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Impromptu by Angelo Debarre Quartet

"Impromptu" is the second solo release by French guitarist Angelo Debarre. Debarre is a full-blood member of the manouche (gipsy) community of France, and has take to heart the traditional music of his people, passed down through generations by oral teaching. Naturally, the world's most famous gipsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt, plays a considerable part in the musical heritage that Debarre has inherited. In fact, with his dark hair, moustache, and traditional guitar with a "D"-shaped sound hole, Debarre might pass for a youthful reincarnation of the master himself.

On this recording, Debarre has paired himself with the sensational young British violinist Christian Garrick, guitarist Dave Kelbie, and bassist Pete Kubrick Townsend to recreate a stunning portrayal of the legendary "Quintet of the Hot Club of France" led by Django and Stephane Grappelli almost seventy years ago. All the tunes on the disc are Reinhardt compositions except for the opening and closing numbers, "Hot Lips" and Emile Stern’s "Ou est tu, Mon Amour".

As far as the music on this CD is concerned, listeners will find it to be a refreshing continuation of the sound of the QHCF. Both Debarre and Garrick have obviously spent years honing the elements of this unique style, particularly the rhythmic figures associated with Django and Stephane’s playing. As one would expect, their soloing is built strongly on the traditional European classical guitar and violin sound with swing harmonies and rhythm, and very few (if any) bop or modern influences find their way into Garrick or Debarre’s playing on this disc.

In today’s "post-everything" world, where soloists often struggle through the miasma of different jazz styles to try and find their musical identity, it is refreshing to find a group that has made themselves at home within such a difficult and rare (and also thoroughly enjoyable) musical style, without reservation or dilution. That fact alone makes this a disc that is worth seeking out and treasuring.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Angelo Debarre Quartet
  • CD Title: Impromptu
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Le Jazz Et Al
  • Rating: Four Stars
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