With taste is subjective certain sub genres of jazz are better thought of as perhaps guides despite being
a musical oxymoron. After all musicians from all over the globe make music so World Music is a bit redundant. Urban Bratsch is the finest in what was previously thought of as French Gypsy jazz merging with a slightly more global audience. Think of Bratsch as Stephane Grappelli on steroids. A world view of Quintette du Hot Club de France but with an even more eclectic spin. After a successful twenty six year run with the same lineup some changes were made as double bassist Pierre Jacquet took his final bow and was replaced by Theo Girad.
There has been a successful and organic metamorphosis with the sound of Bratsch as evident by the hints of Arabic influences on "Fuego." This particular tune will still appeal to the French Gypsy jazz aficionado but the presentation is more free form as the violin and clarinet engage in their version of the more western call and response associated with the improvised music we refer to as jazz. The accordion of "Fuego" is pure texture. "Cliches" is a harmonic adventure in shifting meter without a net and a more syncopated pop of vitality. While the pace on Urban Bratsch can border on the blistering there is a more wistful ballad "Pharizm" which showcases intimacy, emotion and depth in a most engaging fashion. The sonic roots of this release run deep while pulling from a plethora of influences including Eastern Europe, Armenia and Southern Italy despite the majority of the work having been composed in Paris.
While never delving deep into this wonderfully diverse mix of organic layers and musical textures, there is something about Urban Bratsch that keeps bringing me back for more. A delightful French bohemian flavor that is simply captivating. There are vocals on this release and while not speaking a word of French, the words and music seemed to transcend all apparent culture barriers.
An absolutely stunning release of originality and virtuosity of performers that will hopefully continue another twenty six years.
Tracks: Sirba din joc de constanca / hora; Scetate; Fuego; Dans le ciel de ma rue; Ska fonce; On peut toujours rever; Rer c; Intro garo; La bonne aventure; Carambole; La fiancee du pirate; Cliches; Malakoff; Pharizm; Siyale; Katunsko horo.
Personnel: Francois Castiello: accordian; Dan Gharibian: guitar, vocals; Bruno Girard violin, vocals; Nano Peylet: clarinet, vocals.