ARK 21 Records
The quintet Paris Combo takes the French chanson tradition and gives it a distinctly cosmopolitan twist. The group-whose members hail from France, Australia and Madagascar-draws heavily from traditional cabaret and Django Reinhardt-
influenced Gypsy swing, although it also mixes Latin and Eastern European elements into a coolly sophisticated, uniquely multicultural hybrid.
Each track on the group's latest album, Attraction, is performed with a great deal of elan. Just try to sit still during the infectiously swinging "Mais Que Fait La NASA?" or the title track, whose effervescent Gypsy spirit is complemented by singer Belle du Berry's rhythmic vocals. The lighthearted "Avril" is highlighted by du Berry's lively accordion playing, while guitarist Potzi's agile finger work takes center stage on the spirited "Escapade." Du Berry is a dramatic and highly expressive chanteuse whose sultry vocals, coupled with David Lewis' muted trumpet and Mano Razanajato's intricate bass work, give "Retroviseur" a late-night jazz-club feel. The elegant waltz "Lettre a P..." features both a bowed bass solo and a whistling solo, the latter courtesy of drummer Francois-Francois, while the hypnotic ballad "Berceuse Insomniaque" finds Lewis' trumpet shadowing du Berry's smoothly crooned vocals.
Du Berry sings in French, and many listeners won't understand her lyrics, but her vivid vocals and the engaging musical performances make Attraction a thoroughly enchanting and universally appealing release.