Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hot Club of Detroit - Junction (Mack Avenue, 2012)

The Hot Club of Detroit can be viewed as a conservative exploration of the music that evolved in France before the war under the tutelage of legendary musicians like Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. But that might be too narrow of a view, especially on this album where they welcome progressive alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon to the mix. This pushes the music into a mix of old world charm and modern advancement. Along with Irabagon are guitarists Evan Perri and Paul Brady, Julien Labro on accordion, Cyrille Aimee on vocals, Shawn Conley on bass, and Andrew Bishop on saxophones. “Goodbye Mr. Anderson” gets the album off to a fine start with Irabagon integrating with the band well and soloing with aplomb. “Hey” and “Chutzpah” follow in this vein with the group building an admirable head of steam while remaining accessible and intricate in their arrangements. “La Foule” and “Mese Gitane” take a more traditionalist route featuring accordion and guitar with some singing. The biggest surprise comes at the end of the album with the version of “Rift” by the jam-band Phish. It’s an unusual choice that works very well, as the music builds an unstoppable momentum that barrels along with great fun. Junction -

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