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Romane: Ombre

The French-born Romane is a guitarist playing in the Gypsy jazz tradition. This album, his third, but the first to my ears, is an absolutely delightful excursion into a magical world.

Though clearly under the spell of Django Reinhardt, Romane is not merely an imitator. He plays with panache and swing, and develops a style of grace and old-world wit.

For this album, Romane uses the Hot Club instrumentation but also adds the charming accordion of Francis Varis. The program avoids any old songs of the genre. Instead, he presents original compositions that could be standards, but also serve a contemporary “world-beat” taste with folkish overtones.

Another revelation is the violin of Florin Niculescu, who sways with dripping emotion and also dips into the swing fever.

Along with the rhythm guitars and bass, the strings combine for flowing swing with a clarity of execution.

Ombre is a scintillating album of strong players mining an ancient tradition, making it sound fresh and rich.

Originally Published