Les Doigts de L’Homme – 1910

Les Doigts de l’Homme’s latest album will bring you right back to the year 1910, as its title suggests. That year, a gypsy boy named Django Reinhardt was born. It took him less than 25 years to revolutionize the world of jazz and become a legend of the guitar, creating a new mix between American jazz and the traditional gypsy music of his community.
Now, the band is going go back to the roots of this music fusion. The album celebrates the 100th anniversary of Django Reinhardt’s birth, offering six covers of his songs, three new songs and eight covers of other traditional songs.
With no singing, this album is only dedicated to the purest tradition and expression of the style: improvisation. The solos will leave your ears and your brain awestruck and your mouth speechless. The speed in the interpretation is completely unbelievable, and the swinging accompaniment of the second guitar and the double bass will make your feet stamp.
The highlights of this album lie in the wonderful arrangement and interpretation of the waltz standard “Indifférence,” and the ballad “Russian Melody.” Standards like “I’ve Found a New Baby” or “Minor Swing,” are well executed and refreshed, and make for great listening.
However, the album tracks are uneven in length. During some tunes, the soloist seems to loose track of the melody, preferring to expose his technical virtuosity. If this trick works during two songs, you’ll then be overwhelmed by the hundreds of notes bombarding your ears non-stop.
In a nutshell, this album is certainly a good record and should please jazz lovers. That being said, the overwhelming virtuosity and the lack of melody highlights could be criticized, and lose your attention. If you are new to the style, your best pick might be to start with a best of the legend himself, Django Reinhardt. (Alma records, www.almarecords.com) Simon Delacroix

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