CD review by Tony Smith
TN2507-89 – $20
TN155 Apr 23
This is a very classy jazz/swing ensemble.
The trio Kathy Bluff (violin), Paul Burjan (flute, saxophones) and Peter Malone (guitars) share the vocal work.
For this album, they are joined by John Conley (double bass), Tony Keep (drums, percussion) and Garry Steel (accordion and keyboards).
The 14 tracks on this album were mainly arranged by the trio with Amanda Jones assisting on two tracks.
There are several Django Reinhardt tracks – ‘Nuages’, ‘Daphne’, ‘Djangology’, ‘Douce Ambience’ and ‘Swing 42’, and Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli composed ‘Minor Swing’.
There is a Cole Porter – ‘Night and Day’ – as well as Duke Ellington and Bob Russell’s ‘Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me’.
Other track include ‘I Can’t give you Anything but Love’ by prolific songwriters Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, ‘Stomping at the Savoy’ by Edgar Sampson, Chick Webb, Benny Goodman and Andy Razaf, ‘Noto Swing’ by Lulu Reinhardt, who seems not to be related to Django, and ‘O Pato’ by Jayme Silva and Neuza Teixiera.
In this company, Sting’s ‘Fields of Gold’ seems a little odd but it is a happy track for the ending.
While the emphasis in this album is on sophisticated ensemble playing, each of the trio has awesome instrumental abilities.
Kathy Bluff puts in the swing on her fretless violin and her husky voice expresses the melancholy perfectly, Peter Malone does a great job setting the rhythm with those jazz chords on guitar and Paul Burjan’s flute and sax wind in and around the melody superbly.
This is one of the best albums you will come across in this genre which has some internationally famous exponents.
Chasing the Moon can hold their heads up and be proud of Nuages.
CD review by Chris Blanchflower
This is one amazing band. The music is so fresh and totally unlike the general run of manouche/Hot Club/Django revival & memorial outfits around at the moment…
The reed player is stunning, as is the violin player, and both manage to capture the flavour of Rostaing and Grappelli, respectively without falling into the trap of becoming overly reverential and both are fine jazz soloists with distinctive styles that are as individual as a fingerprint (and the reed player’s approach is quite different on each instrument)…
I love the guitar playing…it’s so hard to get out of Django’s shadow on this kind of music and still stay within the style of music…but this has been managed effortlessly. This comes over particularly clearly in the guitar solo in track 2, where the tone and phrasing is so different to that of most players in this style, but sounds just right.
Finally, the arrangements (the vocals in particular) are fresh, and original and provide just the right framework to let everyone shine.
In summary, a great record from a great band.