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CD Review: Orkest Polytour
Django Chante

Jean-Pierre Guiran - Accordion, Vocals
Jan de Jong - Solo Guitar
Stefan de Ridder - Rhythm Guitar
Lion Van - Double Bass
Tim Kliphuis - Violin


Swing reverie (Swing 42) - Django Reinhardt / Lawrence Riesner
Que reste-t-il de nos amours - Charles Trenet
Rivalite - J. Colombo & C.D.I. Duca
Billets doux - Maurice Yvain / Briquet & St. Grainger
Nuages - Django Reinhardt / Jacques Larue
Pres de vous (Blue Skies) - Irving Berling / Robert Volaire
Larmes (Tears) - Django Reinhardt / Francis Blanche
Je t'aime (Swing 39) - Django Reinhardt & Stephan Grappelli / Jacques Larue
Melodie au Crepuscule - Django Reinhardt / Lawrence Riesner
Chez Jacquet - Django Reinhardt
Douce Ambiance - Django Reinhardt / Jacques Larue
Manoir de mes Reves (Django's Castle - Django Reinhardt / Lawrence Riesner
Tout le jour, toute la nuit (Night and Day) - Cole Porter / L. Palex
Dans l'immense Sahara (Le Sheik) - Ted Snyder / Lucien Boyer

total time: 57:12
release date: 1999
review date: January 2000

label: POL002
Order from: J. P. Guiran
Langbroekerdijk 14, 3972 ND
Driebergen, the Netherlands
tel +31-343-533787
fax +31-343-533845

Review by Thomas Fabinski

Every once in a while, I hear a truly refreshing CD - one that makes your ears want to dance around on top of your head. This is it! It's unpretentious, happy to be alive, and come share our musical fun type music.

Here's the story behind the recording. This is the second CD by the Dutch orchestra, Polytour. It features five previously unrecorded song texts set to music by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. The texts were written in French in 1943-1945 by well-known lyricists such as Jacques Larue and Lawrence Riesner. The texts were advertised on the back of a sheet music album from the forties. The advertisement was for seven pieces of music by Django Reinhardt. An extensive research effort ensued to locate these texts for Polytour since their specialty is French chansons in the so-called "Hot Club" style or in the French vernacular "Swing Manouche."

After a year of investigation and 49 letters, the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris replied that they had 4 of the 5 missing texts. The French music copyright association, SACEM, helped locate the lyricist of the last piece, Lawrence Riesner, who provided a copy of the original version with his compliments.

Though his was a short life, Django Reinhardt provided the only true European contribution to jazz. Django was a swing guitarist with both proverbial virtuosity and a penchant for writing beautiful music. Polytour adds two guitars, a bass and a violin and J-P's musette accordion. Then, as the liner notes say, "as icing on the cake, the lyrics to the Django numbers are sung beautifully in exemplary French by the light, clear and slightly melancholic voice of J-P."

Tim Kliphuis is the special guest added to this CD. Classically trained at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, Kliphuis has been concertmaster of the Ricciotti symphonic orchestra ensemble with repertoire ranging from classical to pop.

Polytour has toured in Germany, Holland, Ireland and Canada.

The recording opens with the title track, Swing Reverie, a very infectious, joyful swing romp. If you don't come away from hearing this track singing, "Swing, Swing" you need to get the wax cleaned out of your ears! J-P's vocals throughout are par excellence. The second track I've heard before but I can't quite place the melody. It's a slow swing, fox-trot. J-P's musette makes a very nice parallel to his voice. Track 3 features his musette in a classic French waltz. Very nice breath control and accents. A chorus or two are handed over Jan de Jong for a solo. Buy this CD for either of these first three cuts alone!

Billets doux starts with a slow guitar melody then breaks into a Grappelli-like swing featuring Tim Kliphuis. J-P adds a vocal chorus followed by a musette chorus. The lead is handed back to Jan then Tim then J-P wraps it all back up. Nuages has violin and guitar on the intro. Bass and rhythm guitar are added for the remaining choruses. J-P adds a few, slower, final vocal choruses. (I can almost understand the French lyrics the way J-P sings them.)

Pres de vous starts with solo musette then adds the rest of the band. I may be mixing musical metaphors here but I can picture Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing along with this tune. Larmes Je t'aime ... Well, you get the picture. I like this CD. These tracks keep your attention by shifting the lead among the different musicians. It sounds like a lot more than 5 instruments and 1 voice but who's counting? Very nice shifting too, between major and minor keys; and between different tempi.

This CD was a wonderful, delightful discovery. Playing this recording is just like having your very own French cafe. It's the Joie de Vivre!

Click on over to J-P's website for some audio sampling of this recording.

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