Just received the new Moreno CD. As an avid Moreno fan, I've heard every recording (public and private) that he's on and I'm actually pretty knocked out on this new CD. Based sort of on the private recording he released with his wife Marina Kortchinskaïa on vocals (Marina is a Russian Gypsy who moved to Paris in the early '90's, she is a cousin of the Demeters) is good, but still pretty lo-fi (despite the decent sound quality) and captures Moreno is all his live glory - bold, fiery and full of testosterone. This album is altogether different.
While not one to be accused of being shy, Moreno's style is much more restrained, the artist still burns, but he seems much more relaxed, focused on (for him), melody and feel, especially on "Nuages". His tone, normally harsh and abrasive is very pleasant and in the eyes of this writer better than his tone on "Bolero", which was stymied by his aggressive right hand. The band is Moreno's working outfit of Stevie Demeter and Stephane "Pichto" on Bass (who previously recored with Moreno on his first album "Yochka".
The playlist with "Minor Swing", "Nuages", "Japanese Sandman", "Tiger Rag" and "Swing Valse" is pretty generic, but a previously unreleased waltz by Tchan-Tchou, performed by Moreno (obviously) which once and for all ends the debate of who the real "King of The Waltzes" was. "Just a Gigolo" (further tribute to Tchan-Tchou) is taken as a Gypsy Samba and very nicely done. As I've mentioned on this site before, Moreno's style is the perfect synthesis of Tchan-Tchou & Bousquet meets Alsace and when adding Marina's ethnic vocals create a very intoxicating package. "Luludia", a Moreno original, "Moreno Swing", "Maré Djiné", "Valse à Chwetzingen" and "Les Fenêtres de Moscou" are all dynamite.
I'll end this by writing that there are few Gypsy Jazz CD's that I'm willing to actually listen to, let alone spend my money on, and this CD is one of those few. This is Moreno's best CD of his fairly profilic career, and is one of the best CD's released this year.
Michael - Stock it, everyone else - Buy it.