just arrived from djangobooks yesterday. what an incredible work of art. the playing has been elevated to new levels, and having stochelo on the record is very grounding from the nouveau playing that dominates the other tracks. its nice to have the new turks showing their respect to the old masters. although i have to say it was a touch of a let down that he decided to record tears since he just did it with bireli on the Djangologists album and embraceable you which was recorded with the trio. i would have liked some fresh songs selections from stochelo, but his playing on the 2 tracks is royalty and undeniable.
all of the guys are in their best form, and benoit convert is a great addition the crew. the stuff he has been doing with olivier kikteff and les doigts de l'homme is incredible. (i dont know if anyone knows about that group yet, but everyone should. they have a new album coming out this year as well...) in any case, his arrangement of chick corea's spain is fresh and exciting, almost like hearing a completely new song with a very familiar melodic motif and his take on the richard galliano waltz for nicky rocks.
the bonus tracks are great but i am sure that, as with the last album, the chanson stylings of david gastine will most likely be viewed as the weakest track offering.
there are a few elements that i miss from the first album that seem to not be present here. for one, there is no big gun swing tune from django's repertoire.
anouman is there, but this is of course a slow (but gorgeous) ballad. and there are quite a few slow songs. these guys can swing hard and i was a bit disappointed that they dont have more fast tunes. although the opening blue moon, and love for sale are fantastic and exemplify that new paris swing sound that these guys are producing. i appreciate the fact that they are taking the music in a new direction and the arrangements of jazz tunes show their inventiveness and incredible originality.
speaking of originality, the original tracks by richard manetti (who killed it last year at djangofest NW) are compelling and full of soul and to hear him play with his little bro is pretty sweet too. and the track "wee" by noe reinhardt again showcases his playful and positive style of playing. his playing always seems like it comes from such a happy place. not as brooding as adrien and sebastien. not to take anything away from them, because to me, it is a coin toss between them on who i ultimately enojoy hearing the best.
for me the high point of all the tracks is the ravel piece played and arranged by sebastien. what a monumental piece of musical beauty. you will be hard pressed to find a more amazing track of music anywhere let alone in this genre.
the 2 disk package is slick and artfully done. its nice to have some video along with it, even though most of the footage has already been available on the selmer 607 youtube page for the last few months.
the bummer about the video is the fact that there are no subtitles (or at least none that i could find). i was expecting subtitles to be honest. i would have bought the bonus issue anyway if i would have known up front, but it was disappointing to find out the hard way.
all in all i would rate this 5 out of 5 if that is the rating system we use here on djangobooks. incredible playing, great sound and recording quality is fantastic, and the vibe of these dudes is so consistent and exciting and the addition of stochelo is much welcomed.
i am looking forward to having this on constant repeat for about a month straight.
if you dont have this yet, get it.