|2013 Pigalle RecordsPersonnel; Reinier Voet- solo guitar, Jelle van Tongeren-violin, Jan Brouwer-rhythm guitar, Jet Stevens-double bass
2013 Pigalle Records
Tracks; 1. La Cordonnìere, 2. Valse de L’ivresse, 3. Minor Swing, 4. My Room, 5. Swing 49,
6. Pour Joseph, 7. La Déesse, 8.Danse Norvégienne, 9. Bossa Boldini, 10. Abandon,
11. Songe d’automne, 12. Vamp, 13 Pèche à La Mouche
Reviewed by Barry Wahrhaftig
There’s a quick back-story to this review; I was jamming with some friends, [new and old], in the town square in Samois-Sur-Seine. I was there for the Django Reinhardt Festival last June.I had met some old friends, and we were jamming in front of Django’s house, [with some new friends from many lands]. A woman came out of another house, and asked us if we wanted to play for drinks and food at the Bakery in town, at the invitation of the Mayor. We of course said oui! I dubbed the group the ‘International House of Django Band,’ it included my pals Irene Ypenburg, Lou DePietro and singer/songwriter Andrea Carlson, and folks from Israel, France and Holland.
After many songs and beers, we took a break, and we heard some wonderful sounds coming from a nearby table. So after a few songs, I figure out that the fellow playing lead is Reinier Voet, and the singer-guitarist is none other than Titi Bamberger, [AKA The unofficial ‘Mayor,’ Of Samoreau campgrounds]! * So after some introductions, and more rounds of beer and songs, Reinier gave me a copy of Pigalle44’s new CD. I enjoyed it greatly, playing it on the boom-box back at my room. [My apologies to Reinier for not reviewing it sooner, and thanks to Jan Brouwer for reminding me to ‘take care of business’]! BTW, his rhythm guitar playing is top-shelf, the band is super-tight,kudos to Jet Stevens, also!
The recording shows off some nice arranging chops by Reinier, and also violinist van Tongeren. The performances are very strong, and the selections are a nice balance of original material and standards. The CD starts off with a swinger penned by Voet called ‘La cordonnìere,’ [The Cobbler]. The intro is a quick wink at Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze,’ [but with an added Bb on top the iconic E7#9], [that got my attention right away]! The piece has more unexpected twists and turns than the narrow alleys and cobblestone streets of the old Latin Quarter of Paris. Nice solos by Voet and van Tongeren, and there’s a cool Gypsy folk dance like rit. and accelerando, towards the end. Even a piece as familiar as ‘Minor Swing,’ is re-imagined, starting with an off-beat reworking of the theme beginning on an F Major 7th chord. This isn’t the version you’ll hear at the Sunday jam! Voet and V.T. demonstrate their knowledge of Django and Grappelli’s recordings, with their own modern influences added. The additional sections, with their shifting tonal centers started to remind me a bit of M.C. Escher’s famous paintings. [Just when you think you know where the cadence is , it shifts unexpectedly].
‘Swing 49,’ [another Voet original], begins with an out-of-tempo Phygrian-Flamenco, intro. It’s followed by a swinging theme, with some interesting pedal point sections. Additional high points; the reworking of ‘Songe d’Automne,’ [a personal favorite], Voet’s unaccompanied playing on his original ‘Pour Joseph,’ and the vibe and playing on the lesser known [later] Reinhardt composition ‘Vamp.’ On the classic ‘Songe d’Automne,’ [Autumn daydream], they start out with a descending bit using Ebma7-Dma7 over a G Pedal to set up melody in Cminor. The main theme is re-harmonized, and the solo section has guitar and violin improvising ‘alone together,’ if you will, [without bass and rhythm guitar], in countrapuntal fashion. Fapy Lafertin, would probably say this was all rather ‘clever,’ and I would agree, that’s a good word. We don’t say things are ‘clever,’ so much here, [or if you are English; 'brill,' or 'brilliant.']
I’d give this very close to five out of five stars. Great performances, by all. The interplay between van Tongeren and Voet really make this recording quite special. Voet plays his 1979 Di Mauro Model Jazz 2, on all but one cut, and he’s one of those players [like Dorado, Angelo, Stochelo etc.], where everything he does sounds wonderful; chords, solos, melodies, etc. The mark of a great player, like any Jazz Giant, is they can affect you with just their sound and touch on the instrument. [My only wish is one that I voice often; a guest vocal or two, or even an additional guest instrumentalist would be cool, even on a few tracks. Always nice for a vocal, I think, but that’s just me]. It would be really cool if Reinier would consider publishing some of his arrangements and compositions, [hint, hint]! Support these fine folks by buying the CD, go to their shows, etc. This is our near sacred duty, to share the sacraments, if you will.
High marks for cover layout and detailed liner notes, including a mini-review by Michael Dregni. They used a Kick-starter like deal to fund the project, and also thanked Christo Rupenthal of DjangoShirts fame, http://www.DjangoShirts.com. Visit Reinier’s page to hear samples of the tracks, and order the CD, etc; http://www.pigalle44.nl/
* Titi Bamberger will be touring the US Sept-Oct 2013, including stops in Chicago, NYC, and a gig on Oct 6, in Philly with the Hot Club of Philadelphia. See his Face Book page for info. I’ll post details for his Phila area show here; www.HotClubPhilly.com