A Tribute to Swing kicks off gently but ponderously, leaving the listener unaware of what might burst around the next corner. "Swanee River" sparks one’s interest in the process where the well-hung guitar breaks free from its traditional cocoon to embrace (only apparently) incompatible elements. Light is a keyword when talking about this record and "Sweet Sue" is over there to confirm just that.
Accompanied by his beloved gypsy jazz guitar, built in Paris in 1987, and a plethora of other instruments including a banjo, a double bass, drums, a violin and yet another guitar, Stojka’s music engulfs a surplus of freewheeling, modest riffage sucked from what he likes to call "old-fashioned jazz". "J’attendrai" is punctuated by chirurgical strings, gravitating around a melody which stitches the calmness and the feel-good vibes one would instantly proclaim to be Harri’s watermark.
From "Bei Mir Bist du Scheen" on, A Tribute to Swing doesn’t change so much as progresses from the sparse landscapes that marked its first trilingual compositions. Stojka doesn’t really change tack and, quite honestly, he doesn’t have to. While allowing other music dialects to erupt, he does chew the particles left to incubate but refuses to swallow and fully incorporate them. As a result, he gives generous nods to a handful of established schools but preferably feeds his adored brainchild, born from the well-informed, blues-infused gypsy tapestries.
As the record nudges further onto its completion, more caustic ingredients spring out like invigorating chimes filling the air between songs. This studio effort, which follows last year’s Live at the Roma Wedding, is by comparison to other ventures alike, less wedded to the formulaic self of all things jazzy. Shaped by and from the remains of the gypsy mysticism (please check out the beautiful "Limehouse Blues"), this album is tributary to swing as well as all trends of ethnic, rhythm-driven music.