Andrée Pagès is a singer with a deeply felt and rhythmically adventurous approach to jazz standards and the blues. The infectious melodies and sharply observed songs on her new CD of originals have the feel of instant classics. On her debut CD, "Andrée Pagès Swings Both Ways," Pagès used two groups of to explore different approaches to jazz standards. On this new CD of jazz and blues originals, she uses four combinations of some of the New York area’s finest jazzers to exciting effect.
"Let's Go" is a hard-swinging invitation. From Tony Moreno’s opening drum solo on “Let’s Go,” the backup trio he comprises with Dan Rothstein on guitar and Jay Elfenbein on bass and gamba delivers a swinging, airborne level of accompaniment and improvisation. The trio also kicks it on the jazz waltz “Love Me Like You Used To” and the haunting ballad “One Day Someday.” Rothstein, a unique voice in modern jazz guitar, rides the cutting edge in harmony, but never lets his formidable technique get in the way of his beautifully shaped solos.
Elfenbein has pioneered the use of the viola da gamba as a soloing jazz voice. On this CD he plays both bass and treble acoustic viols and the amazing electric Ruby gamba.* He connects with tunes on a gut level, conveying a range of moods, from bop (“Let’s Go”) to slyly seductive (“The Cave,” music by Russell Branca), to a very electric hard-blues solo on “The Night You led Me To Your Room” on the Ruby gamba. He is also a masterful double bass player, as his solo on the Latinized version of Jacques Brel's “Les Chanson des Vieux Amants” attests.
Guitarist Arturo Kampela supplies the traditional bossa nova formulations of “Yes to Love” and “The Cave,” and a superb classical intro to the haunting “La Chanson des Vieux Amants." Javier Diaz on percussion supplies the sometimes lilting, sometimes rocking percussion of these tunes.
Pagès first heard guitarist Ethan Mann at a street fair in New York many years ago and was immediately captivated by his smooth and sinuous sound. On “The Shakespeare Years,” Mann combines with Elfenbein, Moreno, and Diaz to deliver an engaging jazz-funk feel and a masterful solo. On the blues “If You Think The Hurtin’s Over,” he plays rhythm and the haunting and sensual solo in the middle.
John Guth did a masterful job recording and mixing the CD, and his guitar also grabs the listener with the opening hard blues statement and ornaments throughout on “If You Think the Hurtin's Over.”
Pagès herself plays the Delta-style guitar on her new soon-to-be-classic sultry blues tune, “The Night You Led Me To Your Room.” Hers is also the country finger-picking on the poignant cowboy tune “Tender Joe.”
*The Ruby gamba is made by Jan Goorissen in the Netherlands (www.ruby-gamba.com).
I heard Russell Branca play the bass line to his tune “Hamalama” several years ago and was entranced by visions of camels gliding across the desert. I had to write words to his magnificent composition, which became “The Cave.”
"La Chanson Des Vieux Amants," a ballad by Jacques Brel, is the only cover tune on the CD. No English translation I've ever seen or tried to do myself does its tender mixture of passion and regret full justice, so I stuck with the original French. I swing it as a slow bossa to Jay's slightly altered changes.
New-York-based drummer Tony Moreno is one of the most sought-after musicians of his profession. He tours the world and has worked with Mal Waldron, Bill Frisell, Sonny Fortune, Sal Nistico, Palle Danielsson, Paul McCandless, Elvin Jones, Dave Liebman, Paul Bley, Phillip Catherine, Sam Rivers, Billy Drewes, Jaki Byard, Harvie Swartz, Ratzo Harris, Joey Calderazzo, John Purcell, The Lounge Lizards, Ravi Coltrane, and many more.
Dan Rothstein has performed throughout the eastern United States from Nashville to New England. His 35 years of guitar performance have included many of the significant performing venues in New York City ranging from the Electric Circus in the late 1960s through Max’s Kansas City, the Bitter End, La Mama, the Lone Star Café and the Beacon Theater in the 1970s, Gerde’s Folk City, Trax, The Bottom Line and The Cotton Club in the 1980s, and The American Institute of Guitar in the 1990s, as a leader, solo performer and supporting a variety of popular artists. See DanRothstein.com
The performances of Jay Elfenbein have been described by the New York Times as "virtuosic...played magnificently" and "with virtuosity and flair." As a bassist and gambist he has played with Paul McCartney, Lou Rawls, Dave Brubeck, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Chris Potter, and Anthony Braxton. He has recorded for Sony Classics, CBS, PGM, and Virgin Classics, among others, and can be heard playing vihuela and vielle on Paul Simon's Warner Brothers release, You're the One. Mr. Elfenbein is also founder and director of the Ivory Consort, an early music ensemble that specializes in medieval music, and GambaDream, the only jazz/contemporary ensemble in the U.S. that features the viola da gamba. See ElfPagesMusic.com
Arthur Kampela, winner of the 1995 International Guitar Composition Competition (Caracas, Venezuela) and winner of the 1998 Lamarque-Pons Guitar Composition Competition (Montevideo, Uruguay), is internationally recognized as both a composer and virtuoso guitar player. Kampela has broken new ground in his native country as a sort of “Brazilian Frank Zappa,” fusing popular and vernacular styles with contemporary textural techniques. His works have been performed in leading forums for contemporary music in South-America, Europe, Asia and the USA. See ArthurKampela.com
Ethan Mann studied guitar with Rodney Jones and Jack Wilkins at Manhattan School of Music. After graduating in 1995, Mann quickly established his reputation as both a sideman, and a band leader on the New York scene. He’s played at Birdland, The 55 Bar, Iridium, Zinc bar, among others. Out of town gigs include the Montreal Jazz Festival, The Hot Club Of Portugal, and, Muniak, in Crakow. Mann recently completed a tour of Japan with singer Mari Watanabe that was enthusiastically received in jazz clubs and concerts in Tokyo, Kobe, Ashiya, and Kyoto. See EthanMann.com