Friday, March 11, 2016

Rhythm Future Quartet, Travels

Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and the Hot Club group gave us some of the most original and inspired original jazz of the swing era. Django was a guitarist of gigantic originality and artistry, Grappelli was one of the jazz violin innovators of the era and a beautifully skilled artist, and the ensemble gave us a sound we now call "Gypsy Jazz."

It took a while but in this century Gypsy Jazz has blossomed into a movement that honors that legacy with varying degrees of effectiveness and by now shows signs of becoming a style that continues to evolve and sound fresh. No better an example of how Gypsy Jazz can go into innovative directions than with the Rhythm Future Quartet and their album Travels (Magic Fiddle Music CD).

It has the Hot Club instrumentation, with Jason Anick on violin and Olli Soikkeli on lead guitar, backed nicely by rhythm guitarist Max O'Rourke and bassist Greg Loughman.

Anick and Soikkeli take the legacy of Grappeli and Reinhardt along with prodigious technique and build something new overtop it all. New compositions by all four, and a cover or two break ground on this, their second album.

The band takes Gypsy Jazz into the present with a less strictly Hot Club demeanor at times, though the inspiration is still very present underneath it all. The originals extend it nicely and the Anick-Soikkeli front line gives us some uncanny virtuosity that channels the masters and remakes them into a modern image, all the while showing the dexterity such music demands.

It is a wonderful album!

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