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MP3 Havana Swing - Django's Lion

Fiery Gypsy Jazz Guitar in the Hot Club De France tradition

14 MP3 Songs in this album (44:10) !
Related styles: JAZZ: Jazz Vocals, JAZZ: Gypsy Jazz

People who are interested in Django Reinhardt Biréli Lagrène Angelo Debarre should consider this download.

Hailing from Dundee, Scotland, Havana Swing has been "delighting audiences since 1986." The quintette, featuring three guitars, a bass, and the sweet sound of a clarinet, is reminiscent of Django Reinhardt''s war time line up.

The first thing I thought of when I heard Havana Swing was, "Wow, these guys are really in the pocket!" Their selection of Django compositions, as well as Romane and Tchavalo pieces are flawlessly executed. What sets these guys apart, however, are their original compositions. Composed by Bassist and vocalist, Calum McKenzie, numbers like Hotel Du Palais Pour Pam, Uncle Frank, and The Fifth Man exhibit not only fantastic musicianship and musicality, but a penetrating cognition of the method in which songs were composed in the 1920''a and 30''s.

1. Alors Voila!: A Tchavolo Schmitt number that is brought in slightly lesser tempo than Mr. Schmitt put on his own CD Alors Voila!, but not with less fervour. Nice changes between clarinet and guitar solo’s with a backing of strong guitar pulse and a wonderful bass.
2. Hotel du palais de Pam: A composition by Calum, written during a gig in the palace hotel in Aberfeldy, hence the naming. It starts up with a beautiful mysterious clarinet after which the band comes to life. The guitar player is very confident and proves this time and again. The amount of echo behind the clarinet is sufficient. The band is really well played in which shows at the right times that silence is invoked, The end takes a nice bit of downward chromatic run.
3. Anouman: A Django tune with a short intro by the clarinet overtaken by the guitar. Beautiful long bass lines rhythm pieces in Django shuffle to make it a bit suspenseful but soft enough to remain following the lead.
4. Sweet Sue: What surprise, voicing by Alain. This Harris and Young tune is dedicated here to Walts’ daughter Suzanne. Alain has an easily appreciated voice, that makes this a song, nice to listen to.
5. Minor Swing: This about best known piece by Django Reinhardt starts out with clarinet which is followed up by guitar. They rotate at the verses in a pleasant way. Near to the end the guitar attack is stronger, almost Alfonso Ponticelli like, thus louder, but it is the topping of the cake.
6. Djangology: Django’s tune with Walt on solo. The clarinet is played very nicely almost velvet like, whereas the guitar solo is performed in an almost Nolanesque way. The band moves very good together. It seems like they do this for years already, yet this is the first CD to reach us. (although they made one before: Django Ecossais, so if you´re interested. . .I know I am.)
7. Montagne Ste. Genevieve: also a tune by Django. Ashley has a very nice and slow solo, sometimes he runs ahead of the rhythm, but always finds it back in time. The tremolo is sensitive to say the least.
8. Gypsy Fire: a tune by Romane, sounds good and everyone is on tempo this time. The by now well known interaction between guitar and clarinet is performed as it should. Again the Django shuffle is used to enhance the suspense, like Robin Nolan showed us. In this particular song you’d say there were two guitarists soloing in turn.
9. Black and Blue: by Razaf and Waller, is a nice jazzy tune with Walt performing on the clarinet like Mr. Ackerbilk himself. The number ends surprisingly with the theme from Gershwin’s Rhapsody in blue.
10. Tchavolo Swing: from TS himself lets you hear a guitar solo by John. They hit it on the button when they start out and the band once again shows how well they are played in.
11. East of the Sun: a Bowman tune, lets Calum not only play the double bass but also sing for a change. His velvet voice reaches out to you. He reminds me of Jarrod Coombs of the group Hullabaloo (incidentally also a singing bass player). Once more the guys show us how well the sound together.
12. Uncle Frank: is a tune that Calum has written for his uncle. It has a slow start just to pick up the rhythm. This clarinet player has a very long breath.
13. Si tu savais: again a tune of Django’s, is brought to us as it should. John has an invigorating solo and places some really nice accents in which he very adequately adjusts the volume to the tune at the proper times.
14. The fifth man: a bonus track, but what a bonus: Invitee George Carmichael is invited in on his accordion. This virtuoso plays background and solo as no other (however he reminds me of Gert Wantenaar with Jan Brouwer and Reinier Voet in Pigalle 39) The tune lets me think of Patrick Saussois´ Alma Sinti in his CD La Roulotte. And although it is a composition by Calum McKenzie himself I must applaud him for making such an easy to listen to song. It shows great marksmanship to make a new tune and on hearing it make everyone think they already know it. Even Lollo Meier

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