Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lafertin & Le Jazz 94-96 recordings reissued

 FAPY LAFERTIN: Treasurer of Django's musical legacy
Fapy's music is never a copy of Django's music (quote: Micael Dregni)
Hans Koert

Lafertin & Le Jazz 94-96 recordings reissued (English) | Heruitgebracht: Lafertin & Le Jazz 94-96 ( Nederlands) 

Guitarist Fapy Lafertin recorded during the 1990s two albums with the rather unknown English group Le Jazz. These hard to found recordings belong to the most influental recordings of the post-Django hot club style in modern times.  Both albums: Swing Guitars and Hungaria have been reissued recently as: Lafertin Le Jazz 94-96 the recordings. (LJCD13)

Fapy Lafertin ( photo courtesy: Marilyn Du Mars)

Fapy Lafertin was born in Courtaie (Belgium) 1950. He raised in the gypsy community and was cut out to become a musician. He played in the hot club style of Django Reinhardt. The story goes that the gypsy band of Bamboula Ferret performed one day in 1965 in Sint Martens Latem at the café of Emiel De Cauter, De Klokkeput.
His son Koen De Cauter, who was already fascinated by this kind of music and played the guitar, saw a thirteen-year-old boy in the audience, a nephew of Bamboula Ferret, named Fapy Lafertin, a gypsy guitar player too. Fapy and Koen became bosom friends ..... Both boys became members of Piotto Limberger band and in 1975 they founded their own group, featuring Michel Verstraeten on bass and Jeff C. Wickle on rhythm guitar. The band was called Waso, named after Koen's three years old son - now Waso De Cauter is a guitar player and artist himself. Waso's first recording was entitled Live at Gringo's, April 1976 
 Lafertin &  Le Jazz - f.l.t.r.: Steve Elsworth - Dave Kelbie - Tony Bevir - Pete Finch - Lance Andrews ( recording engineer) and Fapy Lafertin (ca. 1996) ( photo courtesy: Marilyn Du Mars)

Meanwhile Waso had developed into one of the most leading hot club-style bands of the post-Django era. In 1987 the Concorde Club in Eastleigh (near Southampton) had invited to play the new rather unknown group Quartet Le Jazz, featuring Steve Elsworth on violin, Dave Kelbie and Pete Finchat on the guitar and Tony Bevir on double bass, with special guest, the Dutch guitarist of Waso, Fapy Lafertin. The band was founded in 1986 by Pete Finch and Steve Elsworth, extended by Tony Bevir and Dave Kelbie into a quartet. The cooperation with Fapy Lafertin became a success and they played together for a decade, all over Europe. They were recorded on two albums as Fapy Lafertin & Le Jazz: Swing Guitars (rec. ca 1995) and Hungaria (August 1996). Both albums have been reissued now on a 2cd entitled Lafertin Le Jazz 94-96 - The Recordings.

Lafertin Le Jazz 94-96 - The Recordings. ( LJCD13)

The new 2cd album has more then 35 tracks, including some previously unreleased ones ......... Most tunes are standards of the Hot Club du France repertoire, like Swing Guitars, Minor Swing, Que reste t'll de nos amours, Billet DouxSonge d'Automne, which was recorded by Django Reinhardt in May 1947  and the title track of the second album Hungaria, a 1939 Django composition.

Le Jazz (1990): f.l.t.r. Steve Elsworth - Tony Bevir - Dave Kelbie and Pete Finch ( photo courtesy: Bob Whitfield)

The second album Hungaria features Bob Wilber as guest player on the clarinet. Bob  was a pupil of Sidney Bechet and played two times with Django, like during a private concert in New York City, on New Years Eve 1947. Django was invited to play on a tour by Duke Ellington. Bob can be heard on three tracks: Songe D'Automne, Swing 42 and Stockholm.
Bob Wilber and Fapy Lafertin (1996) ( photo courtesy: Marilyn Du Mars)

Enjoy a film fragment made during the 1996 recordings by Fapy playing  Hungaria ( 20th of August 1996)

 Fapy's music is never a copy of Django's musical legacy - he moved beyond Gypsy jazz, also playing Portuguese fado and Gitano flamenco. ( Quote: Michael Dregni in Gypsy Jazz)
 Fapy Lafertin ( in Dongen (The Netherlands) (november 2010) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

 This reissue of two, now hard to find Fapy Lafertin albums, Swing Guitars (1994) and Hungaria (1996), with Le Jazz, has been released in a well designed and informative digipack by Lejazzetal, where it can be ordered. It will be welcomed by its fans and hopefully will introduce Fapy's music to a new, younger generation of guitar players.
I heard Fapy playing with Coen de Cauter and his men a few years ago at a concert in Dongen (The Netherlands) the 19th of November, 2010, in a concert dedicate to the fact that Django would have celebrated his 100th birthday, if he didn't had left town in 1953!

Fapy Lafertin - a great aspirator for all those guitarists and music fans, who keep Django Reinhardts musical heritage alive.

Hans Koert
Facebook group: Keep (it) Swinging ( log in)

One of the most important guitarist in the post-Django period, one of the treasurers of Django Reinhardt's musical legacy, is Fapy Lafertin.  During the 1990s he recorded two album with the young British band Le Jazz. These two albums: Swing Guitars and Hungaria are now reissued.

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  1. Thank you, Hans, for this review of two important re-issues of Fapy Lafertin, great music! Fapy Lafertin is an amazing guitarist in the HCdF-tradition, his sound, attack and ability as a musician is close to the original source - the inseted video is convincing evidence. However, as mentioned in the article, Fapy hasn't restricted himself to the HdF-repertoire, he is not 'just another Django-clone', no, he is a great musician in his own right, period!

  2. I just purchased the double Fapy-Le Jazz CD at a North American event called Django in June a couple weeks ago. I know this is heresy but I've come to love Fapy's playing almost more than Django's! e is truly a master musician.

    I also picked up a double CD of Oscar Aleman, who is a wonderful player, though not quite as great as Fapy and Django. Still, oscar's performance of "Blue Skies" deserves accolades.

  3. Bit late with my comment, but thought it might be worth mentioning that the "Swing Guitars" CD on this reissue is missing two tracks. I saw Fapy Lafertin & Le Jazz back in the mid 90s sometime when they played in Swansea, Wales. Brilliant concert, enjoyed it so much I bought Swing Guitars on the night, but hadn't yet entered the CD generation so it was the Cassette version. My Cassette is missing 'To Each His Own' but has two additional tracks, the songs 'Coucou' and 'C'est Pour Vous Madame' featuring Anabela Da Silva. These two songs will be familiar to fans of Django's music as he played on the original versions. So the question is why were two tracks omitted yet bonus tracks added ? Very strange. Possibly Lejazzetal ran into licensing problems with Anabela Da Silva ? The running order on the reissue CD is also slightly different to the original, again why ? Anthony Harland