Angelo Debarre – Live in Paris (2011)

by | May 10, 2011 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Angelo Debarre – Live in Paris (2011)

Onstage during Festival Les Nuits Manouches at Alhambra Theater
Performers: Angelo Debarre, acoustic & electric guitars; Tchavolo Hassan, rhythm guitar; Antonio Licusati, doublebass; Marius Apostol, violin (last 3 numbers)
Program: Le Vieux tsigane; Swing chez Toto; Entre Amis; Manege; La Manouche; Troublant Bolero; Hungaria; My Serenade; Micro; Vous et moi; Crazy Rhythm; Appel Indirect
Studio: FCM/Le Chant du Monde 974 1743 (Distr. by Harmonia mundi) [5/10/11]
Video: 16:9 color
Audio: DD 5.1
All regions
Length: 49 minutes
Rating: ****1/2

Craggy Debarre may look sort of like a gypsy version of the Fonz, but he is one of the world’s top guitarists in the manouche gypsy jazz style associated with the great Django Reinhardt. He started playing guitar at age eight and started his quintet in 1984. He spoke in an interview of the important place music occupied in the gypsy community: “In any gathering of 300 to 400 caravans there is no shortage of music.”  He has played in many important Romani and jazz festivals in Europe.  His CD with Tchavolo Schmitt, Memories of Django, is one of his best known. Debarre is also an expert on the gypsy music of Eastern Europe.

This video is not totally state of the art in either video or audio but well worth seeing for fans of gypsy jazz guitar. The stage lighting is a bit heavy toward the reddish end, and the 5.1 surround is not really used much – it probably was originally a stereo track mixed to 5.1 for the DVD. Debarre’s playing is absolutely breathtaking – his fingers fly around the strings with supersonic speed and precision. It often doesn’t seem humanly possible that such close coordination of pushing down the strings and picking them with the other hand could be achieved at those speeds.

The program opens with five originals composed by Debarre, followed by four of the many tunes composed by Django himself.  When violinist Apostol joins the trio for the last three tracks, things really swing.  Only for the final selection does Debarre turn to the electric guitar. The concert is a bit short, unfortunately.

 — John Sunier

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