Tuesday, December 27, 2016

C'est Magnifique! - New CD Revives The Atmosphere of Paris

 Quatre Tickets de Swing & Inge Alberts - Paris, Je t'aime (2016)
Quatre Tickets de Swing was formed in late 1999 and consists of four musicians from the Zwolle area of The Netherlands. Since 2014 vocalist Inge Alberts has joined the ensemble and is now a permanent member at the quartet's live performances. Inge Alberts is also featured vocalist on the new CD shown above contributing great interpretations of highlights from Paris' rich musical heritage. The other members of Quatre Tickets de Swing are Peter Swart (clarinet, saxophones), Georg Lankester (solo guitar), Arthur Siero (rhythm guitar) and Eric van Buijsen (double bass)
Quatre Tickets de Swing and Inge Alberts
Quatre Tickets de Swing is inspired by the French Hot Club tradition founded by Django Reinhardt a.o., but unlike many other ensembles in this genre, Quatre Tickets de Swing does not rate equilibristic guitar playing as the band's trademark. The trademark of the orchestra is melodios songs from the swing era and French chansons played with a deep sense and understanding of the simple beauty of the chosen musical themes. The vocal by Inge Alberts adds the final touch which convinces this listener that Quatre Tickets de Swing has chosen a musical profile that inspires and engages all members of the orchestra as well as its audience.
Tracklist of Paris je t'aime CD
The tracklist of the new CD shows a selection of both swing standars like Ain't Misbehavin, Exactly Like You and I Surrender Dear and themes from Django's book, i.e. Fantasie sur un danse Norvégienne and Songe d'automne. The main part consists of songs associated with French chansons and Paris' nightlife - Cole Porter's Night And Day (- here sung in French) and C'est magnifique together with a seldom performed song by Sidney Bechet, Si tu vois ma mère. fit perfectly in with the remaining French repertoire. To give you an impression of Quatre Tickets de Swing and Inge Alberts in live performance of some of the songs available at the new CD, I'll insert a couple of videos uploaded at YouTube - Here is first the ensemble's version of Ain't Misbehavin

From the same live perforance, here is the ensemble's version of Night And Day 

Finally, from another live performance here is Que res-t-il de nos amours/I Wish You Love by Quatre Tickets de Swing and Inge Alberts

The new CD by Quatre Tickets de Swing and Inge Alberts may be purchased from the website of Quatre Tickets de Swing, here 

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Night And Day

Original sheet front page (1932)
Night And Day is a popular song by Cole Porter. It was written for the 1932 musical play Gay Divorce. It is perhaps Porter's most popular contribution to the Great American Songbook and has been recorded by dozens of artists.
Original theatre poster (1932)
Fred Astaire introduced Night And Day on stage, and his recording of the song with the Leo Reisman orchestra was a no.1 hit, topping the charts of the day for ten weeks.

Original film poster (1934)
Fred Astaire performed Night And Day again in the 1934 film version of the show, renamed The Gay Divorcee, and it became one of his signature pieces.

Original film poster (1946)
Night And Day was so associated with Cole Porter, that when Hollywood first filmed his life story in 1946, the movie was entitled Night and Day.

The construction of Night and Day is unusual for a hit song of the 1930s. Most popular tunes then featured 32-bar choruses, divided into four 8-bar sections, usually with an AABA musical structure, the B section representing the bridge. Porter's song, on the other hand, has a chorus of 48 bars, divided into six sections of eight bars—ABABCB—with section C representing the bridge. (info above excerpted from Wikipedia, here )

Night And Day has been recorded by numerous artists, both as an instrumental and with Porter's lyrics by various vocalists. Below I'll insert some examples within a jazz context. - Here's first a recording by Ray Ventura and his Orchestra of Night And Day with vocal by an unidentified singer

In 1938, the singer Maxine Sullivan recorded her version of Night And Day

From the album Charlie Parker plays Cole Porter, here's his version of Night And  Day recorded with big band March 25, 1952 in New York

Another great instrumental of Night And Day was recorded by Art Tatum (p), Roy Eldridge (tp), John Simmons (b), Alvin Stoller (d) in 1955

One of my all time favorite instrumental recordings of Night And Day was recorded by Oscar Alemán y su Orquesta de Jazz for Odeon (Odeon 74265, mx 20199) as Noche Y Día on May 30, 1955 inserted below to end this small entry on a famous song


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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Ragtime Guitar Revitalized - New CD by HAMADA Takasi

Hamada Takasi (photo by Goro Noda, 2005)
A couple of years ago I introduced the amazing Japanese fingerstyle guitarist HAMADA Takasi who has specialized in ragtime guitar both as an interpreter of classic ragtime originally written for piano and further as an excellent contributor to the genre through his own compositions. Mr. HAMADA Takasi has released several CDs featuring his arrangements of both classic ragtime by Scott Joplin, James Scott, Joseph F. Lamb, David Thomas Roberts a.o. besides more than 30 pieces of his own which have extended the ragtime guitar repertoire with great new material. This summer a new CD by HAMADA Takasi was recorded and has now been released internationally at the Otarunay label with the title Ragtime Children (OTR-039), shown below
CD front: Ragtime Children by HAMADA Takasi (OTR-39)
The new CD has fourteen tracks, seven of them are devoted to ragtime compositions by other artists and seven are original compositions by HAMADA Takasi, among them the title piece of the CD, Ragtime Children. All pieces at the CD are solo guitar recitals using the special Otarunay Tuning (Eb-Ab-C-F-C-Eb), and all arrangements are made by the guitarist. Among the tunes by other artists ragtime guitar connoisseurs will recognize titles like St Louis Tickle (by Barney & Seymore, 1904, popular at the St. Louis World Fair the same year and later adapted as a ragtime guitar piece by folk/blues artist Dave van Ronk), Magnetic Rag (by Scott Joplin, 1914 - his last published rag) and Ragtime Nightingale (by Joseph F. Lamb, 1915 - a challenging piece re-arranged for solo guitar by David Laibman, who recorded his version in 1980). Here is HAMADA Takasi's version of Magnetic Rag in a live performance earlier this year

Among the pieces by other artists Trombone Rag (by Turk Murphy, 1942) stands out as a composition not written for piano, but for the trombone by the well known dixieland revival trombone player Turk Murphy, here in a sparkling arrangement for solo guitar by HAMADA Takasi. A 'folk ragtime' composition by David Thomas Roberts, Poplarville (1979) is an example of the new ragtime piano school, here in an arrangement by HAMADA Takasi made in 2015. Among the seven pieces at the disc composed by the guitarist, the inspiration from both classic ragtime as well as the new directions represented by David Thomas Roberts a.o. shines through. I am especially fond of a tune titled Hayashi Rice, which reminds me of some of the legendary pianist Blind Boone's contributions to the ragtime genre. Here is a live performance of Hayashi Rice by HAMADA Takasi

The Ragtime Children CD is an excellent contribution to a contemporary ragtime guitar collection, a must have for all serious followers of the fabulous Japanese fingerstyle guitarist HAMADA Takasi. The CD is available for purchase here 

To end this, here is another live performance by HAMADA Takasi playing the rag of rags,  Scott Joplins Maple Leaf Rag (- not on the new CD)


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