Ludovic Beier – DjangoBrasil – Le Chant du Monde 274 1733, 51.7 min. [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:
(Ludovic Beier, accordion/accordina/voice; Samson Schmitt, solo guitar; Thierry Moncheny, guitar; Matthieu Guillemant, percussion)
Seeing the title of this new jazz CD I knew I had to audition it. At the same time I received a news release about another new jazz CD mixing bossa nova and bluegrass. I can’t imagine what that will sound like but I could imagine the sound of this album and I knew I would dig it because gypsy jazz and Brazilian music are high on my list of personal favorites.
Jazz accordionist Beier is something like Richard Galliano, except that Galliano has been mixing gypsy jazz with tango influences more than Brazilian. Beier – though based in Paris – has spent time in New York City playing with Ivan Lins, Eliane Elias, Oscar Castro Neves and other Brazilians. He also got a guitarist in Moncheny and percussionist in Guillemant well-versed in Brazilian music performance. And his exceptional solo guitar is an up-and-coming Manouche guitarist carrying on the traditions of Django. His solos light up several of the tracks.
The note-writer discusses the similarity of Reinhardt’s melodic and harmonic writing to bossa nova, and how he dug playing with American musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie doing Afro-Cuban, as well as his frequent playing of the Barroso classic “Brazil.” The writer classifies the 14 tracks on this disc as what might be called “the Brazilianisation of Django’s themes.” I would say they’re about 3/4 Django and 1/4 Brazilian; nearly all the tune titles are Django classics – there are no bossa nova tunes. On Minor Swing, Beier reminded me strongly of the wonderful Brazilian accordionist Sivuca. Great fun all around!
TrackList: Nuages, Nuits de St.-Sermain-des-Prés, Montagne St.-Genevieve, Anouman, Daphné, Minor swing, Manoir de mes reves, Dinette, Impromptu, Little dreams, Rhyme futur, Vamp, Django’s tiger, Brasil.
– John Henry