lead guitar, with many other Loefflers on rhythm guitars. Marcel Loeffler is a new player to me and it is always good to find another virtuosic button accordeon player to listen to.