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Hot Strings: I Saw Stars

Probably no jazz guitarist has as many imitators as the great Gypsy Django Reinhardt, who continues to inspire legions of six-stringers to follow in his footsteps. While this Switzerland-based ensemble (voice, piano, bass, violin, and two guitars) falls well short of the famed Hot Club’s overall virtuosity, as well as that of a few of the other ensembles currently on the scene, it creates some very nice musical moments via musicality, tone, and finesse.

On “Blue Skies” and “My Blue Heaven,” pianist Fred Bohler’s bouncy stride style delights at every turn and adds relief from the nearly incessant guitar-generated swing feel. Violinist Martin Abbuhl, apparently influenced by Stuff Smith, plays with emotion and rich tone rarely heard in “Gypsy jazz.” Although guitarists Fere Scheidegger and Josef Schibig hardly qualify as virtuosos, they play oh so tasty on tunes like “Dreams,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing” and “Lundi Soir.” Very nice overall, but why not just pick up another Django CD?

Originally Published