Benoit Viellefon (vcl/gtr), Pedro Velasco (gtrs); Geoffrey Threadgold (dbl bs); Dave Shulman (sax/clt); Peter Horsfall (tpt); Peter Watson (acc).
In a field that has no shortage of competition both at home and abroad it says much for Benoit’s ensemble that they can bear comparision with any of them. There is an authenticity about the sound and the solos that make it hard to believe that this isn’t an actual pre-war recording – which for this type of band is the ultimate accolade. (This effect was obtained by the use of a single recording mic.)
It’s unfair to single out individuals but I found Shulman’s clarinet particularly appealing. Part of his unique individuality probably stems from his background in Klezmer/Balkan music. Trumpeter Horsfall plays within his comfort zone utilising lots of tonal effects whilst the accordion, double bass and two guitars ensure that the Romany Rhythm is maintained.
The choice of material varies from Django classics such as Douce Ambience, Minor Swing and Daphne; Gasbook classics such as All of Me, Caravan, After You’ve Gone, Whispering as well as several originals from Benoit himself. who also adds his distinctive vocal chords to several tunes..
In many ways this is the most refreshing brand of Gypsy Jazz I’ve heard since the early days of Waso.
Check them out.
The CD “Benoit Viellefon Hot Club live at the Quecumbar“ (JohnJohn Records) is launched at The Royal Albert Hall this Thursday July 12.