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Romane and Stochelo Rosenberg
ÉLÉGANCE
BY BANNING EYRE
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Django Reinhardt’s emulators are notorious hotshots, and though there’s no doubting the electrifying talent of today’s Gypsy jazzers, they remain hard-pressed to match their mentor’s originality. That challenge adds to the excitement on this collaboration between Dutch guitarists Romane — a self-taught Gypsy with a knack for bebop jazz — and Stochelo Rosenberg of the celebrated Rosenberg Trio. Joined by Gilles Naturel on double bass, these formidable ax men chop and swing their elegant way through eight original pieces and two well-worn covers, "After You’ve Gone" and a romping read of "How High the Moon."

Performing on flat-top, steel-string acoustic guitars, Romane and Rosenberg exude a respect and an affection that’s sharpened by a competitive edge. As they trade solo and accompaniment roles, the textures shift from chugging chord passages to crisp, playful solos decorated with artful bends, tremolos, and quivers. On "La Promenade," the restless rhythmic accompaniment drives the easy flight of free-flowing melodies. On "Dreams," the formula is reversed as fretful solo lines tug at slow, languorous chords. Blinding technique and hard-swinging grooves are everywhere, but sweetness and musicality carry the day.


Issue Date: September 19 - 25, 2003
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