Monday, June 4, 2012

Steeve Laffont, New Quintet

Who could have predicted a number of years ago that Django Reinhardt's style of swing would make a resurgence, with Django-adherents playing guitar very much in his manner in ensembles that adapt in varying degrees the ensemble approach of the Hot Club of France?

That it's generally dubbed "Gypsy Jazz" doesn't disguise that fact that it's a full-blown Django-revival school.

One of the very best of these guitarists is Steeve Laffont, which is well attested by his recent New Quintet (Le Chant du Monde). It's him on acoustic and sometimes moderately amplified guitar and an ensemble who swings along in Hot Club style much of the time; other times less so.

Steeve is the attraction here and he is quite excellent both in proficiency and in the essence of Django. Laffont can blaze lines, do those Django chordal bursts and get the sound just right.

The band plays music associated with Django's era, then strays to more contemporary material, like a funky version of Herbie Hancock's "Canteloupe Island" or Norah Jones's pop song "Don't Know Why." To my ears the less the Django-esque context prevails the more generic the music becomes, though Steeve's guitar work is always impeccable. Thankfully there aren't that many digressions.

This fellow is impressive!

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